Just when you had your new baby routine sorted, now you have to head back to work! Even knowing what to pack in your bag can be a bit overwhelming - the last thing you need is to be racing home at lunchtime because you’ve forgotten your breast pads. Being prepared and having everything you need will go a long way in helping you feel settled and in control during this transition.
We hope that this handy cheat sheet will ease your mental load a bit. Keep in mind that this is quite an extensive list - you may find that you never need a spare top (lucky!) or perhaps your kitchen at work is loaded with snacks (double lucky!). We have all bases covered so that you won’t have to second guess yourself. Below, we’ve compiled a list of everything you may need in your pumping bag when you return to work.
1. Your pump
You won’t want to forget this one. You may decide to purchase a second pump to keep at the office, or you might prefer to bring your usual pump along each shift. Some people may opt for a hands-free wearable pump that they can use at their desk while they work. However you do it, make sure you assemble the pump before you head to work - you don't want to miss a piece you really need!
2. Pump parts
Additional parts, such as extra bills or valves, may be useful in case something breaks or goes missing while you’re at work. Doomsday planning here!
Comfort items such as a pumping bra, breast pads and Milkdrop cushions can go a long way in helping you feel relaxed and settled.
4. Separate bags
Packing separate bags for both the clean and dirty pumping parts will help keep your pumping bag tidy and your washing organised.
Bring along at least a couple of bottles, but if you aren’t using breast milk storage bags you may like to pack extras for storing your milk in the fridge or freezer.
6. Cleaning supplies
Many people bring their pump home to be cleaned each evening but if you prefer to keep your pumping bag at work, be sure to include cleaning supplies to wash up with after use.
Pumping munchies are real! Be sure to include some nutritious and enjoyable snacks in your bag for when hunger strikes.
8. Spare top & breast pads
Returning to work is daunting enough without having to face a meeting with wet patches on your top. We hope you won’t need it, but it is always handy to pack a spare.
9. Water bottles
There is nothing worse than realising in the midst of a pumping session that you have no water nearby. Pack your favourite emotional support water bottle and keep it with you.
10. Ice packs
You may find having a small cooler lunch box or ice block useful for transporting your milk on the commute home.
11. A photo of your baby
Having a photo of your sweet little one may help with letdown on your pumping breaks ❤️
Now that your bag is packed, here are a few extra tips that may help to reduce that mental load from pumping at work.
⭐ Get a second set of pumping gear just for the office that you can leave there (so no more lugging pumps, tubing and other stuff back and forth).
⭐ Do a quick check that your pump works before you pack it in. This is just to check you haven't missed a valve or the suction membrane.
⭐ Go back to basics, especially if you're getting overwhelmed. You don't have to get it all right on day one! What are the basics?
- a pump that works with all its bits
- something to pump into that can be sealed and is big enough to store the amount you think you'll collect
Sometimes the bare minimum is great too!
Need some guidance on how to get the most milk out of your work pumping sessions? Check out our top tips on expressing more milk here ❤️