Curating the perfect baby registry became an obsession of mine during pregnancy. If we’re being real, I’ll confess that my obsession peaked during my first pregnancy, most likely due to my lack of parental responsibilities and abundance of time during that season of life. (Cue every mom of 2+ kids nodding their heads in agreement right now.)
I spent hours upon hours pouring over research articles, reading blog posts, and scrolling social media to determine the best car seat, stroller, and bottle brand. I learned that anything ending with “boo” or “roo” is likely a baby product and I even started dreaming about a product called the “snoo.”
Seriously – I’m not kidding and I’m definitely not trying to go all Dr. Seuss on you here. The snoo is a thing (supposedly it’s a lifesaver!) and the “boo” and “roo” ending products were promptly added to my list after getting rave reviews from all respective stakeholders in the mommy world.
Products recommended specifically for working moms by working moms
In the midst of my baby registry research, the one thing that always came up missing for me was information on which additional products I would need as a working mom. Which products did I need in addition to the “boo”, “roo” and “snoo” that would help make my life as a working mom easier?
I was fortunate to have an amazing colleague at work who was only 6 months ahead of me in my motherhood journey and she became my sole source of knowledge on all things related to being a working mom.
She introduced me to the idea of a breast pump bag (who knew such a thing existed!) and gave me the ultimate pro tip on using breast pump wipes to save time during pumping sessions.
Another working mom friend introduced me to the idea of the wireless breast pump (cue all the praise hands!) while another clued me in on the importance of always having a handheld breast pump available while traveling.
Needless to say, my village of fellow working moms came to my rescue and got me set up with the essential supplies I needed for my life as a working mom.
Now I’m returning the favor for all of you in order to save you brain power, money, and help you spend more time on the things that matter most (like snuggling your squishy baby).
Without further ado, here are the 12 essential items every working mom needs to add to her baby registry.
#1: Breast pump
I don’t know if I’ve ever loved and hated a product more than this. I had no idea how attached (literally) I would become to my breast pump while at the same time wanting to hide it away in a closet and never see it again.
Like it or not, if you plan on breastfeeding your baby and returning to work, your breast pump will likely become a significant part of your life as a working mom. But don’t worry, it’s really not that bad once you get the hang of things and I’m thankful that such a product exists so that breastfeeding and working can be more compatible than it was years ago.
Most health insurance companies offer one free breast pump to moms for each pregnancy, so the chances are high that you can get a standard one at no cost. For help determining how to obtain your breast pump through insurance, check out the secrets to breastfeeding success post which gives you details on who to contact and how to avoid actually having to call your insurance company only to be put on hold for 20 minutes.
You can also buy breast pumps directly from most major retailers if you happen to not have a breast pump offered by your insurance plan.
I used one of the basic models offered from my insurance, the Medela Pump in Style Advanced, and it did the job. It came with all needed parts and accessories, but I’d recommend buying an extra set of filters, bottles, and bottle attachments.
I found it most helpful to have two sets of the essential breast pump parts so that I could use one set if the other was dirty.
As for which breast pumps are the best, I think it’s really dependent on each individual user. I will say that I’ve heard good things about the Spectra S2Plus, so that might be worth checking out if you aren’t sold one particular pump.
I had a hard time seeing the value in a handheld breast pump when I already had an electronic breast pump, but boy oh boy am I glad that I purchased one.
The great thing about handheld breast pumps is that they are relatively inexpensive and can be taken anywhere, meaning that you don’t need to plug them into an outlet to make them work.
You’ll likely encounter situations where having the ability to pump while unplugged will be necessary – think off-site meetings or events without lactation spaces.
More than anything, the handheld breast pump is like a trusty insurance policy that guarantees you’ll always be able to pump, despite whatever situation you might find yourself in.
I used mine in the car while at an offsite work meeting where there was only one gender neutral bathroom. Instead of locking myself in the bathroom for 30 minutes and becoming the least favorite person on site, I pumped in my car using my handheld pump. It’s slower than the electronic one but it did the job and I was able to pump and work offsite with the rest of my team. Win.
