Are you a breast pumping mom? Do you wonder what breast pump parts and accessories you need? Here is your guide to everything you’ll need to make pumping just a *little* bit easier.
Breast Pump Essentials for Moms
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Breast pumping is a necessity for many mothers.
Whether they are pumping exclusively, pumping and working, or just want a night out every now and again, hundreds of thousands of women become well acquainted with their breast pump.
In my breast pumping tips post, I go over all the basics (and non-basics) of breast pumping. However, I was recently searching for breast pumping essentials, and I found a lack of information available.
So, today, I thought I would share some essentials for breast pumping moms. This will hopefully be helpful as you prepare to breast pump
For more tips on breastfeeding, be sure to check out our breastfeeding 101 page for all the breastfeeding resources you need!
Quality Breast Pump
This might come as a big “duh” to anyone reading this, but obviously, if you are going to breast pump, you need a quality pump!
What pump should you get? Well, that will depend on a few things:
- How frequently do you plan to pump?
- When do you plan to pump?
- What does your insurance cover?
Currently, insurance companies are required to cover some kind of breast pump. Some will only cover a manual pump, though I’ve found that most will cover at least some kind of double pump.
Make sure you check with your insurance company before baby is born to see what is covered!
Beyond that, ask yourself how you plan to use your pump.
If you are an exclusive pumping mom, you may want to consider renting a hospital grade pump from a hospital or baby store.
If you only plan to pump every now and then, a single pump might be sufficient – or even a manual pump. I actually really liked using my manual pump, as I often found it to be more effective! They are great for time when you can’t bring you whole pump with you (like to a concert!).
There are many different brands of pumps, but here are a few popular ones:
Avent Comfort Double (I have this one and love it)
All breast pumps will come with flanges, as they are necessary for the pump to work. However, not all pumps come with the correct sizes.
One of the biggest reasons I see moms struggling to get sufficient pump output is using the incorrect size of flange. Medela has a great guide for helping you decide what size flange you need.
I have heard good things about Pumpin’ pals.
Your breast pumps flange needs to be changed pretty frequently. I would recommend about once a month. However, as soon as you start to notice your pumping to become less efficient, I recommend swapping those out before you start to panic. I had the best luck with Duckbill valves.
Tubing doesn’t need to be replaced as frequently – really, the only time you need to replace it is if milk gets in there or condensation that dries.
However, I always had trouble keeping condensation out, so I’d imagine I’m not alone in that. You can prevent this by letting your machine run for a minute or so after you are done pumping.
Still, have an extra set of these on hand for your machine.
Obviously, you need something to store your milk in. There are many different options, so you will want to find what works best for you.
Many pumps come with bottles that you pump and store the milk in directly. If your baby will drink from a bottle like this, this can be a great option (though it can be expensive if you try and freeze all the bottles).
More often, moms will store their milk in breast milk storage bags. I always had good luck with Lansinoh bags. However, I recently discovered Ameda Pour and Store and Medela Pump & Store bags which seem pretty cool. You can pump directly into them and freeze. The Ameda bags even have an easy pour spout built in!
If you will be transporting milk to and from somewhere, make sure you have a good tote that will keep them cool while you drive. The Ameda Cool N’ Carry Tote seems like it would be a great option. It will keep the milk cool for about 10 hours, and it includes six bottles.
This is essential, especially for moms that may pump while they work or drive. I never used a pumping bra, but I often wish I had one. It can get a bit tiring to hold the flanges and bottle up for extended periods of time.
There are many different pumping bras available, though I know some women have had luck just cutting a hole in a sports bra that the flange can go through.
Pumping isn’t always convenient and sometimes you may have to do pump in the car. While many pumps can run on battery, you can’t always rely on that either! I know many moms who pump while they drive to work!
I recommend getting a lighter adapter for your pump – it makes things easier!
Pumps aren’t always the most gentle machines, so make sure you take care of your nipples. I’m a big fan of Earth Mama Angel Baby Nipple Cream. These These hydrogel pads are great for in between pumping sessions.
When Oliver was in the hospital with RSV, the nurses gave me some of these Medela microsteam bags, and I LOVED them! I didn’t have a refrigerator that I could store my pump parts in between pumping sessions, so I had to wash and sanitize them every time I used them (which is exhausting for anyone but especially when you have a sick baby in the hospital!).
These bags make it much easier to sanitize your parts quickly. I think each bag is good for maybe 10 times?
These are a great portable cleaning solution for pumping moms – you don’t need any soap or water, and it’s a great way to clean your pump in between pumping sessions! The Medela brand is great.
Katie Clark is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). She has helped thousands of mothers and families around the globe navigate breastfeeding challenges and questions since 2015. She has a passion for creating research-based, helpful breastfeeding education and helping parents find a way to make breastfeeding work for them. Katie is a mom of three little boys and lives in the great state of Colorado. She also has a degree in Communications with an emphasis in print journalism.