Just because you’re a mom doesn’t mean you want to look like one.
While the stretch marks, cellulite and extra pounds we’ve gained from having our children are well worth it, at the end of the day, we’re still women.
We don’t want to look frumpy, messy and disorganized. We want to look stylish while rocking our new duties as moms.
If you don’t want to let your fashion sense fall by the wayside just because you’ve had a kid, but you also need a bag that’s functional enough to carry everything you need, you’ve come to the right place.
Here’s how to find a breast pump bag that does its job with style.
|1. Sarah Wells Claire||Best For Working Moms|
|2. Bananafish Fashion||Best Backpack|
|3. Sarah Wells “Kelly”||Best Convertible Bag|
|4. The New Yorker||Best Luxury Breast Pump Bag|
|5. Sarah Wells “Annie”||Best for Exclusively Pumping|
|6. Dr. Brown’s Carryall||Best Budget Pick|
|7. Nurse Purse Fern||Best for Occasional Pumping|
|8. Kaylaa Premium||Best Large Size|
|9. J.L. Childress||Most Stylish Pick|
|10. Sarah Wells Lizzy||Best with Cooler|
Are Breast Pump Bags Necessary?
Breast pumps have a lot of pieces to them, and they can be big and fairly heavy. They aren’t going to fit into most ordinary purses while still leaving room for the other items you have to carry around with you on a day-to-day basis.
But aside from the convenience aspect, carrying traditional breast pump cases into work is a little embarrassing. When I would bring in the free bag that came with my breast pump to work, my co-workers would instantly know what was in it. They didn’t even have to ask — they could spot it a mile away.
While my co-workers knew I pumped anyway during my lunch breaks because I worked in a small building, I didn’t enjoy everybody in the office knowing my business.
And if you happen to have any creepy guys working with you, you especially don’t want to give them an extra reason to think about your boobs.
The best way to avoid awkwardness when it comes to breast pumping is to find a discreet bag (not the obvious one that comes with the breast pump) that you’re comfortable and confident using on the sly.
When Should I Begin Using One?
You’ll want to have a breast pump bag ready to go as soon as you return from the hospital. While you might be staying at home for a week or two, slowly you’re going to start venturing out to visit friends or relatives.
Your best bet is to select one a few weeks before your delivery date, along with your other baby gear (source). That way, if you go into labor earlier than you think, you won’t be scrambling to find something while trying to take care of your new baby.
What Should I Look For?
Whether you’re using it for work, for vacations or simply for days away from home, your bag should meet all your basic needs — and look good doing it.
Here are some things a great breast pump bag should be:
- Easy to use: If you struggle to fit your pump in the bag or if it’s difficult to open, that bag just isn’t for you.
- Durable: Breast pumps and their accessories can be pretty heavy so your bag should be strong enough to put up with that kind of weight on a daily basis (source).
- Lightweight: Since pumps can be quite heavy, so you don’t want your carry bag adding any unnecessary extra weight.
- Practical features: Your bag should have enough pockets to keep you happy and enough spare room to carry any extra items you may need with you. It should also have a designated lined area for storing your pumped milk.
- Stylish: You want a bag that you’ll feel good about carrying, preferably one that doesn’t scream that you’ve got your pumping equipment stashed in there.
- Affordable: You won’t feel good about a bag if all you can think about each time you look at it is how much you spent on it. On the other hand, you don’t want to pinch pennies and end up with something that breaks a month down the line.
- Versatility: If you’re heading out for a night away without your baby, it’d be nice to get some extra mileage out of your pump bag by using it as an overnight bag. Choose a bag that can be reused as a beach bag, a carry-on, or a bag to haul your laptop in.
The Best Breast Pump Bags of 2018
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the enormous amount of baby gear that’s suddenly in your life, you may be relieved to find that there’s a bag out there that can keep the chaos at bay and make you feel like you’ve got everything organized and under control. If you’re ready to go out into the world as a pumping mama, the right bag will have you covered.
Here are our top 10 picks for 2018:
1. Sarah Wells “Claire” Breast Pump
This high-end bag has thermally lined pockets at the bottom of the bag on each side, where you can put your pump and accessories. You can even use ice packs in the thermal pockets to keep your expressed milk cold for up to six hours.
It looks stylish, but it’s also easy to clean. You can just wipe the inside or outside of the bag with a damp cloth since the material is made from nylon.
It’ll fit a variety of breast pumps, including popular brands like Medela, Spectra, Ameda and Freemie.
- It has shoulder straps and a cross-body strap, which gives you a choice on how to wear it.
- You can also fit a laptop in this on top of all your pumping equipment.
