Pumping Essentials: 9 Must-Haves Products for a Better Pumping Journey
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When I began my exclusively pumping journey, I thought a pump and some bottles were all I was going to need. While that technically is true, there are a lot of cool products that make milking the girls easier and more efficient.
Here’s my list of what you need to help you get your pump on and while maintaining your sanity.
Having a good pump is an absolute necessity for any pumping mama. And thanks to recent legislation, most mothers can get one for free or at a discounted rate through their insurance company.
Medela is the market leader when it comes to pumps and pumping supplies, and their pump, the Medela Pump-in-Style Advanced (PISA), is one of the most popular pumps on the market. It has excellent suction and is a total work-horse. I know plenty of moms who’ve had theirs for a year or more and it’s still ticking.
But in the world of exclusively pumping mamas, there’s a new pump company that’s started to rival Medela and their PISA. Spectra Baby. An Australian-founded company that began it’s US invasion in 2013. Spectra markets their pumps (the popular S1 and S2) as hospital grade, with adjustable digital suction settings.
I have both tried both the Spectra and the Medela, and I can say that my preference is definitely the Spectra. Both the S1 and the S2 have quiet motors and gentle, nipple-friendly suction. You can personalize your suctions settings to whatever levels work best for you and there’s even a built-in nightlight to help you see what you’re doing during those middle of the night pump sessions. The only difference between the S1 and the S2 is that the S1 comes with a built-in battery pack. This is a lifesaver for busy moms! You can continue to pump while you move around the house doing chores or attending to children. Or even pumping on the go! I don’t know how I lived before I got my S1!
Hands-Free Pumping Bra
If you don’t have a hands-free bra, get one . . . now! I cannot adequately express how much easier pumping has been since I went hands-free. I mean, who really wants to hold bottles to your chest for 30+ minutes? Not me!
This bra by Simple Wishes is great! It has a velcro panel in the back that can adjust to just the right size for you. And it’s front zip design makes putting it on a breeze and is probably my favorite feature! My first hands-free pumping bra had a back, velcro closure. It made it really hard for me to get the bra tight enough to stay up while holding the flanges in place. Simple Wishes Signature Hands Free Pumping Bra solved that problem for me.
I also really love the Rose pumping bras by The Dairy Fairy. Once I started getting closer to returning to work, I started thinking about how to minimize my prep time so I could spend the most time possible pumping while on my breaks. Rose is just like a regular bra that happens to have slits in the front to hold flanges. It offers enough support that I can wear it all day, so there’s no need to change into a different bra when it comes time to pump. Plus, it’s pretty. As a busy mom, most of the time I’m in old jeans and a plain tee, hair in a bun, no make-up on, just trying to make it through the day. Add to that the unglamorous-ness of pumping, and I usually don’t feel very attractive. But wearing this pretty bra is a sweet little pick-me-up that helps me feel more like myself and less like a mom.
MayMom Printable Caliper
Finding the right flange size is so important for getting the most out of your pumping session. Lots of sites will tell you what size flange you need for your nipple size, but actually measuring your nipples can be tricky. When I found out about the MayMom Printable Nipple Caliper, I realized that my previous measurement (which involved a soft-tape and eyeballing it) was way off! I’d been using size 24 flanges, when what I actually needed was size 17!
The caliper is free. Just download the file, print it, cut it out, and measure. Easy peasy!
Lansinoh TheraPearls are reusable hot/cold packs that provide relief for a multitude of breastfeeding ailments. Use them cold to help relieve swelling and pain from engorgement or hot to help relieve clogged milk ducts or speed let-down so you can spend less time pumping. They can be used directly on the breast, or wrapped around the flange.
I battled clogged milk ducts a lot, early in my pumping journey. These saved me so many times by helping me work out the clog. I wouldn’t want to pump without them in my arsenal.
In my own home, I’m not generally shy about my pumping. I’ve pumped in front of friends and family alike. But not everyone needs (or wants) to see my tatas. My dad, for instance. The idea of seeing his little girl’s chichis is just too much for his brain to handle. So I just throw on this inexpensive nursing cover (that can double as a scarf) and pump away without the risk of burning his eyes. It’s also great for those times I need to pump in the car. I don’t really want that guy in the lifted truck getting a birds eye view of my bare breasts. No, thank you!
Reusable Breast Pads
Before I began pumping, I thought breast pads were just for leaky boobs. I had no idea that breastfeeding meant that your nipples were at full attention All. The. Time. Breast pads can take care of that too. That’s why I love my Bamboobies reusable breast pads. They’re soft and absorbent and their unique heart shape makes them nearly invisible under clothing. And they’re washable, so you can use them for the duration of your pumping journey! No more wasting money on breast pads you just throw away!
They also make a thicker, nighttime version so that you don’t wake up with a wet shirt. Nobody likes that.
If you don’t want to be tied to the house every time you need to pump, I suggest you grab yourself a car adapter for your pump. I’ve only been pumping for about 4 months and have used mine several times. I use it to pump while running errands and when we took a little day trip out of town. They’re inexpensive and really allow you a lot of freedom to go where you need to without worrying about having to return home or finding an outlet.
Bottle Drying Rack
Exclusively pumping involves a lot of pump parts and a lot of bottles. Lots of parts means lots of washing, so you’re gonna need a place to dry everything. I love this drying rack from Boon. I can place my parts super close together to get as many of them on their at one time as I can. No wasted space. Plus it’s super cute and comes with equally cute accessories. I figure, if I’m going to have one of these things sitting out on my counter for a year or more, I’d rather it not be an eyesore. This rack has form and function!
What else are you going to need to wash all those pump parts besides a drying rack? A bottle brush, of course! I personally love this one from Munchkin. It’s got a detachable nipple brush and a spongy top, which I love. I feel like a sponge covers more surface area than bristles do, so it cleans the bottom of the bottle better. Plus it’s inexpensive and comes in several fun colors.
There you have it! My list of absolute musts for any pumping mama. Exclusively pumping is hard enough, I hope this list will help make your journey a little easier and more efficient. Pump on, mamas!
What do you think, fellow pumpers? Did I leave anything out? What are your pumping must-haves?
Linking at: Tatertots & Jello, Skip to My Lou