Going back to work after maternity leave can be so hard, but having the right supplies for pumping at work can help smooth the process a little. These 7 supplies for pumping at work are essentials.
Prepping with the best supplies for pumping at work before getting back into the swing of things in the working work will make it much more likely that your pumping/breastfeeding journey will continue without a hitch. It took some trial and error to get my pumping routine down when I first started pumping at work, but eventually, I found my groove. These supplies for pumping at work will help you find yours too.
And don’t forget to make sure you are paced feed your pumped milk. Learn how in this post.
(Just a heads up that this post contains affiliate links, meaning if you purchase something I recommend, I get a small commission at no extra cost to you.)
This is THE most important thing you need to pump at work unless you plan to hand express.
Hand expressing is totally doable (plus something you might need to do in a pinch) and some moms find they get better production via hand expression, but most moms prefer to use a pump because it’s just easier.
All you do is head over to this link and fill out a few bits of information. They will then let you know which pumps your insurance will cover, and get you all set up. It’s very minimal work on your end. They take care of it all.
What is the best breast pump for pumping at work?
Moms might differ on this, but in my personal experience and from what I’ve seen other moms say, the Spectra S2 is the best option if it is available to you. Compared to other breast pumps I’ve used, I found that it best mimicked the actual feel of a nursing baby, and had the best milk output.
The Spectra S2 is also a hospital grade pump at a much lower cost than others. A hospital-grade means it is a closed system. In a closed system, the milk never goes into the machine, meaning it is actually considered safe for multiple moms to use the same machine as long as they use different or sterilized accessories.
I’ve also used the Medela Pump in Style Advanced (PISA), and the hospital-grade Medela Symphony. The PISA was fine. No complaints. The Symphony was excellent, but it is rather pricey and to be honest, I found the Spectra to get just as much milk out as the Symphony and at a much smaller price tag if you have to pay out of pocket. (Medela also has this new closed system pump that is worth checking out too!)
All of the pumps discussed so far are electric pumps, meaning they plug into an outlet or a battery pack and electricity does the job for you. But a manual pump is also an option.
Manual pumps are super cheap, starting around $25 for most, and many moms actually get better output from a manual pump than an electric. But just like hand expression it can be a bit of a pain and lead to some pretty cramped hands, so it’s a personal call on what works best for you.
A Pumping Bag to carry your pumping supplies at work
This is not technically necessary for pumping at work, but it makes this so much easier.
You could always just throw everything into a regular bag, but if you can find a bag designed for pumping, it just simplifies everything.
I love this bag and wish it would have been around when I was pumping at work. It’s big enough to fit a Spectra S2 plus tons of accessories, a notebook or small computer, plus insulated pockets for pumped milk. It’s a pretty tricked-out pumping bag if I do say so myself.
But the biggest thing you need to keep in mind is having somewhere to store your pumped milk. The point of all these supplies for pumping at work is to ensure your liquid gold gets home to your little one. So be sure to pack some ice packs in a cooler bag if nothing else.
You need somewhere to store your hard-earned milk! Milk bags are the go-to for most moms because of convenience.
Not only are milk bags easy to carry around, but they also are great for storing milk because they take up little room. You can also freeze your milk in breastmilk bags.
I love the Lansinoh brand bags (Target has a store brand that is similar) because they seem to be able to lay flat the best in the freezer. If you lay the bags flat in the freezer to freeze them you can stack them for easier storage.
Cleaning Supplies to keep your pump clean at work
If you have access to a microwave, an absolute necessity when it comes to supplies for pumping at work are the Medela steam bags.
All you have to do is throw your parts into one of the fancy little bags, add a little water and toss it in the microwave for the amount of time it says on the bag.
Your pump parts are sterilized. It is an AMAZING time and sanity-saving hack for pumping moms and I couldn’t live without this in my toolbox of supplies for pumping at work.
If you don’t have a microwave or a sink to wash the old-fashioned way, I recommend these Medela cleaning wipes. They are awesome in a pinch.
Nipple Balm to soothe sore nipples while pumping
This is your call, but I always liked having some sort of nipple balm, even if it was just coconut oil on hand.
Pumping shouldn’t hurt if you have the right setup, but sometimes just overuse of the nips with a teething or cranky baby can make your nipples a little sore. I love lanolin and also had a balm made from my placenta! (Yeah it sounds weird, but it was awesome!)
Pumping Bra for hands-free pumping at work
I actually never used a pumping bra as one of my necessary supplies for pumping at work, but I know a lot of moms swear by them.
Perhaps it’s because I just couldn’t find the right fit from the bras I did try, but it was just easier for me to wedge the breast shield between my bra and shirt, kind of like the two shirt method for breastfeeding.
If I were going to try another pumping bra, I’d like to give this on a go though.
Snacks and Water to stay fueled and hydrating while pumping
Breastfeeding and pumping can make you SO HUNGRY, and also zap some of your energy. Not to mention, it can be hard to stay hydrated while breastfeeding/pumping.
Be sure you always have a snack in your bag and a bottle of water.
While you’re sitting down to pump chug some water and have a bite to eat so you’re replenished and able to hop back into work a little more easily.