When you head back to work on your first day, you’ll likely have one extra bag with you — a bag with your breastpump! You arrive thinking all you need is your equipment, ice pack and storage bags or bottles. Think again! Here is a list of what to pack in your breast pump bag from someone who more than once was caught without something I needed:
- Breastpump and accessories: this seems obvious but make sure to double check that you have everything before you leave for work
- Paper towels: there will be all sorts of drips and drops that you’ll want to catch so they don’t mess up your clothes
- Cleaning wipes: medela sells some breastpump “quick clean” wipes for your equipment. A must if you don’t have a sink where you pump
- A sharpie! Important if you are pumping into bags or containers that you will store, make sure to date each one.
- Frozen ice pack: don’t forget to put in the freezer the night before! No one wants to put their breastmilk in the work refrigerator.
- Nursing cover or shall: on a normal day you won’t need this, but those few times you have to pump on the go (yes, I have pumped while driving in the car on the way to a meeting) you’ll wish you had it
- Extra breast milk storage bags: just incase you have to stay longer than you thought, you want extra storage containers on hand
- Hands free nursing bra: you’ll be upset if you forget this! The nursing bra is essential for a productive or at least entertaining pumping session (you can use your hands to check email, read, make calls, etc…)
Here are other tips in terms of making time for pumping at work:
- Schedule time on your calendar to pump. That way no one will book meetings back to back and not allow you a 30 minute break to pump.
- In a long meeting, don’t be shy to speak up and say you need a 15 minute break. People who know you ‘re pumping will respect it and for those who don’t, everyone appreciates a break in a several hour meeting.
- Plan ahead. This is the single biggest bit of advice. Look at your calendar to know when you will pump based on your schedule. Sometimes you’ll need to pump 45 minutes earlier than you would have because of meetings.
I am quite busy at work and usually have several meetings a day, sometimes all day meetings. I have always found time to pump you just have to plan ahead and make it a priority. One more thing to manage I know, but totally worth it.