12 Stress Reducing Items To Keep In Your Pumping Bag

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Where have you done it? In a car, at the office, quietly in the middle of the night while your baby is sleeping? Pumping that is.

If you’re a breastfeeding mama reading this article there’s a good chance you’re either pumping or planning to pump. That means you need a pumping bag!

You know what else? You probably have a case of mom brain. Packing your pumping bag can be another task of many, but it doesn’t have to be stressful!

Pumpin’ Aint’ Easy…but it can be

I used to just try to pack my pumping bag from memory, but I’m sure we know how that turned out. Missing pump parts, expressed milk with no milk bags or bottles.

Of course it’s always away from home with full boobs and limited time …you can imagine the frustration. Shoot, there were so many times when I would have some items in my purse, some in the car and other items in my son’s diaper bag.

I started to associate pumping with being an inconvenience that was taking up so much of my time. It wasn’t that inconvenient, I was just unorganized.

Let’s avoid that for you! Once I got organized, pumping just became another part of my day. Even at work, which you can read about HERE. I’m going to show you the most convenient items you need for your pumping bag and where you can get them.

I also put together a free checklist for you so that whole mom brain situation can take a rest and you can pump with less stress. Decreasing as much stress as possible will help increase your milk production soooo here we go! I got you mama, you can do this!

Obvious Pump bag items

The bag. My pumping bag is loud lol. Like I said, my mom brain kicked into high gear when I went back to work. I kept forgetting my pumping bag, so I needed something bright to be easily found. I also didn’t want to get it confused with another bag.

The last thing you want to do is bring the wrong bag to work and be without your pump. You don’t need a bright bag like me, just something with enough room for accessories and the items listed below.

The pump. This goes without saying, but I’m going to put it anyway so that you get an idea of the bag size you will need. Pumps come in various shapes and sizes, so the right fit and weight matters.

12 Stress Free Pumping bag items

1. Hands free pumping bra

This is a game changer. I got my hands on a high quality pumping bra and never had to purchase another one. It came in handy for extended daily pumping for over 16 months. I found it sturdy, easy to use with different pump flanges and simple to clean. You can just throw it in the washer when you do laundry and you’re good to go! Having my hands available really gave me the freedom to work, browse my phone, hold my baby, etc. Plus I could just relax if I wanted to.

2. Medela steam bags

These are great and inexpensive. They provide a nice steam cleaning for your bottles and pump parts. You really get more bang for your buck here because you can use one bag multiple times. There’s even a handy little tracking section on each bag so you can keep up with how many times you’ve used it.

3. Soap to wash bottles

There are some handy soaps out there for when you need some cleaner on the go. You can also use some quick wipes if you want to quickly remove the milk residue and wash later.

I wish I would have done this more. It’s much better to clean as you go with pumping items. Milk residue build up is the worst! Here’s a mom hack for ya : Put your bottles in the fridge or cooler so you don’t have to wash them after each use. That gets tedious and takes time especially if you have to get back to work.

4. Bottle cleaning brushes

I tried avoiding this one, but I just got too annoyed without them. Bottle brushes can get into those hard to reach spots in bottles and pump parts. Just another cleaning hack for you to reduce stress and get you on your way.

5. Nursing Cover

Pack a cover just in case. I don’t like the feeling of being exposed at work plus you never know if someone may walk in by mistake. The doors lock but mistakes happen. I could have a mom brain moment and forget to lock the door. At the end of this article I will show you how to access a free pumping sign you can hang on your door to ward off unwanted visitors.

6. Milk Bags

This may sound like an obvious pumping bag need, but you would be surprised how often it gets overlooked. Some moms like to store their expressed milk in bottles. If that’s you, then I would suggest packing a few extra bottles.

There are so many options here and you can even pump directly into the bag in some cases. I decided on milk bags for easier storage later on. Instead of having a bunch of full bottles that I would then have to transfer into bags later. I freeze milk for my parents and husband so bags that were already measured out by serving size was way easier for me.

7. Batteries

I can’t speak for all pumps, but mine had a battery pack option. This came in handy if I needed to complete chores or if the place where I needed to pump did not have an outlet.  

8. Ink Pen

I used this to label the milk. When I first started pumping I would keep it in the fridge for a few days and then organize and label the loot and then freeze it. That got old real quick. I found the best, most organized system for me was to go ahead and transfer the milk into the bags by serving size and label the amount and date. Done and done!

9. Insulated Cooler

This is a nice bonus, but not necessary if you will have access to refrigeration or a separate cooler. Some pumping bags are equipped with insulation for this purpose so it’s nice if you can find those.

10. Magazine

If you want to work through it like I did you can. Remember we want to keep stress at bay to encourage milk flow. Mama, your body is feeding a human, so if you wanna take a break you can do that! Enjoy any magazine that lets you take a breather and stop focusing on the task at hand for a while.

11. Baby’s items

That’s recommended to help the milk flow for moms that are having trouble producing when away from their baby. This milk flow is called the let-down reflex. Oxytocin is a hormone released during this reflex and can be activated as you think about your baby.

Add your baby’s burp cloth too. One of your baby’s burp cloths is great for easy clean up and it reminds you of your baby. We will talk later on about how that helps with your milk flow!

12. White Noise Machine

Totally optional, but so important for some mamas. This can take you out of the frame of mind of a stressful environment. Decreased stress significantly helps to establish a successful let-down reflex. If you don’t want the machine, you could always YouTube some relaxing sounds or download a free app!

Extra, Extra!

Other bonus items you may find useful in reducing pump stress are backup pump parts, a battery pack and a car adapter. Spare parts in case something breaks are always good.

My hubby always has a backup for everything and there’s been times I’ve definitely had to use them. I hope this breakdown helps you to organize your pumping bag. If you need to pump, you may as well make it as efficient and painless as possible.

My goal for you is that pumping just becomes another part of your day and not something that you grow to resent because you find it to be a hassle. It doesn’t have to be!

Do you include different items in your pumping bag from the ones I listed? 

Share this post and help other mamas like you!

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Do you know of a mom in need or a mom stressing about pumping? These items would make a thoughtful care package to reduce stress and get her started!

Thanks for hanging out with me!


Take the stress out of pumping by packing a pumping bag with these 12 must have items. I got tired of trying to pack my pumping bag from memory. Of course that’s when mom brain kicks it up a notch and you forget the key items you need the most like milk bags! Included is a free printable of this list to help with that mom brain and reduce stress. My favorite is tip #12 because it’s backed by research and a simple hack that working moms use to keep up milk production.


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