I didn’t set out to exclusively pump, I had hoped to breastfeed and only pump while my son was at daycare. Life had a different plan when after a month at daycare he was too sick and stuffed up to eat from my nipple and would only take a bottle. I’ve been exclusively pumping for about 4 months and feel like I have a good rhythm now.
Whether you are exclusively pumping due to breastfeeding difficulties, returning to work, or personal preference, having the right equipment can make all the difference. Here are some of the essential items you should consider:
- A reliable breast pump: A high-quality breast pump is essential for exclusive pumping. I strongly recommend a double electric hospital-grade pump. My favorite is the Spectra S1 (the blue one) because it is reliably strong, has a great battery life and has worked far better for me than my Medela pumps or Willow pump.
- A hands-free pump: You won’t always be home and you will probably need to multi-task while pumping and a hands-free pump will help with this. It can be hard to keep up with a pumping schedule when you’re taking care of a newborn and having a hands-free pump will help.
- Pumping/nursing bra: You need to have a pumping bra or use a nursing bra criss-cross around the pump flanges to hold the pump in place. Otherwise you need to hold the flanges on your chest the whole time which is very impractical.
- Bottles and storage bags: I like to use this glass pitcher to do the “pitcher method”, and I use Medela freezer bags to store milk in the freezer. I just recently ordered a freeze it flat to make sure the freezer bags freeze perfectly flat, and I like it but it’s not necessary.
- Nipple cream: Exclusive pumping can take a toll on your nipples, so it’s important to have a good quality nipple cream on hand to soothe and heal any soreness or cracking.
- Bottle brush: A bottle brush is useful for cleaning your bottles and pump parts. Make sure to choose a brush with soft bristles that won’t scratch your bottles. I use Dr Brown’s bottles so I got their bottle brush and it is fine.
- Cooler bag: If you plan on pumping away from home, a cooler bag is essential for keeping your breast milk cool and safe. Look for a bag with insulation and a freezer pack for maximum cooling.
- Water bottle and snacks: I like the Simple Modern 40oz cup and go through it a couple times a day. I also keep a variety of snack bars on hand and in my purse at all times because breastfeeding can make you very hungry.
I have tried a few different pumps, and I really would only recommend the Spectra S1 so far. I used the Medela Swing Maxi and am on my 4th warranty replacement because it has died and malfunctioned so many times. When I was waiting for the warranty replacements, I used a Medela Pump in Style which is fine. It is not a battery pump so I was stuck next to an outlet which is inconvenient. I also ordered the Willow Go which works well enough. The Willow Go works for when I need to go to the grocery store, but it’s not strong enough to be the main pump.
Being an exclusive pumping mom can be a challenging but rewarding journey. With the right equipment and support, you can make the process smoother and more efficient. Invest in high-quality equipment and take care of yourself to make the experience as positive as possible.