Complete guide to what to pack in your breast pump bag

Wondering what to pack in your breast pump bag?
There’s so many things you could put in there… but how’s it all going to fit?
Do you need that spare shirt / bra / pump just in case?

You don’t want to lug around too much gear, but at the same time, you don’t want to NOT have something you actually need.
Luckily, if you make sure you’ve got the basics, you’ll be totally fine! (Promise!)

Don’t forget to scroll to the bottom of the post for a FREE printable breast pump bag packing checklist – I recommend printing and laminating it and keeping it with your pump bag until packing it becomes second nature.

Need more help? Check out the Ultimate Back to Work Pumping Class. It’s PERFECT for any breastfeeding mama that will be heading back to work or school and will need the learn the ins and outs of pumping successfully. It’s only $19, and fully online so you can do it whenever you want. Even at 2am in your jammies! Go check it out!
What to Pack In Your Breast Pump Bag

1. Your Breast Pump

The first thing you’ll need is your breast pump. A top quality one to make things run smoothly for you.

Duh, right?

There are two things you need in your working mom breast pump:

  1. It’s electric (no battery life issues or stresses, plug it in and go!)
  2. It’s a double pump.

When you’re working and momming like a boss, you don’t have time to waste with single side pumps or manual pumps. You need a pump that’s built for speed. Here are some great examples:

2. A Pump Bag

Your pump might come with a bag, or it might not. The bag it comes with might suit you or it might look a bit too utilitarian or scream “I got a breast pump in here!”
If you’d rather have a prettier bag, you’re in luck! There are plenty of options available that are plenty roomy and you could even use them as a purse when you’re finished pumping.
Here are some great options:

3. Pump Parts

Be prepared – no need to run to the store in case you find you need a replacement pump part!

Here are the parts you want to keep with your pump at all times, in case of emergencies:

  • flanges – this is the part that contacts your breast… you can’t pump without it, so make sure you’ve got at least two with your pump at all times. If you can’t clean your pump parts or store it in a refrigerator, you’ll need a pair of flanges for each pumping session.
  • valves and membranes – if you feel like your pump isn’t working as well as it used to, try replacing the membranes. It makes a big difference!
  • power options (optional) – once you get into the groove at work and you know where you’ll be pumping and whether you have access to power, you might not worry about bringing along a car charger or battery pack. But, if you’re travelling a lot or don’t always have access to power, make sure you bring options so you don’t get caught out.

4. Milk Collection Bottles and Storage Bags

You need something to pump your milk into and something to take your milk home in. The most portable way to manage this is to bring:

  • 1-4 collection bottles (with lids) and
  • 6-10 milk storage bags

Better Option:

Using the Kiinde Twist system. The Kiinde Twist bags are adaptable and can attach to any pump so you can pump directly into the bag. The bags can then be attached into the Kiinde bottle so you don’t need to move your milk from container to container.

It’s one less thing to carry and clean and eliminates the small milk waste that happens whenever you transfer your milk between containers. It’s also surprisingly inexpensive for the value it delivers! Check it out here.

5. Cooler Bag and Ice Pack for Transporting Milk Home

Don’t forget to take your milk home with you! You’ll need a way to transport it safely and keep it cool.

Any cooler lunch bag and ice pack will do, however if you’re looking for designed-for-pumped-milk bags, there are plenty of options.

Try these (the floral one is my fave!):

6. Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Whether you choose to work while pumping, or relax, you want pumping to be hands free and fast.

That’s why you need a pumping bra that will let you use your hands to do other things. Because, really, let’s face it – being stuck holding pump flanges to your chest for 20-30 minutes and staring at the wall isn’t anyone’s idea of enjoyable.

A hands free pumping bra lets you relax, use your phone, read a book, use the computer… whatever you need to do.

Here are some good options:

7. Gear for Cleaning and Transporting Pump Parts

You’ve got a couple of options for cleaning and transporting the pump parts that touch milk:

  1. if you have access to a fridge: you can simply store your used pump parts in a sealed plastic container or gallon ziplock bag. No need to wash, the fridge will keep the milk that remains on the pump parts at a safe temperature.
  2. no fridge access but sink and microwave access: rinse your pump parts in the sink and put them into a microwavable sanitizing bag (like this one), run it through the microwave.

At the end of the day, you can bring your used pump parts home in the ziplock bag, or get a specialized wet bag for this purpose.

(If you’re into the Sarah Wells pump bags, she’s also got a line of wet bags to go with – check them out here!)

Other Helpful Things to Pack In Your Breast Pump Bag

Here’s a few more little incidentals you might want to bring with you in your pumping bag:

  • hand sanitizer – you want to keep things clean and either wash your hands or sanitize them before touching your breast pump parts. This one is a super convenient size and attaches to your bag like a keyring (and there’s enough that you can add one to your diaper bag too!) Throw one into your next Amazon order. 
  • nipple cream – your nipples may be sore after pumping. Bring along some soothing Lansinoh for afterwards.
  • iPad/Kindle/Books – bring something to keep yourself entertained while pumping. If you have to ‘clock off’ to pump, don’t keep working while pumping!
  • burp cloths – I was never far from a burp cloth / flannel flat cloth diaper when breastfeeding or pumping. So useful for leaks, wiping stray milk, and for extra peace of mind.
  • snacks – breastfeeding and pumping gives you quite an appetite. Bring along some healthy snacks so you don’t get too hungry!
  • water bottle – breastfeeding makes you thirsty, so keep up your hydration and fill up your water bottle before a pumping session.
  • nursing cover – if you want to cover up (in case of being walked in on) bring along a nursing cover. Check out how you can get one for free!
  • spare blouse or cardigan – in case of leaks on your clothing, bring an extra. Optional – keep a blouse in your car and a very light cardigan in your pump bag.
  • extra breast pads – either disposable or washable, breast pads are essential in those first few months (or even longer). Check out how you can get 10 pairs of washable breast pads for free!

Free Breast Pump Bag Packing Checklist Printable

You’ve got a lot on your plate, so using checklists and systems to make sure you don’t miss anything only makes sense.

You don’t want to have to run home because you forgot one of your pumping essentials.

I recommend printing out this checklist, laminating it and checking it off every night before bed until it becomes second nature.
Just click on the image below to download a printable version.
Breast pump info if you’re interested!

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