No matter if you’re breastfeeding, exclusively pumping or a combination of both, breastfeeding a baby is exhausting work!
I say work because I exclusively pump and know how exhausting it is to…
- Maintain a consistent pumping schedule
- Keep your milk supply up
- Wash pumping parts
- Pump while managing children and a household
As a mama who exclusively pumps I’ve purchased some of the best products to help make my breastfeeding journey easier.
Here is everything you need for exclusively pumping and pumping must haves to keep around!
Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you click on them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.
Pumping Must Haves
A Double Pump
Of course you can’t exclusively pump without a breast pump!
With my first child I made of the mistake of buying a single breast pump.
Now with my second child, I splurged and spend the extra money on a double pump.
Yes, a quality double pump is much more expensive than a single pump, but I promise it’s worth every penny!
Not only does a double pump save on the amount of time you will spend pumping, it is also more efficient in removing milk from the breasts.
In a 2012 study, mothers milk flow rate was measured over a day of 15 minute double pump sessions and a day of 15 minute single pump sessions.
The results showed double pumping not only produced more milk volume in a shorter time, but it removed more fatty milk from the breast.
This resulted in a higher fat and calorie content and double pumping proved to be more efficient in emptying the breasts compared to single pumping.
The double breast pump I have is the Medela Pump in Style Advanced.
This pump is extremely powerful and hasn’t let me down yet.
The Medela pump even comes with a battery pack so you can pump anywhere.
I normally use the battery pack in the car (don’t worry I wasn’t driving).
For me, the best thing about this double pump is that you do have the option to single pump as well.
I single pump a breast at a time when I need to message one side extra well because of clogged ducts.
Hands-Free Pumping Bra
This little invention is probably the best product ever when it comes to exclusively pumping and pumping must haves!
When I first began to pump I didn’t have one and it really limited the amount of things I could do.
Now with a hands-free pumping bra I can…
- -Feed my baby while pumping
- -Work on my laptop
- -Message my breasts to increase milk flow
- As you can see the possibility of going hands-free while exclusively pumping are endless.
Related Articles: 10 Causes Of Low Milk Supply & How To Fix It
Milk storage bags are a must when it comes to pumping must haves.
Breast milk only lasts up to five days in the fridge.
But if you use a double pump with a consistent schedule, you’ll find your milk supply will meet the needs of your growing baby.
Or if you’re like me, I’m an over supplier and the number one thing I’m constantly buying is storage bags.
Since I have an oversupply of breast milk that ranges between 40 and 50 ounces a day, I freeze a lot of breast milk! Freshly expressed milk can be frozen for up to 12 months.
That’s not possible without breast milk storage bags!
I’ve tried a couple different brands and (honestly) it doesn’t really matter what brand you use, but I do like to use Lansinoh storage bags.
I prefer Lansinoh milk storage bags because I’ve used other brands that are hard to open or cannot stand upright with liquid in them (resulting in nasty spills).
I had no idea what I was missing before I discovered a lactation massager.
If you’ve don’t know what a lactation massager is, it’s basically a massager used to stimulate increased milk flow in the breasts for breastfeeding or pumping.
However, I purchased it to use for helping unblock clogged ducts.
While an oversupply of breast milk is a blessing, there are some downfalls that include reoccurring clogged milk ducts, engorgement and possible mastitis if they are not taken care of.
Because of this, my lactation massager has been a game change for me when it comes to exclusively pumping and pumping must haves!
Honestly, the amount of clogged ducts has decreased since using a massager.
Here’s the lactation massager I purchased and absolutely love.
There are other’s lactation massagers different from the one I have. It all depends on what you’re looking for.
It doesn’t matter of you have your baby on your breast or are pumping to remove milk, your nipples tend to become sore after a while.
With my oversupply I pump so much in a day that my nipples begin to crack.
I haven’t experienced any bleeding, but it definitely is painful when they get to the point of cracking.
Although I have my pump turned down on the low side, when I’m producing over 45+ ounces a day my nipples become very sore.
During these high producing days, I’m applying nipple cream like crazy! In fact, I’m applying nipple cream before and after pumping.
So what kind of nipple cream is the best?
