Going back to work after maternity leave can be so hard, but having the right supplies for pumping at work can help smooth out the process a little.
Prepping with the best supplies for pumping at work before getting back into the swing of things in the working work will make it much more likely that your pumping/breastfeeding journey will continue without a hitch.
(FYI. Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I make a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.)
This is THE most important thing you need to pump at work unless you plan to hand express.
Hand expressing is totally doable (plus something you might need to do in a pinch) and some moms find they get better production via hand expression, but most moms prefer to use a pump because it’s just easier.
All you do is head over to this link and fill out a few bits of information. They will then let you know which pumps your insurance will cover, and get you all set up. It’s very minimal work on your end. They take care of it all, and get you started with the supplies for pumping at work you need the most.
Which pump is the best?
Moms might differ on this, but in my personal experience and from what I’ve seen other moms say, the Spectra S2 is the best option if it is available to you. Compared to other breast pumps I’ve used, I found that it best mimicked the actual feel of a nursing baby, and had the best milk output.
The Spectra S2 is also a hospital grade pump at a much lower cost than others. A hospital-grade means it is a closed system. In a closed system, the milk never goes into the machine, meaning it is actually considered safe for multiple moms to use the same machine as long as they use different or sterilized accessories.
I’ve also used the Medela Pump in Style Advanced (PISA), and the hospital-grade Medela Symphony. The PISA was fine. No complaints. The Symphony was excellent, but it is rather pricey and to be honest, I found the Spectra to get just as much milk out as the Symphony and at a much smaller price tag if you have to pay out of pocket.
All of the pumps discussed so far are electric pumps, meaning they plug into an outlet or a battery pack and electricity does the job for you. But a manual pump is also an option.
Manual pumps are super cheap, starting around $25 for most, and many moms actually get better output from a manual pump than an electric. But just like hand expression it can be a bit of a pain and lead to some pretty cramped hands, so it’s a personal call on what works best for you.
This is not technically necessary for pumping at work, but it makes this so much easier.
You could always just throw everything into a regular bag, but if you can find a bag designed for pumping, it just simplifies everything.
I love this bag and wish it would have been around when I was pumping at work. It’s big enough to fit a Spectra S2 plus tons of accessories, a notebook or small computer, plus insulated pockets for pumped milk. It’s a pretty tricked-out pumping bag if I do say so myself.
But the biggest thing you need to keep in mind is having somewhere to store your pumped milk. The point of all these supplies for pumping at work is to ensure your liquid gold gets home to your little one. So be sure to pack some ice packs in a cooler bag if nothing else.
You need somewhere to store your hard-earned milk! Milk bags are the go-to for most moms because of convenience.
Not only are milk bags easy to carry around, but they also are great for storing milk because they take up little room. You can also freeze your milk in breastmilk bags.
I love the Lansinoh brand bags (Target has a store brand that is similar) because they seem to be able to lay flat the best in the freezer. If you lay the bags flat in the freezer to freeze them you can stack them for easier storage.
If you have access to a microwave, an absolute necessity when it comes to supplies for pumping at work are the Medela steam bags.
All you have to do is throw your parts into one of the fancy little bags, add a little water and toss it in the microwave for the amount of time it says on the bag.
Your pump parts are sterilized. It is an AMAZING time and sanity-saving hack for pumping moms and I couldn’t live without this in my toolbox of supplies for pumping at work.
If you don’t have a microwave or a sink to wash the old fashioned way, I recommend these Medela cleaning wipes. They are awesome in a pinch.
This is your call, but I always liked having some sort of nipple balm, even if it was just coconut oil on hand.
Pumping shouldn’t hurt if you have the right setup, but sometimes just overuse of the nips with a teething or cranky baby can make your nipples a little sore. I love lanolin and also had a balm made from my placenta! (Yeah it sounds weird, but it was awesome!)
What are flanges? They are the shield portion that cups your breast as you pump. Ensuring you have the right size is important for comfort AND milk production. If the size is wrong, it might not express as much milk as possible, causing your supply to dwindle.
Learn how to get the proper fit here.
I actually bought Pumpin’ Pals flanges (find the set for the Spectra on their website) because I heard other moms rave about them, and I now rave about them too. They are one of my favorite supplies for pumping at work that I recommend to moms because I definitely felt more comfortable with them and had more milk.
I actually never used a pumping bra as one of my necessary supplies for pumping at work, but I know a lot of moms swear by them.
Perhaps it’s because I just couldn’t find the right fit from the bras I did try, but it was just easier for me to wedge the breast shield between my bra and shirt, kind of like the two shirt method for breastfeeding.
If I were going to try another pumping bra, I’d like to give this on a go though.
Snacks and Water!
Breastfeeding and pumping can make you SO HUNGRY, and also zap some of your energy. Not to mention, it can be hard to stay hydrated while breastfeeding/pumping.
Be sure you always have a snack in your bag and a bottle of water.
While you’re sitting down to pump chug some water and have a bite to eat so you’re replenished and able to hop back into work a little more easily.
Pumping is like an entire job in itself mama, and hopefully, these supplies for pumping at work will make it just a little bit easier.
What are your favorite supplies for pumping at work? Let us know in the comments!
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