What to Put in Breast Pump Bag – Your Complete Guide!


Wondering what to put in your breast pump bag?

If you are staring at a pile of “stuff” for nursing and pumping and have no idea what you actually need, then you have come to the right place!

As a first time mom, I remember preparing for my first day back to work and panicking because I wasn’t sure what I should take with me.

I ended up packing two bags of various items because you never know when you might bust a leak and need a new shirt…or pants…or socks…or god forbid my nipples became inverted and I need a Nipplette (I didn’t have inverted nipples but it seemed possible in my mind).

The list went on. Most of it was completely unnecessary and I looked silly carrying all those bags.

So let me save you the time and effort and tell you what was in my pump bag and what worked best.


What to Put in Breast Pump Bag – Your Complete Guide!

Here is your complete guide to a perfectly packed pump bag! 

1 – Pump

This might be obvious…but you are going to need a pump. A quality one.

Please get yourself a great double electric pump. When you are a working and pumping mom or a mom who needs to pump on the go, time is not on your side. A double electric pump is essential in my opinion. It will save you a ton of time and studies prove you yield more milk when double pumping!

If you need a good recommendation, the Medela Sonata,  Medela Freestyle and Spectra S1 are on my list of favorites at the moment.

Or you can check out this list of great pumps for all moms to see what fits your needs!


Medela Sonata – Amazing Pump for Working Moms!

2 – A Pump Bag

Some pumps come with a hazard waste-like looking bag but if that’s not your style, there are a few that I have owned and loved that might fit your style better!

Sarah Wells bags are amazing! She has a number of different styles: The Abby, The Kelly, The Lizzy just to name a few. Her bags look like purses and come in a variety of styles. You could fit everything and the kitchen sink in her bags! 

Charlie G Bags is another favorite of mine. This bag is HUGE! I would have loved to have this bag when I worked in an office setting. It would have fit everything I needed including all my pump parts and stuff, expressed milk and cooler, and personal items. Great option for a working mom!


Sarah Wells “Abby”

3 – Pump Flanges

This is the part that connects to the pump tubes, so very important.

No pumping without flanges, so do not forget them! Bring at least 2 but if you are unable to wash parts or don’t have access to a refrigerator (I will share my secrets with you in second), then you will need to bring a set for each pumping session to ensure it is sanitary.


4 – Extra Membranes

You might be surprised to learn how much of a difference changing the membranes makes in the strength of your pump’s suction. If you feel you aren’t pumping enough or your pump is losing power, this is the first part I would replace.

Keep a few on hand at all times.


Medela Valve w/ Membrane

5 – Battery Pack and AC Adapter

Depending on your pumps power options (some only have an AC Adapter, etc) make sure you bring all options with you including a car charger if you have one. You want to be prepared for all possibilities.


External Battery Pack

6 – Milk Collection Bottles with Lids

You will need bottles to pump into. I personally would bring four (to have a backup set on hand) and transfer the pumped milk to the milk storage bags. It was easier to carry this way.


7 – Milk Collection Bags/Freezer Bags

You will need at least 6. This goes hand-in-hand with the collection bottles but milk storage bags are a great way to store and carry your milk.

Trying to fit 6-10 bottles of pumped milk into a small cooler was next to impossible!

The storage bags are much easier to pack. (My suggestion for all pumping moms is to invest in the Kiinde Twist system. I use “invest” lightly because it really is not all that expensive. It has adapters for all major brand pumps and allows you to pump, store, and feed from the same storage bag!

This is one of my favorite products and it cuts down on bottle washing and the amount of parts you need to carry! Check it out if you haven’t heard of it before!)


Kiinde Twist System

8 – Ice Pack and Cooler

You will need a small cooler and ice pack to store and transfer your milk. Medela has a nice one with a contoured ice pack. The downside is it only fits four collection bottles but I found I could fit about six freezer collection bags in it. So that might be an option but any cooler or lunch bag will do!


Medela Cooler

9 – A Pen 

This might not seem as obvious but you will want to carry a pen or sharpie to write the date on your milk collection bags. Trust me, you will not remember what day you pumped which bag so label them!

10 – Hands-Free Pumping Bra 

This is a must in my book! If you are going to be a pumping mom then you need to get your hands free.

Time doesn’t need to stop just because you have to pump.

