The ultimate list of all you need for expressing breast milk
Congratulations on your decision to continue breastfeeding your baby for longer. Expressing breast milk is a momentous task. Below is a list the must-have items that you will need, as well as some nice-to-haves to make things easier for you.
You can also book a Breast Pump Demo slot with one of our lactation consultants if you need more assistance in choosing a pump and in expressing milk.
|ITEM||WHAT WILL YOU USE IT FOR|
|Breast pump||Your breast pump will play a crucial role in your expressing success. Read our guidelines on how to choose a breast pump.|
|A bag for all your stuff||You will need to commute with your pump and all it’s parts. Ideally your bag should have a cooler compartment with ice packs to keep your breastmilk cold.|
|Cold storage||Ideally you would like to have access to a refrigerator, but workplace fridges are usually shared and you may not feel comfortable storing milk. You can put your pump parts and milk inside a plastic container in the fridge (if anyone peeks in anyone else’s container they deserve to see what they see). |
Alternatively you can use a good quality cooler box with ice packs.
|A way to wash and sterilize parts||Being able to wash and sterilize parts at work would make things easier for you. |
Option 1: Keep a 5 liter container with a bottle brush and some dishwashing liquid at the office. This way you can put your pumps in water immediately after expressing, and can wash it inside the container using any sink (you may not want to use the shared kitchen sink which can get quite icky; sometimes you may only have a bathroom sink available).
Option 2: If you cannot wash parts at work, simply put them in your refrigerator container or cooler box and wash and sterilize when you get home (this as nothing will grow in your containers in a few hours’ time if they are kept cold).
If you do need to sterilize at the office, try BabyWombWorld’s Steam Sterilizer which is compact and easy to use. You can also use microwave sterilizing bags.
|A waterproof bag||This you will need if you are planning to take used parts home to wash and sterilize. Think about the environment and try not to use plastic bags that you constantly dispose of.|
|Spare parts||Extra breast pump parts will make your life a lot easier as you will need to wash and sterilize less often. You can even leave one set at the office and one at home (note: then you would need a sterilizer of sorts at the office as well). |
Remember to inspect your valves daily, as they may fail to seal properly after some period of use, which will influence your suction and milk volumes. Replace valves every 3 months.
|Storage containers||Option 1: Breast milk storage bottles like BabyWombWorld’s 125ml storage containers, or Spectra’s milk storage bottles. It is handy if the storage bottle fits onto your pump, but you can also just express in the pump’s bottle and pour milk into a storage container of your choice. |
Option 2: Breast milk bags; on the positive side these save a lot space in your fridge, and can defrost much faster than a storage bottle. On the negative side they are not reusable and you do generate plastic waste, so remember to recycle. Try Spectra’s Breast Milk Storage Bags.
|A way of marking containers||By marking it immediately after expressing you can just pop it in the fridge when you get home.|
For storage bags: keep a thin-tip permanent marker.
For storage bottles: Write on some labels or masking tape (which pulls of easily) and stick it onto the bottle.
|A handsfree bra||This really is a must-have for expressing at work, as it will enable you to still have a bite to eat, or scroll on your phone. BabyWombWorld’s Pumping Bra’s are comfortable and effective, as well as reasonably priced. Alternatively you can make your own by cutting some openings into a sports bra.|
|A nursing cover||If you do not have full privacy (for example in an office where someone might burst in), using a nursing cover may make you feel more comfortable. It has the added benefit of preventing you from sitting and staring at the bottle to see how much milk is coming out, which leads to anxiety and actually inhibits your let-down reflex.|
|Sanitizer or antiseptic wipes||You want to handle your breast pump parts with clean hands to prevention contamination of your milk. Thanks to the Covid19 pandemic these are now easy-to-find items!|
|Ready-to-eat snacks||You will often express in a short break time at work, or in-between caring for baby at home. Try to plan snacks and lunches that you can eat with one hand, and that are prepared in advance so that you don’t have to waste time on heating and preparing food.|
|A water bottle||As you will know one often gets thirsty while expressing or breastfeeding.|
|Warmth for your breasts||Many moms find that they express more milk when applying heat to their breasts. A small wheat bag that you heat in the microwave works well. You can also use a warm cloth.|
|Relaxation tools||One of that biggest challenges of expressing is to generate a let-down reflex, which your body will struggle to do if you are stressed and preoccupied. This is especially true if you are expressing at work in a short period of time. The following may help: |
1. Earphones to listen to relaxing music
2. Read a book – and using an app like Kindle on your phone will make this much easier as you can hold it with one hand, which you cannot do with a real book or magazine.
3. Look at You Tube videos (anything that makes you laugh will help your hormones).
|Some small rewards||Expressing is hard work, so give yourself some rewards – a cappuccino bag, a small treat (I want to say healthy but come on!), a new book Kindle book.|
|An extra charger||With how busy you are as a mom you are bound to somewhere forget to charge your pump, or misplace your charger. And without power your pump will be useless.|
|A hand pump||I put this item at the bottom of the list, as it is not something you should necessarily purchase. But if you have a hand-pump lying around, keep it in the drawer at the office in case your electric pump stops working. Alternatively, make sure that you know how to hand-express, so that you are not left with full breasts and no way to get out milk.|
We hope this helps! Happy expressing, and do feel free to contact us should experience any difficulties.