To continue Breast-feeding awareness month, I am sharing the top 10 essential items for breast-feeding that are useful for the working mom. These are products that I’ve personally used and I’m recommending them to you because they either made my life easier or saved me some time. Here are the top 10 breast-feeding essentials for the working mom.
A Good Pump
If you are working and still want to breast-feed, you will definitely want a good pump. the great part is most insurance plans will cover a pump at no cost to you. In most cases, you will have several options to choose from. the Medela Pump and Style is popular and the nurses and lactation consultant recommended it to me. I had the opportunity to try it, but I had also bought a Spectra S2 because the reviews were great. I also liked the fact that it was a closed system, meaning that the milk wouldn’t get into the tubing. I did a lot of research before purchasing one because I was one of the unlucky ones and my insurance plan did not cover the cost. I found that the Spectra S2 was gentler, quieter and I got slightly more milk while using it.
Every woman’s body is unique. You may have better results with certain brands of pumps. Some women do better with hand pumps where others may need a hospital grade pump to get the job done. You may need to experiment. My body never responded that well to any pump which is why I needed to pump more often than a lot of the working moms I know. There are many options, so I recommend you do some research and compare features, but I highly recommend Spectra. Their customer service was great which was a bonus!
Having extra pump parts is definitely a time saver. You don’t want to have to wash pump parts every time. Especially if you are busy at work. Someone suggested it in a Facebook group I was in at the time and I wish I had thought of it sooner. I used one set of parts at work and then I had another set for home. Then at the end of each day, I’d wash all the parts so they were ready for the next day.
Another helpful tip I came across was to put the pump parts in the fridge between sessions so that bacteria wouldn’t grow. This way, you don’t have to wash the parts each time.
Having a good set of bottles is really important. You may have to experiment with this as well because this depends on what your baby will accept. Rosebud would accept any bottle, but some would make her gassy or the flow was too fast even with a slow flow nipple. I tried several different styles, but I settled on these amazing Comotomo bottles. Here’s what I loved about them.
- The bottle shape was the closest thing to the breast-feeding experience,
- The size one nipple flowed at the right speed,
- The bottles were easy to clean,
- they were made of a soft silicone,
- I never had a problem with leaking or the nipple caving in,
- I could easily tell how much milk was in the bottle. There are subtle tactile markings.
You’ll need a place to store the milk. A cooler is useful. especially if you have long car rides or if you don’t have access to a fridge where you work. I was lucky enough to have a fridge in the classroom and only had a short car ride, so the milk was always kept cool, but if your situation is less than ideal, a bottle cooler with an ice pack will help keep the milk at the right temperature.
Breast Milk Storage
Speaking of where to keep the milk, if you are creating a large freezer stash, you will need a storage solution. I recommend these storage bags. They never leaked and I could store them flat to save space in my freezer. You may also want to get these storage containers depending on your needs. I would need the bottles for pumping, so I’d use these containers for storage until I had enough to freeze. You can freeze the milk in these containers as well if that works better for you. They are stackable, so that’s another useful feature.
I know you’re a busy multitasking mama. In order to make the most of your pumping sessions, you may want to have your hands free. There are these hands free pumping bras that can make your life a whole lot easier. This is the one I ordered, but there are others. I’d suggest trying to find one that you can wear comfortably all day. Especially if you work full-time and have to pump multiple times. Look around and see what would work best for you.
I had this great water bottle from Target, but there are so many options out there. Just make sure it holds plenty of water because you’ll need to stay hydrated.
If you are breast-feeding, chances are you’re always hungry. It’s a great excuse to eat some of your favorite snacks. There are some healthy options that also increase milk supply. There are smoothies as well. You can either buy prepackaged snacks or mixes or make your own.
You may need something to relieve soarness or discomfort during pumping. There are medicated creams you can get from your doctor, but I found that coconut oil worked just as well. I liked it because it was a natural option. However, if you are in real pain, don’t be afraid to ask your doctor for the medicated cream. Especially in the beginning when the discomfort is at its worst.
The last item on my list is something just for you, but it has to be something that makes your experience more enjoyable. Find a way to take care of yourself. Pumping and breast-feeding takes so much time and effort. You are giving your baby a huge gift, so reward yourself. Here are some ideas to make your pumping sessions a little more relaxing.
- A favorite snack healthy or not,
- Watching a favorite show on ￼ Netflix,
- reading a book,
- Looking at pictures of your baby,
- Soothing music or sounds,
- Listening to your favorite songs or an inspiring podcast.
Did I miss anything? Tell me in the comments. For more tips and inspiration, be sure to like us on Facebook!