Being a working mom is tough. Being a working, pumping mom is tougher. There's already so much to do during the day and so little time to do it all before you have to rush home to relieve the babysitter or pick up your little one from daycare. Toss in the monkey wrench of pumping multiple times at the office and your days become that much more exhausting not only because you’re constantly rushing to and from the designated “wellness” room but it is physically taxing to express milk. No wonder you burn so many extra calories during each sesh.
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And I have learned the hard way that pumping at work is not like doing it at home, where you can leave your equipment out and everything you need (from napkins to sharpies to extra bottles) is easily accessible. At work on the other hand, you are quarantined to a separate nook away from the rest of office civilization, so you better be sure that everything you need to tackle the task at hand is in your kit. The last thing you want to do is realize that you don’t have a place to store and label your milk after you’ve already pumped.
Read on for an official checklist of everything you will need to streamline the whole pumping-at-work thing. Grab a glass of water and let’s go.
1. Tote Bag
Whatever kind of bag you choose, make sure it is big enough to carry all of your equipment around. This medium sized tote is the perfect size for everything on this list, plus it fits in a file drawer so you can stash it away in between sessions.
2. Purse Organizer
This is a total gamechanger. Keeping things organized streamlines the pumping process so that you are not fishing around for anything--from tea bags to sharpies--and keeps you sane.
3. The Right Bra
The last thing you want to be doing is holding up those bottles with your hands. Invest in a pumping bra so that your hands are free to Instagram, email, or flip through a magazine. And it’s much easier to use than the holes-in-the-sports-bra method.
4. Microwavable Sterilizing Bag
Every office has a microwave. Unless you plan on bringing all your gear home to sanitize at home every few days, I suggest these bags. Plus they double as a storage container in between pumping sessions: keep your used bottles in these bags in the fridge so that you only have to wash them once a day at the end. Make sure you label it with your name because all the new moms have these.
$8 for 5
5. Pump, bottles, tubing, the whole shebang
Sounds obvious but hey it's possible to forget anything when you have mommy brain. Keep a stash of extra supplies (bottles, membranes, etc.) in your desk drawer so that you have sterilized backups at the ready should you need.
from $144 (for pictured set)
6. Hand Sanitizer
Your hands should be clean as a whistle when handling all your pumping gear. These smell refreshing and they dry instantly. Don’t you just hate it when you need a towel to wipe off all that excess sanitizer?
8. Kitchen Towel Or Napkins
Either a towel that you take home regularly to launder or a small supply of napkins is a good idea to have for those just-in-case moments. Plus you can use it as a placemat if you’re a germaphobe.
9. Cleaning Wipes
Speaking of germs, you don't know who has been in that room before you and what they've spilled. Give the surface a good wipe, especially if you’re not covering it with a towel or napkin.
10. Permanent Marker And Sticky Tape
You’ll need to label those storage containers and bags with the date and amount of expressed milk as soon as you express it. I love this roll of labeling tape from Post-it—it’s super sticky but doesn’t leave a residue and because the entire back is adhesive, you don’t have to worry about accidentally pulling it off.
Keep your milk chilled with an insulated cooling bag and ice pack. This has both and doesn’t weigh 10 pounds once it’s frozen. I like to keep mine in the freezer at the office and I add to it after each session.
13. Reading Materials
They say that looking at pictures of your baby will increase milk supply, but don’t feel guilty if you opt for some magazine time instead. Let’s be honest though, you’re probably working through each session.
$1/issue with subscription
14. Nipple Cream
All that pumping can do a number on your nips so bring some cream and be nice to them. Plus this product is amazing for chapped lips. I know women who don’t even have children who use it as a lip balm.
15. Gallon Zip Loc Bag
They are perfect for storing extra bottle and supplies, and if you forget a freezer bag, corralling all your pumped milk containers in the office fridge or freezer.
16. Nursing Tea
I just keep a few bags of these in my kit in case I’m feeling that my supply is low.