Pregnancy - Breast milk
Author: TLN

How to Pack the Perfect Breast Pump Bag

Updated June 2020

Here are our top #momhacks for what to pack in your breast pump bag

A perfectly packed breast pump bag can’t magically give you longer uninterrupted pumping breaks or sterilize your gear for you. But streamlining the process as much as possible can seriously simplify your day. More time and less stress? Sign us up! From finding the best breast pump bag for you to figuring out how to prep for breast pumping sessions at work, we know that new-mom life isn’t easy. That’s why we’ve put together our favorite tips on how to pack a breast pump bag to help set you up for success. 

Must-Haves for Any Breast Pump Bag

First of all, let’s make sure you have everything you need for a successful pumping session. Here’s a list of items to check off as you pack a pump bag: 

  • Your breast pump, including the power cord (if needed): You might think we’re joking, but you can’t pump without your breast pump! If you still need one, check out our favorite insurance-covered breast pumps and then choose the best breast pump for you.
  • Breast pump parts: Make sure to pack tubing, two flanges, connectors, membranes and all those other pieces that make your breast pump work.
  • Breast milk storage bags or bottles: That milk has to go somewhere after you pump it, so you can pour, store and transport. Another option is to pump directly into bottles and twist on the cap. Either way, be sure to store expressed milk in a cooler bag or the refrigerator.
  • Pumping bra: Hands-free is the way to be. Don’t let pumping keep you away from answering emails, tending to your baby, stuffing your face with a much-needed snack or catching up on social media. 
  • Water bottle: Gotta stay hydrated to keep that milk flowing.
  • A picture of your baby: Hello, letdown!
  • Snacks: Because breastfeeding moms don’t need to be hangry while pumping. Plus, breastfeeding burns an extra 200 to 500 calories per day, so keeping up nutrition is key to delivering healthy nourishment to your baby!

Once you have the essential breastfeeding supplies, here’s what you’ll need to think about when prepping for on-the-go pumping. 

If you’re fumbling for the right parts…

Do this: A pumping mom’s favorite organizational item? Ziploc® bags. Use them to store those tiny pieces, back-up parts and even breastmilk in a pinch (our pro advice: double-bag that liquid gold or track down an unopened water bottle, dump the H2O and use a flange to funnel the milk in). Or buy a couple of wet bags—one for each set of parts—so you can just grab and get pumping. Looking for some breast milk storage tips? Check out our tips on how to pump enough milk to store.

If you’re worried your pumping space isn’t clean enough…

Do this: In an ideal world, we’d all pump in a dedicated mother’s room or in the comfort of our own homes, but that’s not always possible. Stash a pack of disinfectant wipes in your bag and wipe down the countertop or table before pumping. Layout a small, clean hand towel to place parts on as you assemble, disassemble and clean them—and cut the chances of anything rolling away or getting left behind. These items also come in handy for wiping any drips and drops while packing up post-pumping.

If you’re cleaning your parts all. the. time…

Do this: Sure, it’s a best practice to clean your parts after every session. Here’s a realistic take: Toss the parts in a self-sealing plastic bag or wet bag and place them in the fridge between sessions to prevent yucky bacteria growth. Alternatively, disassemble the parts, rinse them in water—or wipe with quick-clean pump wipes—and then clean everything more thoroughly at the end of the day. Use an extra set of parts for your next session (we can help set you up with back-up accessories at no cost!).

If you can’t find time to sterilize…

Do this: Who’s got time to wait for water to boil? Microwaveable steam bags will disinfect your parts in three minutes flat (hint: you can also use the bags to store and organize your parts!). Or if your breast pump parts are dishwasher safe, toss them in the dishwasher on the sanitize setting. No extra equipment required!

If you’re forgetting or losing pump parts…

Do this: Repeat after us—always have a back-up set on hand. But in case you don’t (because life), make sure you order backup accessories from The Lactation Network. We can bill your insurance for extra parts throughout the duration of your nursing journey. But just in case you are really in a pinch, keep a manual pump on hand. If you have a battery-operated pump, make sure to have a back-up battery charger for those times when you don’t have an outlet handy (airplane seat, anyone?).

If you’re juggling too many bags…

Do this: Consolidate all your pumping must-haves into one large tote: pump, self-sealing plastic bag of parts, breast milk storage bags or the screw-tops to your pump bottles, cooler bag with ice packs (we love the PackIt!®), wipes, pumping bra. While it might seem bulky, it will only require one shoulder to carry and you know you’ll have everything you need.

Now that you’re armed with next-level tips and tricks, you can simplify your pump bag and streamline your routine. But the single most important piece of all this? Making sure you have the right breast pump for you. Thankfully, The Lactation Network is here to help you find the perfect breast pump for your lifestyle and needs