If there was ever a post I needed to read before starting my EP journey, it would have been this one. If you’re looking to exclusively pump or are in your EP journey right now, these products really helped me continue to exclusively pump and made mom life a little easier on me.
*Please Note: This website does not provide medical advice. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care providers.*
1. Willow - My Favorite Breast Pump Ever
I invested in a pump that has been life changing for me in my EP journey and I give so much credit to it because I probably wouldn’t have made it this far without it. The Willow is a hands free portable breast pump that is a no spill, no mess pump if you use the disposable bags. I’ve used the Willow on almost a daily basis. Being a toddler Mom and Mom to a newborn requires me to be on the move all the time. I use the Willow when I’m driving, doing housework, at church, at work, at Thanksgiving with the in-laws, sleeping (yes, I’ve put the Willow in and went back to sleep for 15 minutes and set an alarm). I even had it charging while sitting down for coffee with a friend. I included a photo below to show how discrete and easy to use it is! As you can tell, you can be anywhere doing anything (yoga, working out, running if you wanted) and pump. It’s a GAME-CHANGER and definitely my most favorite pump to date. Don't forget to check with your insurance to see if they will cover your Willow. Click here to learn more about The Willow.
2. Lactation Massager - Lavie Product
I remember sitting on the hospital bed at the OB emergency room and I was 5 weeks postpartum. Already having battled mastitis a week and a half earlier, I ended up back at the hospital, which was the last place I thought I’d be at 5 weeks postpartum. We discovered I had a clogged duct and while thankfully it wasn’t mastitis, it still HURT just as bad. If I was ever the queen of anything, it was clogged ducts!
This amazing ER nurse mentioned a brand called Lavie as we were going over my discharge papers and how it helped her with her EP journey. Lavie’s products help breastfeeding/pumping moms in so many ways. Women who have used these products say they are able to get clogs out and it’s more comfortable to breastfeed/pump. Some have experienced that they have pumped more milk in a pumping session because their milk flows easier and faster. That means less pumping time ladies (PRAISE THE LORD)! Other moms have used this to help their let down be less painful. They have products such as a warming lactation massager, hands free pumping and nursing bra, lactation massage roller, warm/cold therapy packs, silicone breast pump (see #7 on this list), nipple balm, and supplements to help make your pumping journey easier. Use discount code "MARYBETH+10" for 10% OFF at checkout!
3. Sunflower Lecithin
Another thing the nurse mentioned was Sunflower Lecithin. Having clogged ducts is so painful and the last thing you want is it leading to mastitis. I’d never heard of these supplements before but I was willing to try anything at that point. Sunflower Lecithin is a dietary supplement and helps milk flow and letdowns. It’s considered safe to use while pumping but is only recommended for short term use (I’ll use it until I’m done with EP). I needed something quick to help my milk loosen and flow more freely so I could get my clog out. Most moms find that this starts working within 24-48 hours! Since I have an oversupply, I will always be using this supplement until my EP journey is finished. I skipped it for a day and noticed a huge difference when pumping. My milk started to thicken up and if I wasn’t pumping every 2 hours, I would get another clog again. This is a must have especially if you have an oversupply! Click here to check it out on Amazon.
4. Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags
Gotta have freezer bags! If you are pumping, you may have extra milk that you will need to store away since baby’s belly isn’t big enough to eat it all in one setting. Storing it in the freezer with the right bags makes all the difference! I bought another brand of freezer bags before I found this brand and Lansinoh is my favorite. My milk is tightly sealed and protected and it has several options to label your milk. If your baby goes to daycare, you’ll want to write his or her name on the bag. I also follow the CDC guidelines on storing my milk to make sure it’s safe for baby. Click here to check it out on Amazon.
5. Breastmilk Freezer Flat Trays
It’s easy to run out of room if you are building a freezer stash. Whether you're laying your bags next to the pizza rolls in your freezer or have a separate deep freeze to lay them in, you want to make sure you save as much space as possible! Pro tip: lay your bags flat so they can freeze in what most of us moms call “bricks”. If you lay flat, they freeze flat, and then you can stack them like bricks. It makes more room for your milk in the freezer and is easy to store. After you’ve built a stack of bricks you can get a gallon ziplock bag (buy name brand on this one, you need something that’s heavy duty) and can label on a notecard the dates of your milk in that bag. If you are putting back milk almost every time you pump, I would definitely not skip this tip! You need to save as much space as you can for your milk and the easier it is to store your bricks, the less hassle it is for you. Plus storing those flat bricks is super satisfying! Here's a photo of the Breastmilk Freezer Flat Trays in action. Click here to check it out on Amazon.
6.The Philips AVENT Microwave Steam Sterilizer
Ok this is gold! It has become my best friend when I’m needing to quickly sterilize my bottles, pump parts, and pacifiers. It only takes 2 minutes! It’s not as annoying as those microwaveable bags (which are still convenient) but if you are at home the microwave steam sterilizer is so easy. I use Philips Avent bottles but I’ve read reviews where people use different brand bottles. If you don’t use Philips Avent bottles, be sure to research if you use something other than Avent. Click here to check it out on Amazon.
