By Wendy Colson, RN, IBCLC, RLC
So you’ve confirmed your start date for your first day back to the office, have set up childcare, discussed your pumping schedule with your team- and now, it’s time to make sure you’ve got all the right supplies you need!
Here’s everything you need in your pumping bag:
- Your primary pump (this is typically your double electric pump such as Medela Pump in Style, Spectra or Baby Buddha). It is also worth considering adding a secondary pump in the case you have less time to pump or need to pump on the go. This can be a battery operated pump such as the Willow or Elvie hands free pump or a great hand pump such as those from Medela or Lansinoh. They work great in a pinch! Don’t forget your charging cords, collection bottles, flanges and storage bags with your pump.
- A hands-free pumping bra to multitask while pumping (of course this has to be done sometimes, but don’t forget to try and do some hands on pumping when you can as this can increase the amount of milk you express at each session). Be sure to look for a pumping bra that does not fit too tightly and provides enough support for sensitive breast tissue in between feedings.
- Pumping accessories such as: breast pads to wear in between sessions, a quality pumping spray, massager, pumping petals, breast pump wipes, milk storage bags/bottles to transport milk in and additional pump parts if needed.
- Invest in a quality cooler bag to store expressed milk safely during your commute home to ensure that there are no temperature fluctuations during transport.
- Any snacks such as dried fruit, nuts, BOOBIE* Bars or hydration boosters such as Hydromom packets to have on hand when pumping, keeping your nutrition and hydration up is key to supporting your milk supply when pumping away from your baby.
Keep in mind that it will take time to get down your “system” with pumping. You are bound to forget 1-2 items when trialing your return to work. In order to prevent becoming uncomfortably engorged you’ll want to try and keep as much of a regular schedule as possible, but remember to give yourself flexibility and grace as you, your baby and caregiver adjust to a new schedule.