As a third time mom, this was my first time actually packing pump supplies for the hospital stay to have my baby!
With my first baby, I assumed all would go well and I wouldn't even need a pump. *buzzer sound* wrong!
She ended up staying latched for about 3 hours at one point, and the nurse told me "I must not have enough milk" and brought us some bottles of formula. I was heartbroken, I was only able to breastfeed her for a few days before everyone's horrible advice ruined everything for us. Every single piece of advice I received from medical professionals and family members was WRONG.
I had learned enough by my second baby (or so I thought!) to be prepared again. Something wasn't right, and I was never able to get her to latch. I exclusively pumped for her for 14 months until I got pregnant with my third baby and dried up. She went 6 months without milk until I was able to have the baby and start pumping to continue to provide for her, she's recently turned two and I still provide milk for her and the new baby.
For context, that first 'failed journey' is why I do what I do. To help moms like me find the correct information to start off on the right foot with breastfeeding.
Despite everything working out okay for my second with exclusive pumping, I decided at the last minute that I wanted to try nursing this baby just to see if I could, and because I've learned so much and even become certified as a breastfeeding specialist. By the way- pumping IS still breastfeeding!
I was ready and determined to exclusively pump again when I had him, but at the very last minute changed my mind at the advice of some friends who suggested I just give it a shot and I might enjoy the convenience. But- I had a feeling I would want my trusty pump gear there as a fallback. So I packed all of my essentials to be overly prepared! I also knew going into it that I wanted to rocket boost my supply to make enough for two kids (to provide milk for my middle kid and the newborn), so I brought my gear to pump on top of attempts at nursing.
A note: I am a Certified Breastfeeding Specialist. However, the advice and tips on my pages is not personalized individual medical advice and you should always discuss concerns with your healthcare provider or seek the help of a lactation professional. I do not currently offer consults or counseling, just general information and advice.
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So, what did I bring in my breast pump bag? Not a ton, honestly!
My Hospital Pump Bag
The Bag itself is my Ren Organizer by Mimiandpal. This one of a kind bag is akin to a briefcase for pump parts, and fit everything I needed excluding my portable drying rack and brush. I also banked on the hospital providing me a basin so I did not pack one. (they did provide one!)
I packed a brand new Pumpables Genie Advanced Breast Pump because that was my primary during my exclusive pumping journey and I knew it worked for me. I replaced mine in case I had worn out the motor. I also packed the charger.
I packed the parts that were compatible with that pump, Maymom narrow neck adapters, duckbills, back flow protectors, and small sized medela bottles. I keep a list of all pump parts here.
I packed a spare pumping bra, my favorite kind. The Amelia Nursing & Pumping Cami by Davin and Adley. I wore one in, packed one in my main bag, and one in this bag.
I packed a handle/head for my medela manual breast pump which attached to the bottles I had packed for the other pump parts. I also had an extra one provided to me in the symphony kit which I got to take home.
I packed nipple butter but ended up being provided some as well. I use this as flange lube so I made sure to bring some with.
Travel sized bottle rack and dish soap, a small one, but this was outside of my pump bag and inside of my large bag.
Note: for Mimiandpal, Pumpin Pals, Lacteck, Pumpables, and Davin and Adley the code TEACHINGMOTHERHOOD saves some money at checkout!
What I left at home
My larger pumps. I considered it, but knowing they would have the medela symphony available for use and I would have a secondary AND manual pump, I skipped it.
Nursing pads. I was confident I would not leak while in the hospital, so I was bold and left these at home. I was correct!
Milk chiller bottle or cooler. I knew I wouldn't have enough milk at that point to actually warrant bringing one of these, so I left them behind.
The colostrum I collected while I was pregnant. I did NOT want this thawing out and going to waste, so I left it at home where I knew it was safe.
Milk bags. Again, knowing I wouldn't have enough milk to need to store in bags, and if I did need them I assume the hospital would have some.
Basin for washing pump parts. I knew the hospital would provide this so I banked on that and did not bring one! They also provided soap though I did bring one.
Passive milk collector like Haakaa or Boon Trove. Colostrum is typically difficult to pull with these, so I skipped these as well.
How I washed my parts in the hospital
I brought my travel bottle rack and brush, and was provided a basin and soap to use next to the sink. Just like at home, I washed my parts and put them out to dry. I had multiple sets so I could have one mostly dry for the next use, I pumped often on top of nursing to bring in my large supply.
It was relatively easy to keep up with everything. I pumped a total of 7 times per day on top of nursing the two days I was there. I fed the baby everything I pumped as it was not much- a few mLs here and there which I fed to him using a small cup the hospital provided. I was all by myself with the baby, my husband was at home.
There was a fridge underneath the sink, but I did not use it at all! I fed everything to him right away to keep him satisfied enough to work on his latch because a hungry, screaming baby is extremely difficult to reason with. I think that was my trouble with the second one- I got behind her hunger cues and she was too hungry to latch properly.
I liked the "initiate" program on the symphony, I believe it helped me to rocket boost my supply. It's a 15 minute program meant to quite literally bring in milk!
I really appreciated the small bottles to use with the pump, I think the most I had pumped at once was 5mL.
Also, my thoughts on the Symphony- I did think it was a great pump but CERTAINLY not worth spending the money to have one at home. Maybe if they cost $200, not $2000!
I don't think I forgot anything as far as pump gear goes, I had a good amount of things provided on top of what I brought. If you only bring one thing- let it be flanges that fit you! The ones that come with the symphony kits are 24mm and are often too big for most mamas and can cause unnecessary pain. *note- if the hospital LC tells you to size up because the flange hurts, they are incorrect! that's outdated advice.
Here is the little cup I used to feed my son, and the Lacteck flange I brought inside of the Medela parts that were provided to me to use with the Symphony breast pump! I ended up needing a little extra plastic bag to bring home all the extra parts! They would have been thrown away had I left them in the hospital, and some of them I could use at home.
Just starting out pumping? Take a look at some of my other resources here:
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