Pumping Essentials: What You Really Need and What to Skip

mum breastfeeding baby with pump

Be equipped and feel prepared with our top five breast pumping essentials, recommended by Mums and other industry professionals. Get the low down on what breast pumping products you actually need to make every pumping session a great one.

What breast pump do I need?

Before you choose your breast pump, first decide on what you will be using your pump for. Will you be pumping exclusively? Increasing your milk supply? Or perhaps on the odd occasion, you’d like someone else to feed the baby for a change? There’s an ideal breast pump for each one of those scenarios, and more!

Electric breast pumps are a much more efficient way of expressing milk and you’ll notice that some pumps have a variety of features to maximise your comfort and alter the suction strength.

Haakaa cups are a handy addition (excuse the pun!) to any breast pump, manual or electric. They’re useful for collecting let down on the other breast, if you’re using a single pump, and relieving engorgement.

Find out more about which breast pump is for me

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Your breast pumping essentials

Milk storage bags

    Easy peasy. Milk storage bags will be your life saver! Especially if you have an oversupply, you can use storage bags to chill or freeze your milk in and then prep for the baby when you need it. Some storage bags are simply a “pump and pour” method whereas the Lola&Lykke bags allow you to pump straight into the bag, saving you every precious drop.

    Breast pads

      If you base your purchases on the product’s environmental impact, reusable breast pads would be a better option to consider. Reusable nursing pads tend to be made from bamboo cotton which is softer and more absorbent to reduce irritation against the skin. Disposable pads are thinner, and you’ll be surprised how quickly you get through a box of them!

      Nursing bra

        As well as buying a comfortable bra for breastfeeding, a nursing bra that allows you to pump hands-free is a must for any pumping mama. The difference between the two is that a nursing bra has clips which allow you to fold or pull the cup away from your nipple. Whereas a pumping bra has two slots for the flanges to sit in and hold the pump in place. Thank us later!

        Nipple Shields

          For mums who experience any discomfort during feeding, there’s often a solution to solve the problem. Whether it be due to the baby latching poorly, a strong letdown or you have inverted or flat nipples, nipple shields can be extremely helpful to relieve any pain.

          Nipple Cream

            There are lots of different types on the market to choose from but investing in a good nipple cream will nourish the skin around your nipple and breast if it becomes cracked or sore. Nipple creams are perfectly safe to use while the baby is feeding. Some mums even use their breast milk to help heal areas of the skin!

            Other breast pumping products to consider

            Now, these products didn’t make our top five, but they are still considered useful to have and it would be purely based on your circumstances whether you choose to use them or not.

            • Bag/carry case for your breast pump
            • Sterilising bags
            • Syringes (for early expression)
            • Breastfeeding-friendly clothing (easy access)
            • Sleeping bras
            • Cover or scarf to wear while pumping
            • Cool bags to store milk in

            Non-essential pumping items

            When babies transition from the breast to a bottle, it can be difficult for some to adjust. In practice, it would be fantastic if your baby accepted the first bottle you gave them! However, it’s handy to have a few different brands and size teats (appropriate for the baby’s age) to try different shapes and see which one your baby takes to the best.

            You could argue that these items belong in the previous list, but I’ll let you be the judge of that. If you’re going to be sat pumping quite often, it would be nice to have a few luxuries to enjoy! A lidded warm drink mug with your favourite herbal tea and a flapjack (or two!) can turn your pumping session from a chore to relaxing “you time”.

            Breast pumping apps record your pumping sessions and also let you note down a schedule. Newer breast pumps on the market have this technology built within the pump already or have an app associated with the brand.

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