Committing to breast feeding is always a challenge, whether you are working outside of the home or not. I’ve put together a few of my favorite things that help me navigate the perils of pumping and the feats of feeding on-the-go a little bit better, both in and out of the office.
Here are my top 5 favorite things for the breastfeeding mama, ending with my most FAVORITE favorite thing possibly ever…
1. All About the Bras -
My breasts are rarely ever bare, as once they see the light of day, they tend to get to work (still haven’t found a way to shut off the faucet when I’m in the shower…). So, being how important the subject is, the number 1 spot actually has 2 of my favorite things for 2 times of day: bras & pads for day & night.
The business suit of the breastfeeding bra. Feminine, affordable and most importantly functional, the Gratlin Underwire Bra holds up at the office. Just enough padding to make it t-shirt wearable without adding any (more) bulk and very easy to fold over for feedings.
Kindred Bravely does it again. These baby-cheek soft, organic bamboo, nary-a-leak breast pads have 1.3K reviews on amazon for a reason. I would wear these 24/7, but they do have a waterproof backing and can trap in moisture against your skin if you wear them hours on end.
While there are many soft sleeper nursing bras out there, I get so sick of wearing my bra all day (gone are the days of throwing it off as soon as I walk into the house) that I now wear a HOFISH nursing cami to bed. This is the perfect mix of letting the girls relax while also having a place to keep my nursing pads. Very easy to unhook for the 2am feeding. These are great for day wear as well, but they are quite a bit longer than most tank tops to accommodate that new momma shape.
Any cotton breast pads are good for evening time (and there are some DIY patterns you can find, too, if for some reason you find yourself with an abundance of time these days). I got mine from the Mother’s Lounge group, mainly because they come with a slew of truly awesome coupons for all the other ML group brands. Not to mention, the cow print is hilarious.
2. Best Nursing Shirt - SMALLSHOW
Easy, discrete and oh so comfy. I keep one of these hanging behind my office door to change into during pump sessions in the event that anyone comes in (yes, despite my “Mom At Work” sign on the door, it has happened). These also serve as protection from spit up during lunchtime feedings and liberated me from the need for “permanent access” business wear. Some feeding shirts call attention to the cropped section with some stylizing or color blocking, which is fine, but I like that these are unapologetically functional. The colors are perfect and so is the sizing. I’ve got about 12.
3. The Gear: S1 Spectra Plus
True story: Last Friday I went immediately from work to our Church office to help interview for a secretary to my therapy appointment in Houston (props to my husband for scooping up our little sweet potato) with zero time in between to tap the kiddo kegs. I could therefore be found lactating along I45 thanks to this mean, portable pumping machine. Disclaimer: I would not recommend pumping while driving, ever. But sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. At least one, but often two hands were on the wheel at all times, which yes, is also possible thanks to the little cup holder built into the back of the base. This is the real MVP right here.
4. Air Travel Friendly Cooler: MIER Insulated Cooler Backpack
Here’s your PSA for the day: the TSA does a lot of things that I find unfortunate (chief most being that time I had to throw away the cannoli filling we got from Modern Pastry in Boston. That story ended well enough, in that I learned how to make it myself- kinda- and the agent promised me he’d eat it during his lunch break so it wouldn’t go to waste). However, their handling of all things breast milk related was a relief. Thanks to the Breastfeeding Equipment Screening Act (BABES Act) signed into law in December 2016, there is a lot of training on the subject. For example, your pump is considered medical equipment, so you don’t have to worry about fitting it into your carry on. And your milk? Also Medical. This perfect little MIER cooler carries my Spectra, charger, wipes and containers easily, and is exempt from carry on rules. Just let them know what it is; they may do a quick swab test, but otherwise, this issue was gloriously hassle free. I was able to come home with some really great memories and 72 ounces of the good stuff. Definitely a must have for any extended time away from babe.
5. My Favorite Favorite Thing: The Bag
Instead of using a few flimsy grocery totes covered in ads about dental health that my mom left here once, I now carry my (parts, pump, soft sided cooler, workout clothes and sneakers for the 15 minutes I have to spare before picking up the tater tot, flats for when I realize the heels were overly ambitious, lunch and hopefully at least 8oz of milk by the end of the day) STUFF in My Big Bag. This beautiful piece of functional, eco-friendly art is a much more professional alternative to momming on the job. Handmade from recycled plastic by a group of women in Mexico, you can likely find an Oaxaca Plastic Bag at your favorite local boutique (like I did) or in a myriad Etsy shops. I’ve included the link to the Spiral version that I own. The hard plastic makes it extremely durable and easy to clean if- God forbid- there are any milk spills. The structure makes it easy to stand upright while it holds your whole life together for you- and who doesn’t need some more of that? Hands down my favorite mom-merch to date.
Danni Dunn is a full-time analyst and Junior League volunteer from Upstate New York who now lives in Galveston, Texas. She loves her job, but the best part of her day is lunch time, which she spends breastfeeding her 4 month old. The hardest part of her day? Saying goodbye once the hour is over.
NFP Method Of Choice: Danni and her husband practice an NFP mix of ovulation tracking and LH strip testing and have been obnoxiously in love for forever.