7. Munchkin Bottle & Cup Cleaning Brush 4 Piece Set
Also, I think it's helpful to mention these two different bottle brushes for #7 and #8. There's a 4 piece set that has detail brushes for the tougher to reach spots. I use these on my medela pump in style max flow parts to clean the opening where milk drains into the bottle. My bigger brush can't reach in the opening and milk builds up there (even if you rinse hot water over it). You definitely need these in order to clean your pump parts effectively!
8. Munchkin Sponge Bottle Brush
These bottle brush cleaners are also very helpful too! It is good for cleaning larger pump parts and also has a bonus nipple brush in the bottom suction. The nipple brush makes cleaning in the bottle nipples so much easier and takes less time to clean compared to other brushes!
9. Milk Collector Silicone Breast Pump
I wasn’t really sure that I needed this one at first. I thought it was just for breastfeeding. When I have clogs and I have to hand express them out in the shower, this milk collector by LaVie collects every drop of liquid gold so you don’t waste a thing! If I could add up every minute I’ve been in the shower hand expressing a clog, it would probably add up to several hours. (*Trigger Warning* - I'm an overproducer). All that milk washes down the drain and goes to waste if you don’t have a silicone breast pump by LaVie to collect it! Of course, you’re probably not going to have enough to give baby a full feeding but you could save what was expressed and put it in the fridge to add for your next feeding. One time I had a major clog and hand expressed up to 2 ounces! Use discount code "MARYBETH+10" for 10% OFF at checkout!
10. Pumping Bag
It’s easy to run out of room in the diaper bag for your pump and pump supplies. After diapers, wipes, diaper cream, extra outfits for the surprise blow outs, and everything in between, there’s just hardly any room for your pump stuff. I also have a toddler so I’m packing extra things in my diaper bag for him too. The random bags I had at home didn’t work for my pump supplies and it wasn’t something that was going to organize everything perfectly. Mom life is already chaotic enough as it is. I didn’t need my pump bag to be chaotic too! After much research I chose LOVEVOOK Breast Pump Bag. It has the ultimate storage and 3 insulated pockets. Carries up to 6 bottles. It comes with a multifunctional cooler and waterproof mat to lay your pump parts on which a lot of other pumping bags don't include. This bag can also be used as a diaper bag, weekender bag, and a travel carry on bag. It has a laptop compartment for working moms and has a luggage strap for traveling. I'll be using this for years after the kids get older because it's stylish and practical for mom life in all stages. I’m in love with mine! Click here to check it out on Amazon.
11. Baby's Brew
Gone are the days of carrying a thermos of hot water or putting a bottle in between your legs to warm! After doing that a handful of times, I knew there had to be a product out there that solved this problem and there was!! Baby’s Brew is the first ever battery powered bottle warmer. I love it because it takes the stress out of planning ahead on how you’re going to warm your baby’s bottle. We’ve used it on family outings, restaurants, church, and in the car just to name a few. It was super handy when we attended a Christmas parade! My toddler and I were able to enjoy the parade and lights while I held baby. The Baby’s Brew was sitting next to us warming and it was so nice because I didn’t have to leave the parade to go warm up a bottle or walk around with a thermos full of hot water. Since it is battery powered it takes anywhere between 5-10 minutes to warm. If you’re watching hunger cues or paying attention to when baby will probably eat next, then this should be no problem. You can heat a bottle up 3-6 times before having to charge again and it has a 8-12 hour battery life. What I love about this bottle warmer is that it preserves the nutrients in breastmilk and formula. Baby’s Brew does NOT work with some ready to feed or premixed formulas (See HERE to review that list). If you are using 4 ounces and larger, it may take longer than 5-10 minutes since the formula cannot be swirled when warming. It’s designed to fit most wide bottles neck bottles (perfect for Avent bottles). Here is where you can find how to use the wide neck bottles such as MAM & Evenflo. Here is where you can find how to use the small neck bottles such as Dr. Browns, Medela, and Life Factory. If it’s not compatible with the bottle you use then you can buy a separate adapter for it to work for you. It’s totally worth it! Occasionally, Baby's Brew will offer a discount when you sign up for their email list. Hope this helps!
12. Motivational Water Bottle with Time Marker
Exclusively Pumping takes a toll on your body. If you do not stay hydrated, this could lead to future clogs, extreme dehydration, and dizziness from what I have experienced. I have even almost fainted before because I was so dehydrated. Life with a toddler and newborn had me so busy that I didn't focus on myself and my needs. When I visited the OB ER for clogged ducts, I was told by the doctor to drink 100 ounces a day while pumping. That is a lot of water! If you are not paying attention, you can easily lose track of how much you are not drinking. The best way to keep up with this is to store all your water in one place for the day and have a motivational time marker to keep you focused and accountable on your hydration goals! Click here to check out the Motivational Water Bottle with Time Marker on Amazon.
I hope you find these products super helpful! They have been a game changer for me and my EP journey. I couldn’t have made it this far without them! Comment below what your favorite products are that have helped you with exclusively pumping.
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