As much as pumping is supposed to simplify your life, sometimes it feels like it adds more stress than anything. It gives you the freedom to get out of the house without worrying about nursing and allows your partner take over a few feedings, but it certainly requires a lot more preparation and forethought than simply nursing does. So, in order to make things as easy on yourself as possible, there are a few tools that every pumping mom should have in her arsenal, no matter how frequently or infrequently her pumping sessions.
Some moms exclusively pump for their babies, while others pump only as the need arises, but either way, these tools will make your life easier. I pumped as needed for both of my daughters, and though I never built up a stockpile of milk or tried exclusively pumping, I was no stranger to the pain of a bottle or one of those white flappy-things on your pump going missing (that's the technical term right?), or trying to pump without a hands free bra and do something other than hold the pump to my boobs. At the end of the day, it's much easier just to stock up on the pumping tools you know you'll already need than be in the middle of a session and have nowhere to store that liquid gold.
1. A Hands-Free Pumping Bra
The less you have to sit there and hold the better, so investing in a good hands-free pumping bra will allow you to do other things besides hold the flanges to your breasts the entire time. This hands-free pumping bra from Target ($23) comes with flaps that fold down when you need to pump.
2. Freezer Storage Milk Bags
Unless you're just pumping on demand, you'll need storage bags to freeze your milk to make sure it stays fresh. Although there are several different brands, these mik storage bag ($9 for 50) come with a pour spout, which will save you the tears of accidentally spilling your milk when trying to transfer it to the bottle.
3. Lots Of Bottles
If there's one problem every mom who pumps hates having it's not being able to find a bottle, nipple, or lid when it comes time to feed or store your milk. Save yourself the hassle but stocking up on bottles so that when the time comes, you're not scrambling to find one.
4. Some Quality Reading Or Watching Material
If you're going to be pumping multiple times a day, grabbing a good book or starting a new series will give you something to do instead of counting the ounces you've pumped.
5. Nipple Cream
Although pumping certainly doesn't have the same potential for nipple damage as nursing does, it still can be painful. There are a million different kinds on the market, but picking up a nipple cream ($11) will help soothe things on the sore days.
6. Extra Pump Parts
To save yourself the pain of trying to function with a broken or missing pump part, buy a few extras. That way, you'll always be prepared in case of a missing piece emergency.
7. A Cooler And Ice Packs
If you need the milk on the go or have to transport it from work, you'll need a cooler and ice packs to keep it cold. Although any old cooler will work, it's convenient to buy coolers specifically made for storing breast milk ($27).