Breastfeeding pro and working mom extraordinaire Jessica Shortall is a working mom with a career dedicated to the intersection of business and doing good. As the former Director of Giving for TOMS Shoes, she literally circumnavigated the globe with a breast pump. Here she shares the new products that will help moms navigate the two. Check out Shortall’s book, Work. Pump. Repeat.: The New Mom’s Survival Guide to Breastfeeding and Going Back to Work, available now.
I’m not really a “stuff” person when it comes to parenting. I think there are a lot of gadgets that do an unintended but effective job of telling us that we can’t figure things out on our own, or convincing us that the world is far too dangerous or dirty for our kids, or that everything absolutely has to be in a cute print or you’re losing at motherhood. But, I also firmly believe that when it comes to breastfeeding and work, you need some survival stuff. That said, these new products will make succeeding at both a bit easier.
- Pariday TendHer Pillows: These reusable little pillows, filled with a food-based, non-toxic gel, can go in the fridge and then in your bra on your sore, sore boobs in those early days of breastfeeding. Or even later, at work, when the pump doesn’t feel so great. You can also heat them up in a cup of warm water (not the microwave) to relieve a clogged-ducts situation. And Pariday also make a perineal strip! Hooray for painful perinea! Okay, it ain’t sexy, but believe me, you’ll want something like this.
- The Pump Strap: There are a zillion hands-free pumping bras out there, and I like a lot of them, but I’ve never seen this one before. It’s made out of wetsuit material, so it’s super stretchy and designed so you can wear a regular bra, which you then just push up around your neck while you throw this thing on to pump. I especially like their pain-relieving hack of throwing a bag of frozen peas inside the bra. Why didn’t I ever think of that?
- Lansinoh Ultimate Protection Nursing Pads: Are you a leaker? Does your baby sleep through the night but your boobs don’t? Do you have a busy work day and you don’t particularly appreciate having Tim from Accounting asking you why your shirt is wet? These new pads (they’ll be available in January so check back on their site) hold twenty times their weight in leaked breastmilk. That’s a lot of leaking. They aren’t really much thicker than regular boob diapers, so hopefully they live up to that promise.
- Snugabell PumpEase Wet Bag: Sized to fit two pump bottles, flanges, and connectors, this cute reusable waterproof bag can hold your unwashed pump parts and go straight into the work fridge without anyone knowing what’s in there. They’re currently out of stock through December, but they’ll be back soon with new prints so keep an eye out for their return.
- Mimijumi Bottle: This super simple bottle comes in two sizes, “Not So Hungry” and “Very Hungry” with a rubber base to prevent spills on the counter. They say the nipple design helps a baby use the same latching and compression/sucking mechanisms as they do when breastfeeding. I never got to use these with my kids, so I can’t speak to them directly, but I like the idea for families worried about breast/bottle back-and-forth confusion. And they’re working on expanding the skin tones for the nipples, which I think is so great.
- J uno Blu Breast Pump Bag: There is literally nothing on earth that would make me want to pump again, but this new bag came close. I recall my black breastmilk-stained, “this is TOTALLY a briefcase bag,” and then I think about this beauty (available November 15), and I just cringe.
- Peek Aaway’s 4-in-1 Essentials Kit: This is a cool multipurpose carrying case for when you’re on-the-go with baby. It’s a lightweight unit that can convert into a nursing cover, breastfeeding pillow, diaper bag and changing pad, that also has pockets for your phone, keys and other small necessities.
- Milkmakers Lemon Zest Lactation Cookies: I’m a moderate when it comes to lactation supplements. Many women can make enough milk for their babies, and I don’t want any products to convince them, off the bat, that they can’t. But some women really do benefit from supplements, so why the hell not have them in cookie form? A lot of lactation cookies taste, well, supplement-y, but these were ridiculously good, just like a straight-up cookie.
So there you have it, my pumping and breastfeeding favorites. Along with the no. 1 thing you need if you’re working and pumping—a girlfriend who will regularly tell you what a great job you’re doing as a mom, regardless of how pumping and breastfeeding are going —these things would have been pretty darn helpful to me when I was in the thick of things. Have you tried any of these? Have other products you love? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!
Looking for other baby essentials? Here’s what every working mom should register for—and what to skip.