* This post contains affiliate links, but I do not recommend anything I haven’t tried and loved!
Twice now I have been able to call myself an exclusively pumping mom.
I pumped for three months for my first preemie, and six for my second preemie.
In some ways, it can be a blessing and in other ways a huge pain in the you know what!
Here are the items I recommend purchasing if you’ve found yourself in my shoes.
** Update-Bonus Must-Have! I came across an amazing course that would have been perfect for me when I was just starting out. Over at Milkology, they are offering a 90-minute course for just $19 that covers anything and everything related to exclusive pumping. This course is a must-have for moms planning to or unexpectedly find their self exclusive pumping. Check it out here!
1. Spectra Pump– My Spectra pump has currently logged over 400 hours and has yet to let me down. It gave me a comparable output to the Medela Symphony I used in the NICU. My doctor gave me a prescription and I was able to get one free through my insurance, but you can also get one from Amazon.
2. Simple Wishes Hands-Free Bra– This bra has increased not only my output but my productivity. The tight compression helps me to empty faster and more completely without the need for massaging while also letting me pump hands free. This allows me to pump while driving, eating, blogging, or even feeding the baby.
3. Pumpin Pals Flanges– These have changed my outlook on pumping long term. My output increased as did my comfort level. I’m able to sit back and relax and pump on a higher suction level without discomfort. I’ve heard they don’t work for everyone but they are fully refundable and are worth the try.
4. Car Outlet Adaptor– Being able to pump while driving has saved me a great about of time. I take advantage of long drives to power pump, when I know we’ll be out of the house for a while I’ll pump on my way to our destination to stretch out my time before next pump, and have even pumped in random empty parking lots when we are out for a full day. A car adaptor is essential in giving you the freedom of not being tied down to your couch.
5. Spare parts of everything- I don’t know how many times having spare parts on-hand have come in handy. For instance, I found my backflow protector stepped on and cracked today. I panicked until I realized I had an extra set. I would have been out of luck for a few days until a new one was shipped if it wasn’t for my stock of spare parts. Maymom is great for this.
6. Lansinoh Storage Bags– I’ve used a few different brands and these have quickly become my favorite. They are sturdy, hold quite a bit, and have yet to leak on me.
7. A lot of bottles- I pump 7 times a day which equates to 14, 4oz bottles, I then have larger storage bottles to keep fresh milk and then different bottles that he eats from. I have enough to get me through one day and then run the dishwasher every night. I rarely hand wash anything as that would quickly drive me mad. Other than his Dr. Browns bottles, everything else is cheap Walmart brand bottles.
8. A cooler with reusable ice packs- I use this daily for work and anytime we are leaving the house for an extended amount of time. Medela makes a nice one if you choose to go with their bottles.
9. A nice tote bag- I have yet to invest in a nice pumping bag, though I can’t say I haven’t thought about it. I currently use a Vera Bradley diaper bag. It works because it has many pockets which are nice but a Nurse Purse will absolutely be on my Christmas list.
10. Manual Pump– I can’t stress how important this is. I’ve had a few nights where the power went out and this was a life saver. It’s also great if you have a clog to go pump in a hot shower or dangle pump. It’s also great to keep in your diaper bag in case you end up being away from you electric pump longer than planned.
11. Nipple Cream– It’s inevitable that your nipples end up sore occasionally and this cream has been my favorite.
12. Coconut Oil– Coconut oil is great for lubricating the flanges to prevent rubbing and sore nipples. Just rub a little bit on the inside of the flange before starting.
13. Quart Sized Ziplock Bags– These are the perfect size for storing pump parts in the refrigerator between pumps. (Yes you can do this and just wash everything at the end of the day!)
14. A deep freezer. Hopefully, you’re one of the lucky moms that end up with a surplus of milk. In that case, a deep freezer is essential for safely storing your extra milk without taking up precious freezer space. I bought small plastic tubs to organize my milk by date in the deep freezer. We got one free from my dad but you can find small ones fairly cheap or check out your Facebook marketplace!
15. Supportive Husband- Last but not least a supportive husband is essential for success at exclusive pumping. He gets up to feed the baby at night while I pump so we can both get back to bed quickly and also helps a lot in the evening. He never makes me feel bad for sticking to my pump schedule and leaving events early. I would have never made it these last four months without him.