Guide to all the pumping essentials every mom needs
Breastfeeding can be exhausting. It can also be painful, especially during those first few weeks. These are just some of the reasons why more and more women today are choosing to either supplement breastfeeding with pumping or opting to pump exclusively.
Pumping has lots of benefits. You can do it on your own schedule, which makes you more flexible than you’d be with breastfeeding. It is also reassuring to always know that your little one has all the milk they need every day. Plus, the stockpile of back-up milk can free you up to have some wine every now and then without risking your baby getting some of it. Finally, it allows you to not have to deal with all the issues that come with breastfeeding, including the pain and discomfort.
That said, pumping is definitely not as cheap as breastfeeding. Before you can start pumping for your little one, there are a number of things that you have to buy. Here are some of the pumping essentials that every mom needs:
This is among the most essential items that every pumping mom needs. All that precious breast milk needs to go somewhere, right?
Consider investing in some breast milk storage bags to start. They are conspicous and take up very little space in the freezer, so it will be difficult to confuse them with anything else. There are also bags that are designed to allow you to pump directly into them using standard pumps.
You can also use baby bottles to store the milk. These work just as well as storage bags. However, you are going to have to ensure that you have enough space in the fridge to store as much milk as the baby needs.
2. Nursing Bra
A stylish and functional bra is a must-have for every pumping mother. Nursing bras come in various designs and styles depending on your needs. There are everyday nursing bras, which are nursing bras that can be worn every day. Almost indistinguishable from regular bras, they have the extra feature of making breastfeeding easier. There are also pumping bras, which are uniquely designed for pumping. With them, you can comfortably pump hands-free while doing something else with your hands.
The next nursing bra style is the extra-supportive nursing bras, which is designed to offer some much-needed extra support and breast weight redistribution to women who need it. There are also full drop cup bras, which are great for when you begin nursing. They allow for easy and discreet breastfeeding no matter where you are. Finally, there are sleeping bras, which are designed to be comfortable enough to be slept in.
3. Electric Breast Pump
The next item on your list should be an efficient and powerful electric breast pump. The best electric breast pumps have a suckling motion built into their design, making for a more comfortable pumping experience.
When choosing an electric breast pump, go for one that has rechargeable batteries and can easily be moved around. This way, you will not be limited when it comes to where you can be when you need to pump. As long as you keep it fully charged, you can even pump as you drive to work!
Apart from that, it should also be portable and light. You are going to have to carry it around with you, so the last thing you need is something bulky and heavy.
Good electric breast pumps also have adjustable suction settings to ensure a comfortable experience when pumping. This makes them take a much shorter time to pump more milk, making for a faster, easier, and more stress-free experience for you. Plus, electric breast pumps are also a lot quieter than manual breast pumps!
Some brands of electric breast pumps are also designed to work with milk storage bags. This allows you to store the pumped milk directly while you are pumping it, saving yourself lots of time in the process.
4. Breast Pumping Cups
Breast pumping cups are a great hands-free alternative to breast pumps that can fit comfortably in any bra. They can also be used with most standard breast pumps to make milk collection easier and more convenient. The best part is that breast pumping cups can be refrigerated, allowing you to stock pile that extra breast milk. All you have to do is cap it, label it with a date and time, and immediately place it in a refrigerator, freezer, or cooler bag with ice packs.
5. Manual Breast Pump
If you do not want to splurge on an electric breast pump, a manual breast pump is the next best thing. Manual breast pump are excellent alternatives to electric breast pumps that work without a power source.
They are handheld, and their manual operation means that you can use them in all kinds of conditions. All you have to do is position the cup on your breast using a pumping bra and start pumping.
Perhaps one of the only downside to manual breast pumps is that they can be rather loud. The manual pumping mechanism has a bunch of spring inside it produces a rhythmic sound as you pump. Of course, this also depends on the manual breast pump brand that you go for. However, they are definitely louder than electric breast pumps.
That said, a lot of moms don’t mind the sound, and manual breast pumps are still as popular as ever. If you want to cover all your bases, consider getting both an electric and a manual breast pump.
6. Milk cooler
Once you start pumping, one of the first things you’ll come to realize is that breast milk can only be left at room temperature for so long. Because of this, a milk cooler is a must-have item especially if you are planning to go out and about with your little one.
You’ll also need a cooler if you are planning to pump at work and bring the milk home. If your little one is going to be at daycare while you are away, you’ll also have to transport their daily breast milk in a cooler.
The best part is that milk coolers can be as simple or as complex as you like. At their core, though, they are just basic insulated cooler bags with an ice pack.
7. Hand wipes
Proper hygeine is extremely important when dealing with anything baby-related. Your little one’s immune system is still developing and you do not want to stress it unnecesarily. Therefore, you need to wash your hands and ensure your pumping environement is as clean as possible before you can start pumping.
The best way to do this is by using hand wipes. Wipe any equipment you use down with the wipes. You should also clean your breasts with the hand wipes before attaching the breast pump.
Hand wipes will also come in handy when you are out and about and you cannot find a clean enough environemtne to pump in.
Other useful items to have
Having these items in your diaper bag will also make pumping more comfortable and convenient:
- Nipple cream
- Breast pads
- Water bottle
- A car power adapter for your electric pump
- Breastfeeding cover
- A bag for your pump