- It has multiple pockets for your essentials.
- There’s a pocket on the outside that’s perfect for your cell phone.
- It’s expensive.
- This bag is so big that shorter women may feel it’s too much for them.
2. Bananafish Fashion Breast Pump Bag
This Bananafish bag will fit Spectra pumps, as well as all of the best-selling pumps you may be considering.
It even has a drop-down pocket that has a spot for your baby’s picture. Having that picture nearby when you’re pumping can help with your letdown, which is important when you’re trying to pump while you’re away from your baby.
This purse is made with neutral colors — black, taupe and khaki, so it will go with many outfits without clashing.
Despite its many pockets and stylish appearance, this is a well-designed bag that will easily hold your equipment and accessories.
- It has both carrying handles and a long, adjustable shoulder strap.
- This bag has a special pocket for your cooler bag.
- It’s highly affordable.
- Some moms have had trouble with the zipper getting stuck.
- You won’t have lots of room left over after fitting all your pumping equipment in.
3. Sarah Wells “Kelly” Breast Pump Bag
This bag can be a shoulder bag or a backpack. It’ll work however you want to wear it.
Since it’s made out of nylon, it’s a breeze to clean. All you have to do is wipe it down with a damp cloth.
This bag is extra tall, making it one of the few brands out there that can handle hospital-grade pumps like the Symphony.
It has eight pockets, which should be enough for even the most organized of moms. It even has a padded laptop pocket that can hold a 17-inch laptop, which is great news for busy moms who need to multi-task.
- It has a water bottle pocket that can hold two water bottles or baby bottles.
- For fitting so much stuff inside, this bag doesn’t feel too large.
- You can keep your keys, lip balm and phone in one of the outside pockets so they don’t get buried at the bottom of the bag.
- It’s more than some women will want to spend.
- The backpack straps are pretty thin which makes them dig into your shoulders.
4. The New Yorker Breast Pump Bag by Charlie G
This sleek, elegant bag will go with all your outfits. It’s black so it won’t clash with anything, plus it won’t show dirt or stains the way lighter-colored bags will.
It’s nice-looking enough that you can use it in both a professional context or for your personal life. It was created by a mom who wanted to find a chic bag that she would be comfortable carrying around.
It fits Ameda, Medela, Philips and Spectra pumps, and more. It also has a designated cooler compartment that fits many of the brand name coolers that come with pumps. That way you’ll be able to safely transport your hard-earned breast milk.
- It has drop handles and a crossbody strap.
- It even comes with a dust bag so you can store it when not in use.
- It has metal feet so your bag won’t rest on the floor.
- This bag is expensive.
- The zippers can be difficult to zip.
5. Sarah Wells 'Annie' Breast Pump Bag
This bag is made of black material that shouldn’t show any dirt or stains, even with heavy use. The faux leather material is durable so it will hold up month after month.
It can fit most of the popular portable pumps and has high-weight straps that won’t break under the strain of all the stuff you cram in your bag.
Choose from the cross-body strap or handles when carrying to find what’s most comfortable for you.
- It has exterior pockets so you can store your items like your phone and keys that you need easily accessible.
- Thermally-lined pockets are included so you can store your pumped milk right in the bag.
- It’s expensive.
- It doesn’t easily fit a laptop and a pump at the same time.
6. Dr. Brown’s Breast Pump Carryall Tote
You won’t get all the bells and whistles that you’ll get with the more expensive bags, but this one will still do the job at a fraction of the cost.
It has a classic design that isn’t fancy, but it’s nevertheless a discreet bag that people would never guess is actually holding a breast pump.
The gray color will go with a variety of outfits, and it’s made of polyester that’s easy to clean with a damp cloth. While this isn’t the biggest bag on the market, it will hold most breast pumps as well as a bottle cooler bag.
- It has multiple pockets so you can stay organized.
- Easy to clean.
- There are no built-in thermal pockets.
- The side pockets open up into the main part of the bag, and aren’t separate compartments.
7. Fern Nurse Purse
This highly versatile bag can accommodate the majority of breast pumps on the market. It has a removable or adjustable insert so it works as a diaper bag, gym bag or an overnight tote.
You won’t need to completely take your pump apart between uses because you’ll have easy access to your whole pump with this bag.
It has side pockets for water bottles and enough room for a laptop if you want to carry one with you.
This is also quite light so the weight you’ll feel is from the items you bring with you — not from the bag.
- Stylish design with a fun print.
- The removable insert makes it more versatile.
- It’s roomy enough for a laptop too.
- It’s fairly expensive.
- The straps could be more comfortable.