And pay special attention to this next part if you ever find yourself traveling internationally while pumping…
Depending on the country you’re in, your electronic breast pump might not be compatible with the outlets in your host country. Most women probably think about this when thinking about their phone charger, hair dryer, or any other toiletry type product, but breast pumps fall in the same category.
Of course, bringing a universal outlet converter is always a good idea when traveling internationally, but if you happen to forget to bring one or simply don’t think before forcing your breast pump into the international outlet, you may just get an electrical mess on your hands and have a non-functioning breast pump.
I don’t know about you, but being in a foreign country with a broken breast pump and engorged boobs sounds like a nightmare. This is where your trusty handheld pump can save the day (and your boobs).
#3: Pumping bag
I feel like I’m fairly well versed in “bag” language. I know a thing or two about totes, hobos, satchels, cross bodies, and clutches. So you can imagine my surprise when I asked a working mom friend about what type of bag she used to transport her pump to the office each day and she responded with a “pump bag.”
Ah – so that’s how it’s done. It was like the magical world of working moms was being opened to me little by little. A pumping bag was a thing? Why didn’t anyone clue me in on this before?
Armed with my new knowledge of “pumping bags”, I quickly researched the various bags available and found one that rose above all others – the Sarah Wells pump bag. The great thing about this bag is that it was made specifically for carrying your breast pump.
That’s a good thing because if you’re like me, you’d rather not be carrying an obvious “breast pump bag” while walking the halls next to a male colleague or anyone else for that matter.
The Sarah Wells pump bag looks professional, has numerous compartments specifically designed to house your pump and accessories, and is easy to carry from your office to lactation space.
Another tip – use a pump parts bag to place all of your pumping parts inside after each pumping session. This will help ensure that the parts stay clean and will prevent any unwanted leaks from happening in your larger bag.
As a working mom, I found that one of the very best times to sneak in an extra pump session was during my commute to work each morning. My breast milk supply declined once I started back to work despite my best intentions and commitment to drinking cup after cup of “mother’s milk tea” each day.
Since I was always fighting to keep up with supplying what my baby was consuming at daycare, having an extra pump session during the day became my secret weapon.
I would pump on the way to work in the morning when my supply was still high using a handy breast pump car converter. This is simply an accessory that can be purchased to go along with your standard pump to make it accessible for you to plug your pump into your car for power.
I’ll be honest and say that it’s admittedly a little strange plugging your ladies into your car, but with some strategic clothing placements, you can really be fairly discreet about this whole effort.
That doesn’t mean that your heart won’t beat faster whenever you pass a cop. I can’t tell you how many times I suddenly freaked out thinking, “Are my lights working? Was I speeding? Did I fully stop at that stop sign?” while desperately praying that I wouldn’t be pulled over amidst my breast pumping glory.
Do yourself a favor and don’t fret, my friend. All will be well – just fully stop at that stop sign.
If the thought of being pulled over while pumping sounds like your worst nightmare, then purchasing a wireless breast pump might be something worth considering.
I bit the bullet and purchased a wireless breast pump after becoming increasingly frustrated with the lack of innovation present in the standard breast pump. Picture me, in all postpartum glory, crying through tired eyes that, “I feel like such a cow!” Not my finest moment.
That was the catalyst for my mission to find a breast pump made for pumping on the go. My hunt eventually led to a product called the Elvie and it was one of the best purchases I made.
The Elvie is very similar to the Willow pump that I saw heavily advertised on social media, however the Elvie doesn’t require any additional bags to be purchased since it contains the milk directly inside the plastic cups that come with the product.
The Elvie was especially helpful on an international business trip when I was only 6 months postpartum. Being a first time mom, I still wasn’t totally comfortable with the whole pumping on an airplane thing.
The Elvie was a lifesaver for me and I pumped on the pump multiple times with so much ease. I even pumped my way through the Amsterdam airport and pumped while waiting to board my plane.
Check it out, friends – you won’t be disappointed.
The hakaa was a product I learned about from a friend and it is a steal! Coming in at less than $40, it’s a must have for any baby registry.
Fun fact about the amazing female body…
When you breastfeed your baby on one side, the other side automatically has a bit of let down. This means that if you’re just chilling like I used to do while your baby is feeding on one side, you could be potentially losing out on some precious liquid gold.
