Breast Pumping Essentials - Our Top Picks
Whether you are in preparation for your new arrival and want to make sure you have everything you need to start your pumping journey, or a mama looking to update your pumping routine, our handy checklist is here to help inspire you and support you with our pumping recommendations.
Choosing a breast pump can be an overwhelming task with so many different options available. We recommend to establish what matters to you and fits in best with your lifestyle. Some mothers are looking for a small or portable pump, whereas others prefer having the maximum number of cycle settings and strengths that they can choose from. Pumping is a personal journey, and the pump you choose is personal to you.
All of our Spectra electric range are double pumps and you can also feel safe in choosing a Spectra pump as all of our options have a closed system, preventing milk backflow and keeping it hygienic for you and your baby.
Breast pumps can be electric or manual, with electric pumps providing ease and power whilst pumping, whereas manual pumps require you to physically
Having a Backup Option - Manual Pump
If you rely heavily on your pump, and are exclusively pumping, we suggest having a manual pump as a backup. It eases pressure and stress off of you if anything were to ever go wrong with an electric pump.
The Spectra Handy Plus is everything mums would want from a manual breast pump. Manual pumps are ideal for occasional use by breast feeding Mums - you might want to go out for the evening, or away for the night but don't need to regularly pump.
The Spectra Handy Plus has an ultra-lightweight, ergonomic design that helps to reduce hand and wrist fatigue. It also comes with a silicon petal insert to gently cushion the breast and enhance milk flow.
Expression sets usually arrive with your pump of choice, and they include the breast shields and any other accessories that you would need to start pumping. These might not always be the size that you require, or you may want to purchase a couple of extra pairs for backups.
We provide two expression sets with 28mm breast shield, backflow protector, duckbill valve, tubing, storage bottle with the pump. Spectra shields also come in separate packs of 20mm, 24mm or 32mm. If these sizes don't suit you further compatible shields (Maymom) can be purchased in the following sizes; 15mm, 17mm, 19mm, 21mm, 23mm and 27mm.
Choosing the correct breast shield size is vital to being comfortable during your pumping sessions, and getting the best out of your pump. Please note that your nipple size can change from when you are pregnant to once you have given birth. Always measure both nipples, as they may not necessarily be the same size (they're sisters not twins!). Your size can also fluctuate throughout your pumping journey, so it is normal if you need a different size at a different stage.
You should measure before pumping / feeding, and add 3-5mm to your measurement to find your closest fitting flange.
15-17mm = 20mm shield
19-21mm = 24mm shield
23-25mm = 28mm shield
27-29mm = 32mm shield
We would recommend to have two extra breast shield sets for regular pumpers, just so you are never left without any of accessories if a pair are being sterilised.
We know that choosing the right size can be confusing, so we are always happy to help with any questions you may have, or talk you through the measuring process.
Another useful contact to have is the breastfeeding helpline, and can help with nursing and pumping queries. It offers friendly, non-judgemental, and independent evidence based support and information to anyone in the UK. It is available every day of the year, from 9:30am-9:30pm.
National Breastfeeding Helpline: 03001000212
It is super important to sterilise your feeding equipment, as even if they look clean they may still be carrying germs. There are different ways in which you can sterilise, including boiling, steaming, chemical and UV. The way in which you choose to sterilise your feeding equipment is a personal choice, what fits in with your lifestyle, and how much spare space you have to store.
Our top picks:
- UV sterilisers are generally at the higher end of the price range, but come packed full of handy features:
- Ultraviolet rays safely eliminate 99.99% of harmful bacteria in less than 40 minutes.
- With a handy checking window, LED control and temperature display all on the front of the device.
- Spacious interior and stylish exterior.
- Four modes: 1. Auto: Low temperature drying, UV sterilisation and ventilation. 2. Dry: Low temperature drying and ventilation. 3. UV: UV sterilisation and ventilation. 4. Storage: Sterilisation and ventilation, every 2 hours repeated 5 times (10 hours).
- Temperatures range up to 40 degrees which can be completely customisable to your needs
- Steam sterilisers are still effective, but won't have the same type of options that UV sterilisers provide.
