Hi mamas! It's Sarah, and I'm headed back to work and wanted to share a couple tips for preparing to leave your little one and start pumping at work.
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Tip #1: Pack your pump bag 3-4 days in advance to make sure you have all the supplies you'll need, from your pump to your accessories. I put everything in my jay elle Breast Pump Bag so I'm ready to go and don't forget anything on Day #1! By packing 3-4 days in advance, you'll allow yourself a cushion in case you're missing anything and need to quickly order it (2-day shipping via Amazon Prime) or run to the nearest store. For details on what I pack in my bag, see below!
Breast Pump: I use the Medela Pump-in-Style (but also use the Spectra!). Having a double-electric pump is critical for a working mom since you're pumping all day (feels like it, huh?!) and you'll need to keep up your milk supply while being away from baby all day which can be tough.
Breast Pump Accessories: Ok here's my list...and I have extras of everything just in case: flanges/breast shields (I use Pumpin' Pal), connectors, valves & membranes, tubes, power cord and battery pack (just in case I have to run to a meeting and need to pump on the go...it's happened!) and one set of bottles. I like to pump into the bottles and then pour each pumping session's milk into a bag.
Breast Milk Storage Bags: I like the Lansinoh ones because they hold more milk than the Medela bags (they don't stay upright as easily though, so you'll definitely be using the dividers in your jay elle Cooler Bag to keep these bags upright and the milk from spilling!).
Hands-Free Pumping Bra: I use the Simple Wishes hands-free bra and love it! They have a new bra coming out soon called the SuperMom, so keep that on your radar too!
Nursing/Pumping Cover: We have an all-women office and we're a pretty close-knit team, so I sometimes pump in areas of our office that require a bit more discretion ;) so I bring my nursing cover with me for some extra coverage while pumping when needed.
Medela Quick Clean Wipes: I like to have these just in case I need to wipe my pump parts down quickly. I also put the parts in the jay elle Wet Bag and put them in the fridge in between pumping sessions to save time & keep them sanitized (the cold refrigerator keeps bacteria from growing).
Sharpie Marker: For writing date & # of oz. on each milk storage bag!
Honest Co. Stain Remover (travel size): I tend to spill bits of milk on myself when pumping, especially when taking the flanges off, and I keep this to put a few spritzes on the spilled milk. I find that it leaves a nice smell :) and helps prevent stains on my clothes.
J.L. Childress Ice Packs: I keep these in case I can't put the Cooler Bag in our refrigerator at work for some reason and need to keep my pumped milk cold. Always handy to have 2! They freeze solid so stay cold ALL DAY!
Lactation Cookies: With my first child, I had a hard time keeping up with his milk demands so ate a couple lactation cookies everyday (they're yummy so I didn't mind at all!). I made them myself, you can find lots of good recipes online and it's cheaper to make them yourself vs. buy the ones in the store.
jay elle Breast Pump Bag & Accessories: Of course :) and I'm currently using our Terra bag since I love the lighter color and touch of gold for these warm summer months. I put all of my pumping necessities in my bag, PLUS my laptop, personal clutch, phone, keys, sunglasses, lunch and any work papers I'm bringing to and from the office. It seriously fits SO much and I love that everything I need, everyday, is all in one place. I love having the C.O.D.E. Handbook in my bag too because it's a quick-reference for milk storage guidelines and I've customized it with my Checklist so I never forget what I need to pump every day at work.