At some point during the course of breastfeeding your child, you may find yourself needing to pump for whatever reason. If you do, there are some things you’ll need (and want) to have. Here is a list of some handy things to look into on your pumping supply list:
1. Breast Pump – People pump for a variety of reasons, and depending on your reasons and your need, there are a variety of options for pumping. There are electric pumps, manual (hand) pumps, single-side pumps, double pumps, etc. You’ll want to determine the nature of your need when considering what kind to get. For rare, or occasional, pumping, you could get a manual or a cheap electric pump. If you plan to pump frequently, though, you may want to look into the high-quality options, like an electric double pump, for faster pumping of both breasts at the same time (like if you’re pumping on your lunch break at work, for example). Unless you’ve pre-planned to pump, there’s no need to rush out and buy one before you decide you need it, and even then, you still have the option to rent or buy. And there are pros and cons to both those options as well, depending on your own individual need.
2. Collection Bags and Bottles – If you’re pumping, you’ll need some freezer bags to store the milk. They do make freezer-safe bottles, as well, but for storage space and simplicity, the bags probably work better for most people. They also have freezing trays, or you could use an ice cube tray. Hint: Keep a watch on the portion size that you’re freezing and defrosting, lest you waste your supply reserve. If you freeze an 8 ounce bag, then you’ve got to thaw an 8 ounce bag, and Junior may still only be taking like 3-5 ounces at a time. If you freeze in smaller portions, you’ll waste less.
3. Transport Cooler – If you’re pumping away from home (like at work or on vacation or whatever), then you’ll need a cooler to store it in as you travel. You could, theoretically, throw it in the fridge in the break room, but depending on your commute time home, you’d probably still want a cooler.
4. Bottles and Nipples – If you’re pumping, then you’ll need some bottles. And nipples. And LIDS, or else those pre-filled bottles are eventually going to tip over in your bag and make a nice soggy mess. (And waste your milk.) It seems like there are as many different options for bottles and nipples are there are stars in the sky, but don’t freak out trying to choose between them. Some babies end up with a nipple preference for a certain size, or flow, or material (like latex versus silicone), but there’s no way to know that in advance, so just pick one and go from there. Maybe you’ll get lucky the first try. It happens.
5. Cleaning Supplies – This is your baby (and your boobs) we’re talking about, so we want to make sure everything is clean and sterile. Your pump will need to be cleaned after each pumping session (they have sterilizing wipes for that, in case you’re out and about). And for the bottles and brushes, even if you have a dishwasher (and one of those cool little tray thingies for the small pieces), you’ll still need a bottle/nipple cleaner brush to get those really clean in the tight spaces.
6. Pump Accessories – Did you know that they make car lighter adapters for electric breast pumps? Yup. If you plan on making a lengthy trip, that would be a handy little item to have. Also, you may want some extra shields, membranes, valves, etc. just to have on hand, in case you need it at 3 am.