You’re back at work – managing your routine

You have a new bag to carry back and forth. What should be in that bag besides the pump parts? Here’s a list of suggested items, and then we’ll go into troubleshooting.

  • Something to hold your hair back if pertinent
  • Extra breast pads for bra
  • Small towel or washcloth to catch drips when disengaging pump
  • Ziplock bag for pump parts after they’ve been used
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste (might as well multi-task if you’re by a sink)
  • *Enough storage containers and caps or bottles with nipple covers to get you through multiple pump sessions. Think through your production and number of sessions. 
  • Car adaptor and battery pack adaptor and extra batteries if you don’t have access to outlet or are in different locations daily
  • **Extra rubber gaskets for Medela pumps
  • Photo of your baby if it helps with milk let down
  • A sign with something like “baby food production in progress” to hang on the door knob if you are in a room that others may want to use. It prevents constant knocking or surprise entries.


*Sounds logical, but when you’re sleep deprived and running out the door, this is a detail you may overlook. I experienced it the day I pumped for the second time and didn’t have another cap for the full bottle I had so proudly produced. (I ended up pouring it into the ziplock bag and then stuffing it into the insulated cooler.)

**These little flexible plastic pieces are cheaper than stamps, but make the difference on whether or not you achieve suction.  One day, in a hurry as always, I turned on the pump but there was no suction. Full state of panic ensued due to full breasts, 5 minutes until giving a presentation and general failure of my workhorse. I hurriedly cancelled the meeting and ran out the door in search of the nearest pump (because it’s not like you can send your current one off to be repaired) and fate (or fear of the cost) steered me to a consignment store first, whereupon the kind owner and expert mom helped me troubleshoot before plunking down more cash. And joy of joys, it ended up being those little rubber gaskets had worn out, which cost all of $1 to replace. And here I was ready to throw several hundred dollars at the nearest new pump. So let that be a crisis that you can avoid. Local specialty boutiques carry these gaskets and you can also order them from your pump company. 

Time saving tips:

  • If possible, pack your pump parts in the evening so all you have to do in the morning is add the cooling element.
  • Pack the breast shields already attached to first series of bottles so all you have to do is attach tubes and plug in.
  • Schedule your pump times on your work calendar to minimize meetings scheduled (although it’s inevitable)
  • If it helps, add a daily recurring reminder to your calendar to take expressed milk out of work refrigerator before leaving the office.
  • If you share a space with other pumping moms, coordinate pumping schedules so you’re not stuck waiting (or you can pump together). 
  • If you don’t have access to a sink to rinse pump parts, put them in the cooler part of your bag. (Refrigerated milk isn’t going to grow bacteria, so it’s not unhygienic if you have to use them in a later pump session.)

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