Among the zillion other things you have to do when going back to work from your maternity leave, figuring out what goes into your breast pump bag should not be allowed to keep you up at night. My particular brand of anxiety is usually quieted by over-planning, so I’d recommend overstocking that thing – in other words, the list below is long. But this way, you have everything you need, and as you learn the ropes of pumping at work, you can slowly pare down the contents. So, without further ado, get packing.
Breast Pumping at Work Packing List:
- Your pump and its power cord and tubing (seriously: double-check) (Editor’s note: here’s a post on picking a pump too.)
- One reusable lunch bag or small cooler bag. (If you have a shared fridge, you can use this to store your milk without getting shade from co-workers. Consider bringing another opaque bag for my favorite hack of all: you can throw your pump parts, completely unwashed, into a Ziploc and into the fridge between pumping sessions. It’s totally sanitary. But again you will probably want to put the Ziploc into an opaque bag so Tim from Accounting doesn’t freak out.)
- Four pump bottles, with lids
- Two connectors with membranes intact
- A package of extra membranes (These are way more important than they look, and will be specific to your pump type)
- Two flanges/horns
- A battery pack with batteries (Some battery packs have two sides – check yours to be sure!)
- One microwave sterilization bag
- One small bottle of hand sanitizer
- Four extra breast pads
- A small pack of wet wipes (for spills)
- 10 breastmilk storage bags and a Sharpie to label them
- 5 gallon-size, slider Ziploc bags
- A hands-free pumping bra (Check out Simple Wishes)
- A more-stylish-than-what-your-pump-came-with pump bag. Here’s a Sarah Wells bag review too.
- A stack of Post-It Notes (Here’s why: when (not if) you find yourself having to pump in a public bathroom, you can stick a Post-It over the auto-flush sensor on the toilet to stop it from flushing on your clothed butt)
- Snacks (Avoid bananas, unless you like forgetting about them and having them smashed into everything inside the bag)
- A copy of Work. Pump. Repeat! Read it, cover it in your own notes, and pass it down to the next new mama at work.
- A flashlight app on your phone
- Photos and videos of your baby on your phone, to help with let-down
- A hand pump
- An extra set of tubing
- A cardigan for whoops-I-leaked-through-my-blouse days
Now that I’ve encouraged you to spend your life savings on this “free” breastmilk adventure…it’s time to go forth! Talk to your boss about your boobs! Pump in strange places! Get moo’d at by a co-worker! There are millions of us on this crazy journey alongside you, and we think you’re a bad-ass for giving it a shot – no matter how it turns out.