Well that all depends on different issues like how sore your nipples are and the ingredients you prefer. Many mothers are against using lanolin.
But lanolin is an effective option for healing very sore and raw feeling nipples.
However, lanolin is unsafe to use for mothers who have a wool allergy.
If you’re allergic to wool, you need to find a lanolin-free nipple cream option.
In my pumping bag I have a couple different nipple creams.
I don’t just stick to one because I’ve found certain brands of nipple cream provide different relief depending on the severity.
I like to use a lanolin nipple cream when my nipples are red and cracked.
But for before and after pumping I use a natural nipple cream for lubrication.
Here’s a list of nipple creams I like to use:
Accidents happen! Leaks are a common issue with exclusively pumping or breastfeeding.
Once your milk supply becomes regulated, you will experience less leaking.
Hopefully, after regulation and your body is no longer fueling milk supply do to hormones, you won’t leak every time your milk comes in.
Nursing pads are a must have for exclusively pumping mamas! They keep you from changing too many shirts and from embarrassing shirt soakings when you’re out in public.
If your nipples are extra tender and sore, I’ve found that disposable nursing pads may irritate them more.
But that’s just my personal experience. I still have disposables and use them when my nipples are not sore, but I also use cloth nursing pads as well.
One other option that’s not a nursing pad is a breast shell that catches breast milk.
This is perfect for mama’s who…
- Have just started breastfeeding/pumping (that’s when the most leaks occur)
- Have tendency to become engorged quickly
- Leak often
- Are unable to pump for longer period’s of time (the longer you go without pumping the more leaks you’ll experience)
Not only do the breast shells catch excess milk that leaks out, it’s also less irritating on the nipples when breasts become engorged.
Related Articles: The Toxic Dangers In Tampons And Pads
Gel Nursing Pads
Although these are technically nursing pads and I should have listed them above… The gel nursing pads from Lansinoh are INCREDIBLE!
I use the Lansinoh gel nursing pads when my nipples are especially cracked and sore. They provide soothing relief for up to 72 hours.
I make sure to wear the gel pads fully for 72 hours day and night to maximize the gel pads and healing time in between pumpings.
These can also be popped in the fridge to provide a cooling sensation to relieve pain and they also prevent leaks.
After the 72 hours of use I noticed a remarkable difference.
The pain is lessened and the nipples are no longer cracked making pumping less painful.
If you’re experiencing very sore and cracked nipples, these gel pads are what you need!
One of the biggest reasons for nipple irritation and soreness is rubbing from the inside of the flange.
To alleviate this issue, you have a couple options. One, you can pump dry. Meaning your no nipple cream or lubricant on your nipples during pumping.
Two, you can take a small amount of coconut oil and rub along the inside of the flange to reduce friction and rubbing.
Three, you can get CoBoo Spray Lubricant! This is by far the easiest when it comes to convenience and ease of use.
All you do is simply spray the inside of the flange and I promise it’s one of the best pumping must haves for relieving nipple pain.
When your on-the-go it’s nearly impossible to wash pumping parts properly.
Especially, if you’re an exclusively pumping working mama!
Well, with the Medela Quick Clean Wipes you don’t have to worry about that!
These easy and quick wipes eliminate bacteria and clean when you can’t get to a sink.
If you are able to properly clean your pumping parts, Medela also makes a breast milk removal soap that no scrub. I repeat… NO SCRUB!
One of the most annoying things about washing pumping parts when exclusively pumping is scrubbing minuscule areas.
Honestly, I never knew there was a breast milk removal soap before doing the research for this article.
But now I have it sitting in my Amazon cart ready for purchase because I need this soap in my life!
Final Thoughts For Exclusively Pumping Must Haves
Exclusively pumping is tough work! Sometimes I think it would just be easier to put my baby to my breast.
Of course, sometimes (especially in the middle of the night) I just have my son suckle on my nipple instead for him to nod back to sleep.
While bringing your baby to the breast would be easier, you’re still providing essential nutrients to your baby by exclusively pumping. You go mama!
The way I look at it… If you’re supplying breastmilk for your baby, you are breastfeeding.
To make your breast pumping life a little easier, try some of the above pumping must haves!