Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. These are all products I personally paid for myself and use (this is not sponsored content) and all opinions are 100% my own.
I take a minimalist approach to my breast pump bag because I hate lugging around a lot of stuff. However, the following list highlights the essentials that I have to have in my breast pump bag.
Good news – you don’t have to wash your pump parts between pumping sessions each day. I give mine a quick once-over with these wipes and then store them in a cool place until I’m ready to pump again. This is a time-saver and space-saver –I don’t have to wash pump parts at work and I don’t have to carry multiple sets of pump parts in my bag.
Of everything on this list, this is the one item I feel like I can’t pump without. This bra is fantastic – I put it on just when I’m pumping and it is easy to adjust to fit over my clothes and even my regular nursing bra. I love having my hands free while I’m pumping to get work done or play on my phone. Also, since it is super adjustable it is guaranteed to fit almost anyone.
I often pump into bottles but I always keep breastmilk storage bags handy. More times than I’d like to admit I’ve forgotten the milk storage bottles and been forced to pump into the bags. Or, sometimes I pump more than expected and use these bags to store the extra milk. I also prefer to freeze milk in these bags over the storage bottles, so sometimes I’ll transfer my expressed milk into these bags at work so I can just toss them in the freezer when I get home.
There are plenty of brands of breastmilk storage bags but Lansinoh is my favorite. The bags have a double zip lock to prevent leaks, a spot at the top to write information like milk volume and date, and although they are marked to store up to 5 ounces of milk, you can fit in a couple of extra ounces if needed.
I always keep a few sachets of a lactation boosting tea in my pump bag. I find it relaxing to have a cup of tea sometimes while pumping. I also like to have this tea on hand if I feel like my milk supply needs a boost.
Lanolin is a must-have for me because I also breastfeed my son directly when we’re together. Although I’ve breastfed him for over a year now, I still use lanolin to avoid cracked or sore nipples. I like to apply lanolin after pumping – although a properly-fitted pump should not rub or chafe the nipples at all, I still find it soothing to apply lanolin regularly.
Oh mom brain… after I got all set up to pump one day and then realized I was missing my valves (rendering my electric pump useless), I bought a manual pump to carry at all times so I could use it as a backup. It has come in handy a few times – when I forgot key pump parts, when the power was out and I needed to pump, and when I was on the go and found it easier to use a manual pump than setting up my electric pump. Confession, I actually have a couple of manual pumps but this one is super budget friendly and easy to use as an occasional backup to your electric pump.
These are a huge help in stimulating letdown. Just a few seconds in the microwave and they are nice and warm. If I apply them at the start of a pumping session, I find my pumping session is a bit quicker, and definitely more comfortable. You can also use them as heat therapy for issues like clogged ducts, or cold therapy to soothe engorgement.
This style of ice pack is my favorite because it is flexible. It can fit around breast milk storage bottles and also you can smush it into your bag a bit if you’re carrying a lot. These are a must for me to keep my breast milk cool on the way home from work.
At first, I kept a stash of plastic baggies in my pump bag. I used them to store dirty pump parts or hold milk collection bottles just in case of a leak. I switched to reusable silicone bags to be more environmentally friendly. These bags are food grade so they have a lot of uses beyond storing breast pumping accessories.
I love lactation recipes and mix up a lot of lactation boosting smoothies and bake lactation cookies and cakes. However, those items don’t do well when crammed into the bottom of my pump bag, so I use these amazing “Boobie Bar” granola bars so I can be sure to always have a healthy snack nearby that supports lactation.