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Pumping essentials for working moms, first-time moms, and stay-at-home moms to help as we navigate our journey into motherhood.
I had every intention of breastfeeding our little one when he was born. But you know sometimes life just happens and we have to go along with the cards that were dealt with us.
When our little man was born he had an inability to suck and swallow, had a recessed chin, and severe reflux. As you can see there were so many things stacked against us!
Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t aware he wouldn’t nurse two days into our new lives with Jaxson. I was under the impression he was getting breast milk via the laydown position.
However, I was very wrong.
I wish I had done some research to know what to look for when a baby wasn’t getting enough at the breast (learn about the 5 alarming signs here).
When we went in for our well-visit appointment 48 hours after we left the hospital we were told that Jaxson had lost a whole pound and was severely jaundiced. Not something a new mama wants to hear about her baby.
To tackle our feeding difficulties and jaundice, I was told to start exclusively pump and to work with a lactation consultant.
My Exclusively Pumping Journey
To say our exclusively pumping journey was difficult is an understatement. It was emotionally and physically exhausting (it won’t be for all moms!).
I decided to go back to work when Jaxson was 8 weeks old. We thought that he was doing well enough with the pumping, pacing his feeds, and detailed instructions from his provider.
I would wake up between 4 to 4:30 to pump, feed Jaxson (it would take up to an hour), dress him and our oldest son, and drop them both off at daycare. Once I got to work I would go to a spare room in the little Chiropractic office and pump again (or in the car, depends).
After I pumped I would clean off my pumping equipment, write down the time and date, and store the bag in a cooler in our work fridge.
I pumped so much that I had two electric pumps: one for work and one for home. We even invested in an inverter for the car so that if I had to pump in the car while we traveled – I could.
This full-time exclusively pumping journey lasted four whole months before we found that Jaxson was severely allergic to breastmilk and wasn’t thriving. I donated my chest full of breastmilk to a patient of mine and switched Jaxson to formula.
However brief our exclusively pumping journey was, I did pick up amazing tidbits for exclusively pumping at work.
You May Also Like:
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- 5 Alarming Signs Your Baby Isn’t Getting Enough
- How to Properly Store Breastmilk
Pumping Essentials for Working Moms
Electric Breast pump
Having an electric breast pump is definitely a must! Pumping manually can be difficult and time consuming for a mom at work. Shave time pumping with the use of an electric breast pump!
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or have the bells and whistles. Trust me, mama.
I honestly loved using the Medela Pump in Style Advanced. With it you’ll get:
- Electric breast pump backpack (has a removable pump)
- Backpack holds needed accessories
- Removable cooler bag
- 1 ice pack
- Dual voltage
- 4 bottles with lids
- Double pumping kit with shields
Definitely an amazing deal! Breast pump accessories can add up, that’s why we went with this!
Manual Breast Pump
Sometimes you’ll find yourself out and about and need to pump but you can’t locate an outlet. If that happens you’ll definitely want to grab yourself a manual breast pump.
When we went to go get newborn photos done I brought a manual breast pump with us – and MAN I’m glad that we did. I was able to pump my engorged breasts while the photographer did her magic.
Haakaa Manual Breast Pump
Want something a little more hands-free when it comes to manually pump? You can look into buying a haakaa manual breast pump! The wonderful thing about the haakaa is how simple it is to use.
All you need to do is:
- Squeeze the air out of haakaa.
- Invert the flange and place it on your breast.
- Return flange – allow it to fully engulf your nipple.
- Squeeze and let the breast milk just flow.
Storage bags are definitely a must when you are planning to exclusively pump! You need something to store your precious gold! I’m not sure if you know but some insurances will cover the cost of storage bags.
All you need to do is have your provider write a prescription, send your receipts with the prescription, and BOOM – you got your reimbursement (for TRICARE families).
If you’re planning to store breastmilk you need to ensure that you are following protocol for storing! I have an awesome post specifically tailored to storing breastmilk – check it out.
Another big tool for exclusively pumping moms, a cooler. YES, yes a cooler. I would pump at work and have to travel 30 to 45 minutes back home (depending on traffic). I didn’t want the breastmilk to spoil while I was on my way home.
And I know you don’t want that either.
Some moms commute even further then I did! So trust me, buy yourself a little lunch box cooler.
Having an inverter in your car while traveling to work or family is a must. We loved to travel to South Florida to see my husband’s family. The inverter in the car was a godsend.
All you need to do is plug it into your cigarette lighter, plug in your pump, and boom… you’re pumping while traveling!
Having a cooler and ice pack (you can also stop at a gas station for ice) is definitely a must for that.
Pen & Labels
After you’ve finished pumping you’ll need to write down the date and time you pumped your breast milk. Breast milk can store for months in the freezer but you’ll want to ensure that you put the oldest date to the front of the new.
In order to do so, you’ll need to mark the bags with the appropriate date and time!
If you need any additional breast milk storage tips you can check out this detailed step by step guide on how to properly store breastmilk.
Also, if you plan to have your baby go to daycare you will need to ensure that the bottles are adequately labeled for the providers as well.
We had to write down our son’s name and date on every single bottle we brought.
Additional Pumping Essentials for Working moms
Here some extra pumping essentials a working mom will need! These bad boys definitely helped make my pumping journey go much more smoothly.
- Extra pumping tubing
- Quick clean breast pump accessory wipes
- Quick clean breast milk removal soap
- Hands-free bra
- Extra pumping shields
- Breast pads – my breasts leaked throughout the day
- Nursing cover – if you don’t have someplace quiet to pump
These items were truly helpful during my short pumping journey. I used everything on this list, every day. I hope that my tips for pumping will help you along your journey, I wish you the best.
My Final Thoughts
Now you don’t have to worry about what to pack in your pumping essentials kit for work. I am very empathetic about having to leave your baby with a caregiver while you work – it can definitely cause some emotions. It was one of the hardest things to do for me.
I want to help you feel more prepared at ease while you’re transitioning from mom to work at home mom. You’ve got this, mama.
I would love to hear if my extensive exclusively pumping essentials guide will help you stress a little less!
What were your must-have pumping essentials as a working mom? I would love to learn your tips and hacks!