Breast Pumping at Work: The Most Essential Accessories

Breast pumps are probably one of the best inventions for nursing (working) mothers out there. Whether you’re temporarily away from the baby, have a busy work schedule, are constantly on the go, or your baby struggles with regular breastfeeding, breast pumps are pretty handy items that will save the day and will make sure your little one is well fed and maintains a natural breast milk diet. 

And while the first thing you must have for breast pumping is, of course, the pump itself, you will also need a couple of other accessories that will simplify the experience and make it more comfortable and mess-free. Here you have a handy little list of the ten most essential breast pumping accessories.

1. Breast Pump

You can either go for electric or manual.

Electric breast pumps are usually more powerful and work faster than manual ones, though they can be a tad bulky and harder to carry around, not to mention the nuisance of coming back after a forgotten piece of equipment. Nevertheless, most of them are quiet enough to fit in a workplace environment and offer a comfortable, discreet pumping experience that will save you a lot of time.

If you’re interested in the best electric breast pump options on the market, check out our most recent guide.

Manual pumps are another breast pumping option, which can also be a little less complicated to use, although, of course, it all depends on your preferences. In any event, they’re much easier to carry around and they don’t require many additional pieces to make them work. Some of the manual pumps can produce a lot of output, which makes them a great backup option to have around the car or in the office.

For reviews on best manual breast pumps check out our other guide here.

2. A Breast Pump Carry Bag

Breast pumps also require carry bags to fit all the necessary parts inside. Nowadays they come in a variety of choices, so you can be both stylish and practical by choosing your own pumping bag preference. Most of them have several compartments reserved for the breast pump, spare parts, milk bottles, and other items - this will help you stay organized and efficient while you set up the pump.

For suggestions on carry bag choices, try out this article where you can find out all you need to know about choosing one. And of course, if you have trouble committing to one, our guide on the Best Breast Pump Carry Bags might help you along.

3. A Cooler Bag

Because you won’t be able to find refrigerators on every occasion during breast pumping sessions, besides carry bags, you will also need cooler bags to keep your milk fresh and protected. Some carry bags do come with additional cooler bags (also called cold storage bags), but some don’t include them so make sure you get one if the carry bag you go for doesn’t have it. Smaller ones are more convenient and they fit more easily in the pumping bags - you can also search for ones that include ice packs for extra temperature control.

4. Extra Bottles

For those who are pumping exclusively, meaning their baby only consumes pumped breast milk, we recommend buying a lot more extra bottles. In fact, when it comes to milk bottles, you can’t have enough of them. You may want to consider getting twice as many as your baby consumes in a day, which will allow you to fill up a big batch of milk bottles in a day that will certainly save you the incessant washing.

Check out our recommendations for the Best Baby Bottles.

5. Pumping Bra

Also called a hands-free bra, this is indeed a very practical item to have during breast pumping sessions. A lot of mothers swear on this efficient and time-saving accessory. It works by keeping the breast shields firm and in place with a bustier that zips up in the middle, allowing your hands to be free at all times while you’re doing the pumping. They’re pretty easy to adjust to the often changing body of the mother, very easy to take on and off, and what’s more, they’re also pretty low-maintenance, holding the same shape even after a series of washes.  

6. Pumping (nursing) cover

Pumping covers allow you a discreet pumping experience at all times, in every occasion or place. Mothers use them on planes, in cars, buses, airport gates, and hospital waiting rooms, their office desks - you name it! 

Protected from curious eyes, you’re still able to have full control over your breast pumping activity without being too worried about privacy. Another great thing about the nursing cover is that you can use it for other baby-included activities and occasions besides nursing – as a regular cover for your baby, a car seat cover as well as a high chair cover.

7. Breast Pads

Breast pads are another item that will make the effects of the pumping more discreet. Perfect for working mothers that are required to meet lots of people during their working hours, these pads provide a protective cover for the occasional breast leakage that sometimes happens as a result of the pumping. The breast pads effectively cover the wet circles that show up when there is random leakage that you can’t control.

 8. Wipes

We’re sure we can’t overstate the importance of carrying clean wipes at all times with you, especially when nursing is involved. Being a working mother and pumping on the go means that pretty often you won’t actually have time to properly wash the pump parts between sessions. This is where the wipes come in – always keep an extra batch in your carry bag, because they do work magic for the valves, the breast shields, and the membranes. And, the best thing is, they might even clean your work bureau!

9.   Milk Storage Bags

Some breast pumps come with milk storage bags (or milk container bags) as well as lids, but sometimes you might just want to buy a couple more. Milk bags make sure that you don’t waste even a drop of that precious breast milk – made especially for storing and freezing the freshly pumped milk. They’re thicker than regular storage bags and often feature reinforced sides and double locking top seals. If you wanna get even more practical, you can purchase an adapter that will allow you to pump directly in the bags (this will mostly work for pumps with a standard size though).  

While you don’t need to have all of these items in order to breast pump, they will certainly make it easier and less messy. We know there are a lot of things to consider in those early months of nursing and taking care of a newborn. We sure hope we’ve helped you remember what else to put in the carry bag for that next pumping session!