I always knew I wanted to breastfeed. I had realistic expectations, but I wanted to try. And as magical as it truly is to breastfeed, it’s hard being the only one who can feed your baby. Thankfully, breast pumps were invented! So now, breastfeeding moms can also be pumping moms. But what will you need if you want to pump?
It honestly doesn’t have to be super expensive. Some of these products will apply to you, some won’t. You can definitely pick and choose what will work for you, and I really hope this post helps you decide what you’ll need and what you can skip.
Let’s get started!
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A Quality Breast Pump
Okay, hopefully this is obvious! I personally used a Spectra and really liked it. But it was the only pump I ever used so I honestly can’t compare it to anything else.
I’m hoping with my next child I can try another pump so I have another point of reference.
If you have insurance, make sure you get a free breast pump! My $200+ Spectra was 100% free! There are companies that will do all the legwork for you and send you your free pump! All I had to do was call my insurance company and ask about a breast pump. They referred me to the two companies I could use.
Here are a few, but you should call your insurance company first to see which ones they support:
If you don’t have insurance, I feel you. I was uninsured for the beginning of my pregnancy. You can find used breast pumps in online marketplaces, or in local Facebook groups. If that sketches you out (every part can be thoroughly cleaned, I promise), you can get new ones online as well, but they will range in price.
A Pumping Bra
Okay, I honestly kind of thought this was a frivolous purchase. I mean, how hard can it be to hold a suction cup to your boob?
I quickly realized how annoying it is to hold those things tight to your chest. But I decided to just buy a cheap, clearanced sports bra and cut it. Seriously, Pinterest made me try it.
Well, my cutting was a bit off, and it wasn’t as tight as it needed to be. So, the pump ended up coming off every few minutes. Um, not convenient. #pinterestfail
Luckily, I got to try a pumping bra by Simple Wishes and holy crap! It makes pumping so much easier! I genuinely wish I had this bra from the start. I think I would’ve pumped way more often.
It is adjustable so that you can get a perfect fit. That means the flanges don’t slip and slide and break the suction. It’s super easy to put on and use. I don’t pump as often as I used to (usually just if I know I’ll be away from my son) but I am so happy to have this bra and I’ll be using it with my next child too, whenever that happens!
You won’t regret this purchase, I swear. I got the Signature Hands-Free Pumping Bra in Black, but they have a few other options, as well. Their bras are seriously the best around!
There are a few things I really love about this bra. First of all, it fits really well, and is adjustable so that as your breasts change, you can still wear it. This is awesome, but it also helps with compression. I found that I didn’t have to pump as long to get the same amount of milk. And I think it’s because this bra is pushing on my boobies.
Second of all, you get your hands back! I can’t even imagine pumping full-time without a pumping bra. You can eat, read a book, browse social media, whatever. Love it!
These bras are super high quality. They offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you really have nothing to lose by trying them out.
And they are a family company. There are nine siblings in their family, and six of them have worked on Simple Wishes. I love that!
Extra Pump Parts
You should be able to order parts for your pump from the manufacturer or even Amazon. Trust me, this will come in handy!
Parts break from general wear and tear, or somehow get lost (don’t ask me how but it’s happened to me). Also, sometimes they’re just dirty and you don’t feel like washing them. No shame there, momma!
So grab yourself some extra parts and save yourself from scrambling around without all your pump parts!
Did you know that you can store your pump parts in the fridge throughout the day? It’s true!
Rather than wash them a hundred times a day, just chuck them in a bag and put it in the fridge. Then wash everything at the end of the day. You might want to bulk-order your bags, especially if you’re exclusively pumping.
This will be a must-have for some of you, and a total waste of money for others. So how do you know?
For us, it was pure anxiety and paranoia. Even though our dishwasher has a sanitize cycle, we bought a sterilizer because we knew we’d be too paranoid that it wouldn’t get properly cleaned. My husband also usually hand washed everything and then put it in the sterilizer. I didn’t do that. My anxiety wasn’t that bad.
So if you’re an anxious person or worried at all, just get one.
For other people, it’s a matter of convenience and time. A sterilizer cycle takes a matter of minutes, whereas a dishwasher takes forever. So, although you can save your parts in the fridge during the day, you may want to sterilize them before bed so you know they’ll be ready when you wake up to pump.
Or if you don’t run the dishwasher every night, it may be a good choice. Also, if you ignored my advice about spare parts (shame on you), you should probably get one so that they’re clean when you need them.
Also, the parts are small. So if you plan on sticking with a dishwasher, make sure you get a little parts container so they don’t get lost or damaged. Plus, you can continue to use it for sippee cup parts and utensils, so you’ll get tons of use out of it!
We have a Parent’s Choice one and it’s easily the best cheap purchase we’ve made!
Breast Milk Storage Bags
I use and love the Kiinde system. Their whole system is just really easy for me. And they’re compatible with so many pumps!
Whatever brand you decide to go with, make sure you’ve got plenty. Or create a system to remind yourself when it’s time to reorder. You definitely don’t want to run out!
Have you heard of these before? Game. Changer.
You just slip this thing into your bra while you nurse the baby or pump from the other side. It will collect any of the leakage that would normally just go to waste in your pads. Genius! Obviously not worth it if you pump both sides at the same time. But since I only pumped part time, these were awesome.
And it’s super easy to just pour into a bottle or bag with the rest of your milk. If you have a strong let-down, this will be amazing for you!
Speaking of a strong letdown… I once told some ladies that my boobs could win an Olympic medal for shooting milk the farthest. It’s true. My letdown is crazy.
I have to wear pads at all times! I’m still nursing and my son is 2, and I still wear them just in case. Because my boobs coulde\ still win that Olympic medal.
Personally, I love my washable pads, They have saved me a ton of money, and they’re just so easy. I hated the disposable ones that I had to try to stick in my bra.
However, when you’re a new mom, I think it’s super useful to have a pack of disposable ones on hand. There were so many times that my pads were dirty and I was too lazy to do laundry, so having a few disposables was great.
I also kept some by the side of the bed because I’d often leak through my pad, bra, and shirt in the middle of the night. Yay. So, instead of searching for a new one, I’d pop a disposable in for the time being.
Non-Essentials for Me
I never exclusively pumped. I’ve just breastfed and pumped on the side. So if you’re a full-time pumping mommy, here are a few things you might want. But if you just pump at home, these probably won’t be necessary.
An Insulated Pumping Bag
If you need to take your pump with you, either to work or just out and about, you definitely need a pumping bag. You’ll want a big enough bag to carry your pump, parts, and essentials. It’s up to you if you’d like to use it as a diaper bag or purse as well. So keep in mind everything you’re going to use it for.
A Car Adaptor
This way, you can pump (with your pumping bra) while you drive. On your daily commute, on a long drive, or if your partner is driving, you can pump in the passenger seat. Or, if you’re out and about with nowhere to pump (it totally happens) then the car might be your only option.
However, you could also just buy a power inverter. Then you can use it for multiple things, not just your pump. But, then you have to lug the cord for your pump around. So, you’ll have to decide!
A Manual Hand Pump
I’ve heard a lot of moms swear upon the merit of owning a manual pump. If the power goes out and you need to pump, it could come in handy.
Also, it would be convenient to take into the shower with you if you have a clogged duct. But for me, using my hands worked well. I think for a clogged duct, I’d probably prefer using my hands, simply because I can massage the duct that way.
But manual pumps are fairly cheap, so it could be worth it to have just in case.
What is on your must-have list? Did I get everything? Did I leave something off? Let me know in the comments.