- Fits the majority of microwaves thanks to the diameter of 28 cm and height of 16.5 cm (6.5 Inch). Also suitable for cold water sterilisation
- Smart design: This steam steriliser has a base with a water level mark for easy filling and proper measurement and the enhanced lid design has a draining function
- Large capacity: Uses two levels to sterilise up to six baby bottles in just five minutes. Products stay sterile for up to 24 hours if stored in the closed steriliser
Nipple soreness is very common whilst breastfeeding, especially in the early stages. Having nipple cream can make your feeding journey that little bit more comfortable and easier.
Our top pick for Nipple Cream is the Lansinoh Lanolin, as it is the only nipple cream to be awarded with the British Allergy Foundation Seal of Approval. The cream helps to soothe and protect cracked nipples, and is 100% natural and hypoallergenic with no perfume, taste, or additives. You do not need to remove the cream before breastfeeding, making it completely safe for both you and your baby.
Breast pads absorb milk that may leak between your feeding sessions, wearing them inside of your bra to help keep your clothes dry. It is common for your breasts to leak if it is around the time that you usually feed your baby, and also if you are pumping / nursing on one side, the other leaking, as your let-down reflex gets activated at the same time on both sides. Breast pads are especially great in the first few months of feeding, as it does take a little bit of time for your milk to be regulated.
There are many types of breast pads, with disposable and reusable options, different material and shape options too. Our choice for breast pads would be a reusable pad, as they are more cost efficient and more of an eco friendly choice, reducing your waste. Whatever option you go for, just make sure that they are comfortable for you, and absorbent, keeping your skin as less irritated as possible, and the longer you need to go before changing the pads.
Every mother is different, and will have different needs, however, we would recommend that starting with 6 pairs of reusable breast pads would be a good amount. This just makes sure that you can always have a couple at hand whilst the others are being washed.
Our top picks:
- Super soft and ultra-absorbent.
- Slim line making them extremely discrete under your clothing.
- Breathable PUL membrane to ensure no leaks.
- Washable at 30 or 40 degrees.
- Approx. 12cm diameter.
- Available in Black, Natural, Blue & Pink, Leapord Print.
- Thin, flexible, self-adhesive silicone nursing pads.
- Provide incredible leakage protection for breastfeeding mums.
- LilyPadz special soft, flexible and non-absorbent material conform to your breast for a secure fit.
- Invisible under your clothing.
Making your feeding journey a more comfortable experience can also be helped with the use of Lansinoh Therapearl 3-in-1 breast therapy. The soft, flexible pads mould to your breast, and provide 360 ° relief.
Recommended to use hot before a feed and whilst pumping, helping to encourage milk let-down, which could reduce the amount of time you spend pumping.
Use the pads cold between your feeds, as they help reduce the pain and swelling associated with engorgement or mastitis. The Thera pearl breast therapy is even still mouldable if you freeze the pads.
Pumping bras provide a solution for busy mums who need to multitask while pumping, leaving both of your hands free and keeping you on top of your to-do list. They allow you to remove some of the time constraint of pumping, with the bra serving as time-saving equipment.
We recommend to look for a soft, stretchy, and breathable material, to support you throughout your feeding journey. Having a wireless bra would also maximise comfort, keeping it easy to wear all day!
Our top pick:
- Easy to use- The bra uses a one-step feeding clip, which are discrete and easy to use, ensuring that the bra is convenient for you to use as a pumping bra, nursing bra, or to use the bra for pumping and nursing at the same time.
- Size adjustability- Each pumping bra is packaged with an extra bra extender, and fitted with adjustable shoulder straps, ensuring the suitability of the product and a comfortable fit throughout your bodily changes in the breastfeeding journey.
Nursing tops are popular, as with regular clothes you normally don’t have the space to fit your breast shields and move them around as you like. Nursing tops are great if you prefer to be more covered up whilst feeding or pumping, and can make you feel more comfortable.
Our top picks:
- Built-in shelf bra gives support and will also hold breast pads.
- Looks great alone or layered under clothing.
