Pumping Must-Haves for Breastfeeding Moms

Pumping must-havesPumping must-haves

Are you an exclusively pumping mama, or are you breastfeeding your baby while trying to build up a freezer stash, either for emergencies, travel or when you return to work? Exclusive pumping or building a sizable stash is are enormous undertakings. Pumping can be very stressful and many mamas struggle with it. To maximize your output and keep things organized, you will need some supplies! Below I have listed my pumping must-haves that any pumping mama needs.

pumping must-haves for breastfeeding moms

Pumping Must-Haves

I would encourage every breastfeeding mom (see my list of breastfeeding must-haves here) to build at least a small stash of frozen breast milk, in case of emergencies (or, you know, in case you need to be away from your baby for more than two hours!).

You never know what is going to happen. Knowing that there is a supply of milk for your baby even if you are unable to be with them will give you peace of mind.

My Pumping Experience

When my daughter was ten weeks old, I had to go to the emergency room for a potential postpartum hemorrhage. Thankfully I was fine. At that point, I had no milk stored and we had to give her formula. Although I knew fed is best, I was disappointed that she wasn’t 100% exclusively breastfed (and I had some yucky poopy cloth diapers to deal with).

After that experience, I was almost obsessed with creating a freezer stash even though I was on maternity leave for over a year (thank you, Canada!). I was a consistent daily pumper for about 8 months and our deep freeze was almost entirely filled with milk.

My freezer stash made things so convenient. I had plenty of milk on hand for anytime I wanted to go out, even for overnight trips, and could do so last minute because I didn’t need to worry about pumping enough in the week before.

Once I went back to work, I had plenty of milk to send to daycare (which wad especially great, because she had a cow’s milk sensitivity when she was younger). I never had to worry because of my stash!

Pumping Essentials

I couldn’t have built such a large stash without a few key pumping essentials. These items absolute pumping must-haves.

Now that I have a second babe, I am working again to build up a stash so I can be worry-free, at least about Grace’s feeding. These are my absolute pumping must-haves to allow you to pump as much milk at you want, quickly and easily!

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Knowledge is Power

My first pumping must-have is a course designed exclusively for pumping moms. The course provider, Stacey Stewart, is a certified lactation educator. The course is in video format and is so easy to go through. You can even watch it while snuggling on the couch with your baby, or during those long pumping sessions! Click here to get the course!

Double Pump

A double pump is pretty obvious for any dedicated pumper. You can twice the milk in half the time, which is such a time-saver. It’s one of my top recommendation for anyone having a second baby. This one worked really well for me, but I’ve heard really great things about this one as well!

Extra Parts

If you are pumping multiple times a day, sterilizing all the pump parts can be overwhelming. Investing in an extra set of parts can make pumping much more manageable!

Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Another absolute must-have if you have another child to take care of. Hands-free bras free up your hands (duh) to get other things accomplished while pumping. I personally hated wasting time sitting still pumping, so using this bra was like a weight off my shoulders!


I am so mad they did not have the Haakaa when Hannah was a baby (or at least I hadn’t heard of them). The Haakaa is a silicone manual pump. You can also use it on one side while the baby nurses on the other side. It’s great for travelling when you don’t want to lug around a big double breast pump. You can’t beat the price either!

Milk Catchers

Milk catchers are so intriguing to me! In the first few weeks of breastfeeding, before your letdown regulates itself (and longer for some moms), leaks are pretty much constant. Imagine catching all that milk and adding it to your freezer stash, instead of washing it out of your shirts! Increasing your stash without ANY extra effort? Genius!

Glass Bottles

I try to reduce my plastic usage whenever I can, so these glass baby bottles were perfect for me.  I’ve never had a single one break, but if you are worried you or your baby (or your husband!) will break one, these ones have silicone sleeves, and can turn into sippy cups by switching out the lids. One bonus: when I dug out my old bottles for Grace, the plastic bottles were pretty gross and discoloured. The glass ones were in perfect condition and were ready to use again!

Sealing Lids

With my first baby, I didn’t realize they made lids for bottles other than the normal nipple that goes on the bottle. I was constantly sterilizing bottle nipples because I thought that was the only way to store bottles in the fridge before transferring the milk into bags to be frozen. These lids make it so easy and you can avoid washing and sterilizing the bottle nipples (which break down more quickly that the rest of the bottle parts).They also make travelling with bottles much easier.

Storage Bags

Obviously you will need storage bags to store your milk. These ones are nice and sturdy. Pro tip: lay your bags horizontally in the freezer so they freeze flat. This will save so much storage space!

Storage for your Storage

A freezer stash takes up a lot of space. If you are a pop drinker, the long skinny pop can boxes are the perfect size for storing bags of breast milk. If not, you can buy these bins, which are designed to store milk in your freezer.


This seems like a no brainer for most moms, but for some reason, with my first baby, I thought i would manually sterilize all my pump parts and bottles by boiling a big pot of water. I did this every day for months! Needless to say, I burned myself multiple times! 

This time around, I invested in a sterilizer and I’ll admit, I get a little thrill of excitement every time I use it!  Definitely don’t regret this purchase! I try to avoid microwave use, so this sterilizer was perfect for me. I highly recommend it!

Separate Drying Rack

I really like having a separate drying rack for baby bottle and pump parts. I never feel like my dish rack is clean enough! This one from Boone is so adorable, I couldn’t resist getting it! It makes things much simpler and I never have to juggle washing my regular dishes with sterilizing. Another purchase I don’t regret at all!

Cell with pics or videos of baby

This is obviously not something you need to buy, but looking at pictures of your baby is so helpful to encourage your letdown. It is an absolute must-have for me! I actually have a few quick videos of my babes’ hunger cues, which do the trick every time!

Lactation Cookies and More

If you’re pumping in addition to nursing your baby, you could probably use a little increase in your milk supply. Try these delicious recipes for laction cookies, powerballs and more here. Or if you’re a smoothie person, try these amazing lactation smoothies to give your milk supply a boost.

Freezer and generator

OK, a new freezer and generator are big ticket items… but hear me out. If you are planning on building a sizable stash, you will need LOTS of freezer space. As I mentioned, by the end of my pumping journey, almost my entire deep freeze was full of breast milk.

The generator sounds like a strange recommendation, but you might end up needing one! Four years ago, a serious hurricane hit our area (we are not even in a hurricane zone). The power was out in the city for about a week. I have a friend who lost her ENTIRE milk stash during the time that the power was out. As someone who has shed tears (literally) over one bottle of spilled breast milk, I can’t imagine how devastating that would be! 

If you are on the fence about a generator, this might be the time to purchase one to protect your milk stash!

So there you have my essential list of pumping must-haves. Building a good milk stash gives you the flexibility to continue to have a life, even while breastfeeding. You will have the peace of mind to know your baby will be well-fed, even if you can’t be there to feed him/her yourself.

Do you have any tips or pumping must-have products for breastfeeding mama’s? Share your knowledge below!

Pumping must-haves



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