As my maternity leave was coming to a close, I started thinking about how I would organize all of my baby and pumping STUFF. I work part time, and only go in to the office twice a week, so I had a few different scenarios playing out in my head ---
Daily: Running errands with baby (baby & personal stuff)
Once a week: At work without baby (work, pumping, & personal stuff)
Once a week: At work with baby (baby, work, & personal stuff)
Rare: Out without baby and not needing to pump (personal stuff)
Since all of these scenarios happen every week, I began to feel overwhelmed with the amount of stuff I would be carrying and switching from bag to bag.
I thought for a while on how to make it work, and finally came up with a system that has been working REALLY well for me.
1. Invest in 3 bags that you love
The first bag should be your regular purse for times when baby is not with you.
The second should be your daily, manageable-sized diaper bag.
The third should be a big bag that can fit everything but the kitchen sink. This is for work.
I purchased this weekender bag from Target.
2. Make personal items easy to transfer.
The one common denominator that I would need for every situation is my personal items - wallet, phone, keys, chapstick, hairbrush, mirror, etc.
All the small items that are a pain to dig around for and transfer to another bag.
I purchased a $3 burlap tote in the Target dollar section. It has flimsy sides, so it fits in to my smaller purse, as well as my big bags. When I'm going from bag to bag, I just grab this rather than trying to find all my small stuff.
The key here is to make sure your personal items always go back in this bag.
3. The bag that you take for work should fit EVERYTHING you need.
The hardest part about having lots of stuff is having to juggle and carry it all in. Your large bag should fit your pumping gear, lunch, work folders, laptop, personal items, etc.
This way you are carrying in and wrangling 1 bag, rather than 4+.
4. Put your pump parts in a tupperware
As you pump throughout the day, put the parts back in the tupperware, and refrigerate. No need to wash after each pumping session.
When you get home at the end of the day, wash right in the same tupperware, or throw in the dishwasher. I don't sanitize my pump parts after every single use... I don't have scientific evidence or anything that this is a good idea, but I feel like if I don't sanitize my own dishes then I think the pump parts will be safe as well.
5. Create a packing list
Each night before work, I pack what I need for the next day. I have a packing list on my phone so that I can just go through checking off items. This saves me time and sanity so that I'm not thinking about what I need, and I don't risk forgetting things.
I use Wunderlist, but you can use whatever list making organization you already like.
The key is to set something up so that you don't have to think about what you need.
What's nice about Wunderlist is that after I check off an item, I can uncheck it for the next week... and then check off again. I don't have to recreate the list each time.
The list I need for when I work on Wednesdays, is different for the list I need when I go to work on Fridays (since baby comes with me on Fridays). So I have two different lists set up in Wunderlist.
6. Keep the cables hooked up to your pump
This seems really, really small, but for some reason it helps things go faster. I don't have to untangle or hook anything up. It's all right there.
7. Buy a pumping bra
I purchased this one and really love it. It was cheaper than other one's I've seen, and it doesn't require that I take off the undergarments I'm already wearing.
And a pumping bra makes it so you can double pump, and massage at the same time... getting more milk faster.
I hope this is helpful!!