Breastfeeding on a Budget: Top 3 Breastfeeding Essentials for the Budget Conscious Working Mom
So you made the decision to breastfeed your baby. Congratulations! You made a great choice. If you’re like me, chances are, the next on your list is to research on how to successfully breastfeed while working. As you scrounge the internet for like experiences, you will encounter a plethora of breastfeeding products, each one making sense for you to have. However tempting it is to just buy it all, my practical self suggests you to stick to the essentials first, then add more as you go along. This way you save some bucks for other baby stuff (trust me, you’ll need more), plus have a lighter load (because carrying a huge bag on top of your work bag is no fun especially when you’re engorged!).
So what do you really need? I mean, if you can only buy three things at a given time, what should you go for?
- A good manual/electric pump: I cannot stress on this enough – invest in a good pump. A good pump doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive but must be suited your needs and preferences. If you are only allowed short breaks, I suggest go for a double electric pump. If your office doesn’t a lactation room or your job requires you to be on the go constantly, I suggest you go for a rechargable and smaller pump. I did a lot of research on pumps available in the Philippines, and chose Horigen Innovature as my weapon of choice (review to be posted soon!).
- Breastmilk containers: you can either go for disposable bags or something reusable such as breastmilk storage bottles, cups and trays. Again, the best choice would depend on your usage. Are you planning to freeze your milk for long? If yes, then breastmilk bags may be a good choice if you can’t stock up on a lot of reusable storage bottles due to cost. Since I only store milk for a week max, I stocked up on Bebeta storage bottles (php 200 per 4 pieces) which is cost effective yet of good quality. I also bought these Avent storage cups which is a bit on the expensive side but can also double as food containers for babies 6 months and above.
- Pump Bag: The bag where your milk and pump goes must be given thought too. Will you be travelling your milk for more than 3 hours? Then you will need an insulated bag big enough to store your bottles and ice pack. Otherwise even a simple lunch bag will do. You may need to think about where to store your pump too. I made a mistake of placing my pump in the upper compartment of my milk bag with the ice pack directly underneath it on the lower storage, and broke my pump in the process :(.
There you go! consider these three your working mom breastfeeding starter kit. The following may be added depending on where you will be pumping:
- Nursing Bra: it’s more convenient if you have one but a normal bra works with some manipulation as well.
- Breast Pads: Nice to have but a carefree liner cut in the middle works just as fine if needed.
- Ice bags: Needed if you have no freezer in the office and/or will be travelling with the milk in tow for more than 3 hours. Otherwise an insulated bag is enough for short travels especially if your milk is just taken out of the freezer.
- Nursing cover: May be used if your office has no lactation room (which must never be the case as per law by the way!), but when you pump in a lactation room, you will come to realize that you will be fine without it. A huge sarong/balabal will work fine for this purpose too!
Disclaimer: I am not the best breastfeeding resource. I was only able to exclusively breastfeed via pump and latch for 7 months straight, then got on to mixed feeding. But for someone with 4 children and a demanding job requiring 5 hours commute time daily, it was an achievement for me.
Is there anything else you consider part of your breastfeeding essentials as a working mom? If yes, feel free to drop me a comment here, or send an email to email@example.com.
Wishing you the best on your breastfeeding journey!