- Easily opens with one hand from either strap for discreet nursing.
- Each side opens independently for nursing, when one side is open the other continues to support.
- It has multi-purpose and can also be worn as an undergarment or as sleepwear.
- Made in 'Coolplus' a fabric ideally suited for casualwear as it features moisture-wicking properties which draw moisture away from the skin.
Having a little one to look after can be stressful and tiring, and you may notice your milk supply decrease if you’re especially fatigued. Fenugreek is a herb long used in alternative medicine. It's often taken as a supplement, and using Fenugreek helps lots of mamas boost their milk production in a simple way. Taking two capsules a day after your meals, can really help with your supply.
Our top pick:
- Fenugreek is safe for mother and baby
- 100% natural and vegan friendly
- A variety of factors such as fatigue or stress can cause a breastfeeding woman’s milk supply to decrease, and using Fenugreek can be a simple and effective way to boost production.
Milk Storage Bottles
With all that milk that you’re pumping, you’re going to need somewhere to store it all! We would recommend glass bottles as there is no need to worry about any harmful plastics contaminating your milk. Glass is also more durable than plastic, and can be sterilised up to higher temperatures.
Our top pick:
- Microwave & Freezer Safe: Ensuring it is a hassle free process warming up your milk, and unproblematic to freeze with the lid opening with ease once frozen.
- The bottles are made with an anti-leak technology, with the silicone sealing ring making them ideal for freezer storage too, as the lid will screw off with ease once frozen.
- Pack of 4 180ml glass storage bottles: Making storing your milk easy and convenient, with a large capacity of 180ml each.
- Wide Neck: You can even use them whilst pumping, and then screw the lid on for storage.
Milk Storage Bags
Storing breast milk in storage bags is a compact and convenient option, and many mothers prefer using them as they do not require cleaning. You can write on the bags with the date, and how much milk you pumped. Freezing your milk is also easy with the storage bags, as they can be laid flat and stacked, not taking up much room.
Our top picks:
- Allows mums to pump, store and feed babies breastmilk all in one simple product.
- Prevents the exposure of germs and outside contaminants that are often present when transferring milk from one storage solution to the next.
- The Bottle Connector easily connects to a Spectra flange when pumping, and seamlessly converts to a nipple connector when choosing to feed directly from the bag.
- Double lined and provide a strong seal ensuring leak-free insulation moms can count on.
Muslin is a light open weave material that gets softer with washing so great for baby's skin and helps to reduce overheating in young babies. Muslins are suitable for a huge variety of uses, such as summer sheets, discreet breast feeding, pram blankets, sun protection in the buggy as well as swaddling.
Our top pick:
- Extra-large size 120 x 120 cm keeping them suitable for: swaddling, summer blanket, sun shade, breastfeeding cover and many more uses.
- Super Soft 100% Cotton Muslin, approx 180g per muslin.
- Pre-washed and machine washable.
- Cute animal designs.
To help your baby achieve a good latch so that you can feed comfortably and successfully can be made much easier with the use of this handy bit of kit! If you are experiencing swollen breasts, or that your nipple has flattened, it can be frustrating as feeding won’t be going how you had hoped. With the latch assist, you can gently draw your nipple out enough for your baby to grasp, helping you along the way of a successful feeding session.
Our top pick:
Nipple shields are made of silicone and used for when you are experiencing nipple pain, or if your baby is having latching issues. We would recommend to look for nipple shields that have an area cut out, to allow more skin to skin contact between you and your baby. It might be time to start using nipple shields if you have with sore, cracked, or flat nipples, and if your baby is having difficulties with latching.
Our top pick:
Silicone Massagers are inserts for your breast shields that help to cushion and massage your breasts, which should help stimulate the milk ducts to increase milk flow, and hopefully an earlier let down.
Our top pick:
We hope that this checklist has provided some helpful insights to what may be useful to you to start your pumping or nursing journey. Just remember that every mamas journey is different and not all items mentioned are essential for everyone. You're doing a great job mama!
Our friendly team are always here to help with any queries or concerns you may have, so please don't hesitate to contact us if you need any assistance.