Breast Pump Parts

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When you work and breastfeed, your breast pump becomes an essential tool that goes with you back and forth from the office. But what about all those parts?

I remember the day when I would leave the house with nothing but a purse in hand. Now I’m lucky to if leave with four bags (five if I actually remember to pack a lunch) and a child in a bucket. Getting out of the house in the morning seems combine a lot of foresight, planning, coordination, and a little bit of luck.

We picked a daycare close to my work (and waaaay far from J’s), so I always take O in. Always. (I always pick him up too, but that’s a story for a different day.)

In the morning, I need to remember to take his diaper bag with two changes of clothes and his bottles (sometimes food, diapers, wipes, if he needs them), my purse, my breast pump, and my computer. I usually don’t forget stuff. Usually. I’m always super afraid I’ll forget the bottles, but I never do.

What I tend to forget most? Essential breast pump parts.

When you work and breastfeed, your breast pump becomes an essential tool that goes with you back and forth from the office. But what about all those parts?

The first thing I ever forgot was one of the little yellow pieces that screw into my breast pump shield. I never knew what that piece did, and when I realized I forgot it, I thought I might be OK. Wrong. That little yellow piece provides for some of the suction. Otherwise you just blow air via a breast shield onto your boob for 20 minutes.

The next thing I forgot was one of the “membranes,” or little white doo-hickey, that attaches to the little yellow piece that attaches to the breast shield. I thought I could get away without having that, too, but once again, it’s an important part of the whole suction thing. So yeah, I kinda need it.

After that, I forgot an actual breast shield (I guess I was working my way up to forgetting bigger things). I knew I was screwed then. No getting around that. For a millisecond, I contemplated asking the other pumping mommy if she’d let me borrow hers if I promised I’d clean it real good. Then I thought of how really weird that would be, and instead spent close to 30 minutes alternating the one breast shield back and forth.

I’ve also forgotten one of the pieces of tubing. Again, I had to alternate back and forth, taking considerably longer to pump than usual.

The kicker was when I forgot a lid to one of my breast milk container bottles. My heart raced as I rummaged through my pump kit looking for a lid—SURELY I couldn’t have forgotten a lid. My heart sunk as I realized I might have to *gasp* dump some of my breast milk. I’m pretty sure I shed a tear.

Then I spotted it. Not quite a lid, but a piece of a lid. Some of my breast milk container bottles came with these two-part lids, and I had the flat piece of one of those lids. It fit over the top of the bottle. “Sweet!” I thought, “I can surely MacGyver something up with this!” I darted out of the supply closet/pumping room and searched the supply drawers outside the pumping room. I needed tape. Lots of it. I found some pretty quickly, went back in the room, and taped up that bottle of milk damn good. Not a drop of breast milk was wasted.

I’ve luckily never forgotten the plug, or actual pump. So, I’ve always been able to pump, just not always very efficiently. So have any other pumping mommies forgotten pump pieces? Or am I the only forgetful one out there?

Side note: See the bag in the picture? It’s called The Nurse Purse, and we think it’s a pretty cool breast pump bag that doesn’t look like a breast pump bag.

When you work and breastfeed, your breast pump becomes an essential tool that goes with you back and forth from the office. But what about all those parts?

Trying to balance breastfeeding and pumping at work?

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Tela

A cofounder of Working Moms Against Guilt, Tela is a working mom with a son, O, who was born in July, 2006.

15 Comments

  1. I love that you posted about pumping. I always forgot the bottles. I would have the plastic bags with me and would have to grab some rubber bands from my desk to help secure them to the pump.

    Another time I forgot the cute little bag you put your breast milk in once it’s pumped. You know the one that looks like a lunch bag that you put in the frig. I ended up using a Kroger bag. I was mortified that someone would accidentally get into it.

  2. Funny you mention this, because just today, I left the entire bag of pumping stuff at home – I just have the pump – no hoses, bottles, shields, membranes, nothing.

    They sit, nice and orderly on the countertop in the kitchen – swell.

    Hopefully Doug can swing by and grab them for me – as you can imagine, he’s super thrilled at the thought!!!

  3. How funny are you…I call myself the bag lady. I leave in the morning with my purse, breast pump, a bag for each kid and my lunch if I am lucky to remember. So, I am determined to get everyone in the car in one trip. I maneuver 2 bags onto each shoulder, the baby seat (Isabella) on my left arm, keys in my right hand and the 4 year old boy (Lucas) at my right side. Lucas has to be at my side otherwise he throws a fit if I walk to fast in front of him. I must be some kind of spectacle to my neighbors. Just getting to and from the car takes delicate planning!