8. Kaylaa Premium
This cheery-looking bag can cram in a lot. It looks more like an overnight bag or beach bag than a breast pump bag.
It has insulated pockets that are resistant to water and spills. And you can use ice packs in the pockets to keep your pumped milk cold until you can get home to store it properly.
It’s big enough to store most of the popular breast pumps as well as a laptop and anything else you’ll need during your day away from home. It has separate zippered pockets so you can store smaller items without spending valuable time trying to locate them in the rest of the bag.
- This bag is huge.
- The compartments for the pump and bottles are separate.
- It’s easy to clean.
- It’s pricier than some other options.
- Some moms have had trouble with the handles breaking.
9. J.L. Childress Breast Pump Bag
This bag comes with a whopping six pieces. You’ll get the pump bag, a cooler bag, a wet bag, an accessories bag, a dry cloth and a handbook that offers tips, guidelines and encouraging words. The cooler bag can hold four bottles or up to eight storage bags of milk.
The dry cloth is a nice touch because it can be used to wipe up spills and can be placed on your lap to safeguard your pants against leaks.
This black bag is made of water-resistant material that can be wiped down quickly when it needs to be cleaned.
- It has several pockets, including a pen pocket.
- This bag looks sophisticated but not too fancy so that you can use it at work or a day out with friends.
- The dry cloth is a nice addition.
- Although you get a lot of items for your money, it’s fairly expensive.
- It isn’t as big as many others which may be disappointing to women hoping to fit a laptop in there too.
10. Sarah Wells “Lizzy” Breast Pump Bag
This bag can double as a carry-on bag or a beach bag when you aren’t using it for pumping. You can stick a towel in the lower pump section of the bag and be all set for a day on the beach.
It has thermally lined pockets you can use to store recently expressed milk along with an ice pack to keep it cool for approximately 6 hours. In case of any spills, this bag is easy to clean since it’s made of wipeable nylon.
- This bag is lightweight.
- It’s super stylish.
- It’s versatile and you can use it long after you’re done with pumping.
- It’s expensive.
- The straps could use a little extra padding to make them more comfortable.
How to Organize a Breast Pump Bag
If organization isn’t your forte, don’t worry. In addition to the pump, pump accessories and bottles, make sure you’ve got the following on hand and you’ll be covered:
- Wet bags: You’ll need Ziplocs or specially designed bags to hold your breast pump parts and flanges, and keep them clean and in one place. A good idea is to store clean items in one side pocket and used items in another.
- Pump wipes: In a pinch you might need to simply wipe down the pump until you can wash it more thoroughly at home later. Pump wipes also double as hand wipes or a quick solution if you spill milk on your clothing.
- Pumping bra: Don’t forget to include any special bras you might use while you pump, plus a spare just in case. Throw in a few breast pads while you’re at it.
- Ice packs: If you’re carrying milk for a while, it’s a good idea to keep some ice packs around. Look for slim lunch-box styles and keep a few at home in the freezer to replace as you go.
- Something to sterilize: You might like to pack a cold water sterilizer solution or else a microwave steam sterilizer bag to keep your pumping accessories clean on-the-go. These won’t take up much space but can make a huge difference.
- Little luxuries: Pack a small jar of nipple cream that can double as hand cream since you’ll be washing your hands frequently. A small cloth can come in handy, and a water bottle and a small snack is great if pumping leaves you feeling a little drained sometimes. A picture of your baby or a book to pass the time might also work for you.
How to Clean a Breast Pump Bag
Most bags will be made of synthetic material that’s easy to wipe down with a damp cloth. If yours is made entirely of fabric, read the label to check if it can be hand washed or put in the washing machine. Otherwise, a breast pump bag isn’t that different from any other bag or backpack: spot clean when necessary with a little warm water and dish soap.
It’s a good idea to keep hand sanitizer, wipes, a cloth, a little sponge or one of each in your bag to quickly catch spills and keep things fresh and clean. Store your bag open when not in use to prevent musty smells from developing.
From the first glance, my favorite breast pump bag was the Sarah Wells “Abby”. I love the style — it looks like you’re taking a vacation instead of heading out for an ordinary day. And fortunately, the performance of this bag matches its appearance.
While it is expensive, it’s a great bag that has real leather straps that feel comfortable under all the weight you’ll be lugging around, and they’ll hold up well without breaking.
It has thermally-lined pockets so you can keep your breast milk cold after you’ve pumped. Plus, the bag is easy to clean and includes photo pouches so you can always have a picture of your baby with you.
Let me know about any useful bags you have tried in the past — I always love to hear about great new products and which ones to stay away from. We mothers have to watch each other’s backs!