The hakaa can catch up to 2 or 3 ounces of breastmilk and as every breastfeeding mom knows, every little ounce counts!
#7: Nipple cream
This product, along with a big ol’ water bottle, were the two things I carried with me around the house 24/7 during my first few weeks postpartum. This little tin of cream is like a little balm of heaven for your lady friends (if you know what I mean).
I would lather up after every feeding session and my body soaked it up. The serum is all natural which meant that I wasn’t worried about my baby getting little bits of it in his mouth during frequent feeding sessions.
Buy a couple tins of this and pack it in your hospital bag. It’s a lifesaver in those first few days of motherhood.
#8: Hands free bra
Oh the hands free bra, what would working moms ever do without you? The hands free bra is clutch for workday pump sessions and definitely takes the MVP award.
I had no idea this even existed prior to learning how to work my breast pump, but once I discovered it, oh man, you better believe that I bought one right away.
The hands free bra helps take your workday pumping sessions to the multitasking hall of fame. Just strap on, start pumping, and have available hands to work on a laptop or scroll through those adorable baby pictures on your phone.
A bottle drying rack is one of the necessary items that just make your life so much easier. Pumping during the day while your baby drinks from bottles means that you’ll have lots of bottles to wash and dry each evening.
That’s where the bottle drying rack comes in. It’s not fancy, but it is so helpful and should definitely be added to your baby registry.
#10: Breast pump wipes
Breast pump wipes are a wonderful tool for the working mom. One of my friends gave me the tip of using these during workday pumping sessions and they were such a timesaver.
Instead of pumping and then washing your pump parts and hoping they dry in time for your next pump session, I used the pump wipes to simply wipe all the parts clean. After wiping, I placed the pump parts in a big plastic bag and stored the big in the refrigerator in the lactation room.
Bacteria stay at bay if the parts are kept in a refrigerator, so the wipes can get you through your work day before you get home where you can formally wash your parts.
Those work day pumping sessions are all about saving every minute you can, and the breast wipes are a great tool for saving precious minutes.
#11: Insulated bag
My collection of bags suddenly exploded when I became a mom. No longer was I carrying around one purse or clutch, but rather bag after bag after bag to get me to and from my destinations and this was especially true for my work days.
True story – my daily bag collection consisted of a work bag, pumping bag, and a diaper bag for daycare. Add on one car seat with a baby inside (tip – buy a light car seat), and I thought I had reached my maximum carrying capacity.
All of that to say, I don’t want to add one more unnecessary bag to your mix, however I’m going to keep an insulated bag on this list because it’s small, it goes inside your pumping bag, and this will prevent you from having to clean up potential spills of your liquid gold which is always a win.
The insulated bag is simply a bag used to carry breast milk bags or bottles inside another bag. It’s shaped to fit bottles perfectly and comes in super handy for loading in breast milk.
At the end of my work day, I would simply put my milk bags inside the insulated bag and then put the insulated bag inside my pumping bag for transport. The fabric on the inside of the bag makes the cleanup of spills (fingers crossed that this never happens to you!) easy and fast.
#12: Milk bags
Last but certainly not least are milk bags. These handy bags are used for actually storing your breastmilk and can be purchased at any major retailer. I personally rotated between using this brand and this brand.
Because we’re all friends around here, I’ll let you in on a little secret that a friend once told me and I think it is a genius mom hack!
I found the process of pouring pumped milk from a breast pump bottle into the milk bags to be really tricky. It was super challenging to not spill any precious milk during the pouring process.
So here’s the hack…
Instead of just hoping that you won’t spill, use a flange from your breast pump to serve as a funnel into your milk bag. This will help make the opening of the milk bag wide enough that you can actually get all of the milk inside the bag, rather than on your desk, lap, or wherever you happen to be pumping at that moment.
What a great tip, right?
Conclusion: You’re going to be one prepared working mom
So there you have it friends, your ultimate guide to the 12 essential items every working mom needs to add to her baby registry. You’re well on your way to being one prepared working mama and you’re totally going to rock motherhood.
What are the essential items you think every mom needs to add to her baby registry? What are your favorite products that every working mom shouldn’t live without?