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When I started drafting this post, my plan was to share my favorite products for helping make my breastfeeding journey a little smoother. But then the post quickly got so long I had to make a cut off. So today I am sharing my favorite breast pumping products! In a future post I plan to share my breastfeeding essentials that are not exclusive to pumping.
These Are My Breast Pumping Essentials
Elvie Stride Breast Pump
The Elvie Stride is a hands-free breast pump (but not tube free). I chose the Elvie Stride for a few different reasons. My biggest need was for pumping at work in an office. I knew that it wouldn’t be ideal to be plugged into a wall every time I needed to pump. So hands free was the logical choice.
I will be honest and say that there are probably equal negative and positive reviews for the Elvie Stride. There is also a small learning curve, but I would argue that is a standard part of the experience for any breast pump that you may use.
What I like about the Elvie Stride is that it fits comfortably on my breasts. I have also heard women of all chest sizes successfully using the Elvie Stride. Many times I don’t even feel the stimulation on my nipples. I can also work while I pump. This keeps my stress levels lower since I don’t feel like I am losing time out of my work day. On my best pumps, I get about 4-5 ounces per breast. The Elvie Stride has more than enough space to accommodate that volume.
The “negative” aspects don’t personally bother me. But I want to include them so you can make an informed decision.
There are 6 parts to each cup. This may or may not be a lot for you. Each time you use the pump you need to make sure it is completely dry and that all the parts are sealed correctly. Moisture and poor seals can impact your milk output and can also cause leaks. I found out the hard way that I didn’t have a good seal one day when all the milk soaked my shirt instead of collecting in the cup.
You also cannot use the pump while it is charging. You can get a handful of pump sessions out of it before you need to re-charge it, but it’s a good idea to carry the charger with you.
Purchasing Your Elvie Stride
There are two avenues I recommend to purchase your pump. Which one you choose will depend on budget and time.
Aeroflow is a free service that serves as the liaison between you and your insurance company. Just input your insurance information on their website and Aeroflow will contact your insurance for you and let you know what breast pumps qualify. You can then purchase directly through Aeroflow
They take a little over a week to process your claim and are a great solution to compare your options. One note: I have heard that not everyone is in network for Aeroflow. Depending on where you are located, you may not be able to take advantage of their service
Of course, Amazon is a popular and easily accessible choice.. The only drawback is you cannot use any insurance benefits.
I will be honest, I went back and forth on the Ceres Chill for awhile because of the price tag. Retailing for about $70, I needed to be convinced that it was a purchase I had a use for. I first learned about the Ceres Chill from the Milk Minute Podcast, and I trust their sponsored content, especially since Maureen Feral herself uses one.
What Convinced Me The Ceres Chill Was Worth Purchasing
I was planning a day long trip to Cedar Point, an amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio. We were going to be gone for about 12 hours and I knew that I would need to pump the entire day. Although the park had really great accommodations for lactating parents, I still had some challenges with figuring out how to store my breastmilk. Specifically, how did I keep it at a safe temperature?
My first thought was to invest in a good soft, insulated cooler bag that I could store at least 6 bottles of pumped milk. But, that posed additional challenges. I needed ice packs; I needed to store it during my visit; I needed to make sure no one would tamper with the bottles; I needed to keep it cold on the drive home.
That is when I decided to check out the Ceres Chill. When I first visited the website, I really liked the product, but I did question whether I could accomplish the same outcome with my HydroFlask. I read the details of the product and examined my HydroFlask. For the purposes of storing breastmilk on the go, the Ceres Chill is several steps above a HydroFlask.
What made the Ceres Chill unique is it’s inner chamber. Because of the inner chamber, you can customize how you store your milk, and you can better guarantee the temperature that is being maintained. With the inner chamber, I filled it with ice and cold water once I got to the park and then my pumped milk fills the large chamber- the inner chamber immediately chills it and keeps it cold. I pumped around 20 ounces of milk that day and I was able to carry it with me in my backpack. I also loved that I only had one container to worry about, instead of multiple bottles. And, it never had to leave my sight.
An Everyday Essential
I now use the Ceres Chill everyday when pumping at work and I love it for the same reasons. I am able to keep it on my desk all day and not worry about having to run back and forth to the fridge. It is one bottle, no different than carrying a water bottle, and is easy to have on the go.
I have since decorated my Ceres Chill with breastfeeding themed stickers from small artists on Etsy. Safe to say it is my designated breastfeeding icon.
It is a product that I am so glad I invested in and I would do it all over again. As an added benefit, there are a variety of add ons you can purchase as your breastfeeding journey transforms, such as nipples to transform the inner chamber into a bottle or sippy cup. When your breastfeeding journey is over, you can use it as a water bottle or thermos for yourself.
You can purchase the Ceres Chill direct from their website, but it is also available on Amazon!
Wet bags can be used for a variety of practical purposes. I encourage you to have a couple in your household at all times. They are a must if you use re-usable menstrual products. They are great for wet or dirty clothes or swimsuits. And they are great for transporting the Elvie Stride Cups and baby bottles!
I only use the wet bag for the cups, keeping the pump and tubing separate just to avoid any chance of milk or moisture getting in and damaging those parts. The bag can also be used for transporting my daughter’s filled bottles for Daycare (I have a short commute so I don’t worry about putting them in a cooler, once she arrives at daycare they go straight into the fridge.)
I am a fan of wet bags because they contain smells, are easy to clean, and eliminate single use waste. Instead of using plastic ziploc bags that get thrown out every day, I just need one wet bag.
You can find wet bags from a variety of brands or on Amazon, but my personal favorites, for quality and design, are the wet bags from Lil Helpers.
Lil Helpers is my go to brand for cloth diapers, but they also make a range of other products for all stages of life. They currently have a 15% off sale for the holiday season, so this is a great time to try them out.
They have several different wet bag styles depending on your needs. The one that I use for my breast pump is the Zipper Wet Bag.
I also am a fan of their Dry/Wet Bag, which I use for cloth diapers while out and about. But it is also great if you need larger storage and want to have clean/soiled items all in one place.
What Are Your Favorite Breast Pumping Supplies?
If you pump, what are your essential items to have? What led you to pick these items?
If you try out any of my recommendations, let me know what you think.