    I have forgotten Isabella’s bottles on 2 occasions, the busiest days at the office of course, with meetings starting at 8am. What to you do…cancel the early meetings by phone and go home to retrieve the bottles, 2 hours later your back at work. It’s not a quick process, I live and work 40 minutes from daycare. But, on the positive side I have never forgotten breast pump parts. I have the Medella pump & style… LOVE IT. Everything is contained in the bag, pump parts, milk bottles and ice packs.

    Gone are the easy days of just one child! I have enjoyed beastfeeding both of my kids, but I can’t wait for the one year mark for Isabella. I’m tired of being tied to my pump and all the stuff. Good luck with O and all of your bags!

  4. Oh yeah. Forgot stuff all the time. I had to store my milk in the refrigerator in the PACU where everyone got to look at it right next to the medications (not that I cared). Jude had his first bout of formula when I spilled the entire bottle of breast milk. I shead a tear and then found how freeing formula was! : )

  5. I can totally relate to feeling like a pack horse. On Mondays I have my purse, pump and laptop. Fortunately my husband bring the baby to school because I couldn’t handle another thing. For some reason none of the straps stay on my shoulders so I end up dragging at least one thing behind me.

    Fortunately, I leave my breast pump locked up at the office during the week and only bring it home on weekends. So I always have the pump, but about once every couple of months I leave the bottles at home, which sort of renders the pump useless. I have made more than one run to target mid-day to buy bottles that fit on the pump properly.

  6. I kept forgetting something important every time Lily had to go to Grandma’s or her Aunt’s (like bottles, wipes, change of clothes, etc!) so I made a checklist and hung it inside one of the kitchen cabinets. Then I saw in ‘Parents’ an idea to make a checklist with a luggage tag and hang it on the baby bag. Brilliant! Now I don’t forget to pack stuff and they don’t forget to send it all back!

  7. Oh, yeah. I remember this well!

    One day, about a couple months after going back to work, I had a very busy day. I finally got a chance to pump and went into the little room, took off my layers of clothing… and the pump bag was empty. I had, however, remembered to put in the chilled blue ice thingy. How convenient.

    I had to put all my clothes and equipment back on (including bulletproof vest, which isn’t very comfy with engorged boobies), drive 51-minutes through traffic (without lights and siren, although I, personally, considered it to be a bit of an emergency) to get home, where I could finally pump. I think I filled about three bottles.

    It’s a good thing I have a very understanding boss. But I didn’t forget again after that.

  8. I had two pumps; one I left at work, the other (smaller) one was for home. I’d bring the powerful work one home on weekends.

  9. I generally remember my pumping items, but twice I have spilled out my entire bottle of pumping effort. It really is devestating! One time it leaked all over the carpet, and I tried to sheepishly wipe it up without anyone noticing. It creates such a crusty white mess on the pump as well.
    I have about 3 weeks to go until I hit the year mark. I only have two small bottles still in the freezer, and I have this weird sense of anxiety about not making it to the year end without buying formula. Anyone else experience that?

  10. After similar experiences to yours, I kept a big stash of extras for the pump at the office. It was worth the expense. I’ve also left everything for daycare at a cubby at daycare and refresh about once a month. It’s very helpful when they become toddlers and want to walk out the door with just your kid.

  11. Wow. You all have such great ideas! I think I might have to incorporate some of them into my routine. Except maybe storing my milk in a Kroger bag. 🙂

    For awhile, O was getting a bottle of formula at daycare. I couldn’t keep up with the pumping after a bout with an intestinal flu that took me out for a few days, and the he was consistently drinking about 25 ounces at daycare, so I started sending a bottle of formula. It was a HUGE burden off my shoulders. He didn’t have problems taking it (although he does like it really warm), and I haven’t had to buy any b/c I’m still working through all the free samples I got. He back to an all BM-diet now that he’s eating more solids.

  12. Yikes.. I didn’t put the milk in the Kroger bag..lol I meant I used it as the carring bag, instead of the one that comes with your pump for transporting milk back and forth…lol

  13. rghh.. I hate when that happens. I forget lids from time to time, but I keep a supply of extra bags in there just in case. I have forgotten the entire bag once or twice. That was fun. I love going to meetings out of the office either first or last of the day. Carrying all kinds of gear looking like I am on safari. It is also fun when I have meetings out of the office in securitized buildings. Nothing like going through a long line of people in a high powered office building and having security stop and look at the scanner for several minutes while you say “breast pump” — “breast pump”…

  14. Loved your article! I actually forgot a essential pump piece (like the yellow piece on your pump) tonight and have 6 more hours to work! Glad I am not alone!

  15. So glad I’m not alone. I realize you posted this ages ago, but I forgot my breast shield at home today, too. Thought about just using the connector part, but thought that probably won’t work….Once while I was rinsing, the membrane slipped out between my fingers and proceeded to wash down the drain! I looked on in horror wondering what I was going to do! haha!

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