I used to work on my computer, eat lunch, read a book, etc all while pumping. Be kind to yourself and get a pumping bra!

If you aren’t sure where to find a hands-free pumping bra or tank, you can check out my list of 7 of the best ones, here!


Clip and Pump Hands-Free Pumping Bra

11 – Gallon Ziplock Bag 

This is one of my pumping secrets.

Let’s be honest, no one has time to wash their pump parts after every single pumping session. It takes way too long. My big secret?

Put the pump parts (that touches milk – flanges, collection bottles, etc) into a gallon ziplock bag and pop it into the refrigerator. The milk on them stays fresh all day so no need to wash them.

Just take them home at the end of the day and wash them then. Saves a ton of time!

Need more pumping tips while working? Check out my list of 8 things to help make you successful at working and pumping!

12 – Steam Bags 

If you don’t have access to a refrigerator to store your pump parts in, then another good option is using steam bags. Medela makes some affordable ones.

You simply rinse the parts, put them in the steam bag, pop in the microwave and done! Great and fast option when you can’t wash or store your parts.


Medela Micro-Steam Bags

13 – Extra Breast Pads 

Especially in the beginning, bringing extra breast pads is a must. You might leak and will need a few extra pairs. (I suggest you check out Bamboobies. Best reusable nursing pads and they’re super soft!)


Bamboobies Nursing Pads


14 – Nipple Cream

This is optional but if you are still dealing with sensitive nipples, applying a small amount of nipple cream before and after pumping can help. Consider using a natural product like Motherlove Nipple Cream since it is safe to use while nursing with no need to wipe it off.


Motherlove Nipple Cream

15 – Hand Sanitizer

Always wash your hands before handling your pump parts. I carried a small bottle of travel-sized hand sanitizer for those occasions when I didn’t have access to a sink.

16 – Extra Blouse 

You will want to carry an extra blouse or shirt with you.

I like having a pullover cardigan in my pump bag since I’ve had incidents where I accidentally spilled on my shirt. But another option would be to keep it in your car. If you do that, though, you will need to walk all the way to your car with your shirt wet. (If you want a good pullover top, check out this one.)

17 – Nursing Cover 

This is optional as well but I always carried one with me just in case. I never felt comfortable pumping in front of people so depending on your accommodations for pumping, you may want to consider carrying one. (I love Bebe au Lait covers since they are lightweight and easy to pack.)


Bebe au Lait Nursing Scarf

18 – Snacks

You need to kill two bird with one stone when pumping especially while working.

Eating your lunch or having a quick snack while pumping is a great timesaver. You need those calories to maintain a healthy supply, so do not skip meals!

I used to munch on healthy snacks like apples, carrots, or other veggies since they were easy to eat while pumping. I also like to have a lactation cookie each day which I think helped maintain my supply. Plus they taste good!

Perfect, small snack to stash in your pump bag! (Need a good lactation cookie recommendation? Try Milkin’ Cookies! So yummy!)


Milkin’ Cookies

19 – Personal Items

If you have a big pump bag like the Sarah Wells bag or Charlie G Bags (I mentioned them above), you can fit most your personal items as well.

Laptop, wallet, keys, makeup bag, water bottle, etc will all fit comfortably in any of the bags I mentioned above!

Check out how much I got in the Charlie G Bags, New Yorker, here!

You can see the Sarah Wells styles, here!


What I fit in The New Yorker By Charlie G Bags!

There you have it! All the things I would carry in my pump bag. Do you have a “must carry” list? Share it here by leaving a comment!

Happy Pumping!

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  1. Shannon says:

    I have done a lot of pumping and I never realized the membranes have a direct effect on how well your pump pumps. That is a great tip!

    It seems silly that you need an extra blouse or pants but I’ve used the simply wishes pumping band before and then started working at my computer. Milk is the same temperature as your body – I realized that when I looked down to a lap full of milk as my bottles had overflowed! How embarrassing!! Having an extra set of clothes on hand is an excellent suggestion.

    Thanks for sharing these great tips

    • Heather Grace says:

      I have also had that moment where I realized my lap and shirt were full of milk… A quick trip to the store was needed but the walk of shame walking around with soaking wet clothes was not fun. Lesson learned! And yes, changing pump parts like the membranes is a must for maximum suction!

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