Tuesday, January 26, 2016

This is where I get all mom on you: Breast Pump Bags

Last night as I proceeded to search for a new bag (yes I am becoming a bag lady... but not that kind), it occurred to me that if there are any moms out there who are thinking about whether they should spend a few dollars on some "mommy conveniences", here are some of the ones that I bought or want to buy.

At this point in my life, I've been through kid one and now, I'm over the "make it work" stage and want things to work for me.  Maybe I'm getting old maybe I'm running out of space in my Yukon.  Either way, you get my unsolicited opinions (#ThanksForReading).

Let's start at the bags I was searching for last night, breast pump bags.  Dun, dun, ddduuuunnnnnnn!!  OK, they aren't that bad but if you are a lady like me who works in an office you have to consider a few things:

  1. You have a purse aka bag number one.  If you are anything like me, it's freaking giant because it moonlights as a diaper bag.
  2. The job you do requires that you use a computer.  In my case that is a laptop which I tend to tote to and fro work on a regular.  Maybe subconsciously I'm just trying to add weight to my body so I can get a few more calories burned as I leave work... maybe I'm trying to destroy my back... either way that baby goes home with me nearly every night.
  3. A lunch.  Some days this fits inside my giant purse but I'm always scared that something is going to spill and get sauce, grease or something similarly disgusting in the black hole of a purse.
  4. A pump bag.  
Let's talk about this "pump bag"  Last time I needed to pump, I did go ahead a purchase a bag specifically dedicated to my pump supplies.  I purchased it off of Etsy and it was a great bag.  I carried that bag for nearly a year Monday through Friday and sometimes on the weekend as well.  They's go over the pros and cons of this bag:

  • It is large enough to carry all my pump supplies.  It even has a little compartment for my Medela Pump In Style Advanced to nest into, which can be removed
  • There is a flap in the front that keeps the pump nest hidden
  • There are pockets on each side
  • There is a pocket in the back
  • The top flap has a magnetic closure
  • The strap is long and wide to accommodate and distribute weight (even though my pump stuff never seems that heavy, maybe because I carry a 20 lb purse everywhere)
  • It's structured enough to stand on it's own but not so structured that you can't smash it down if you needed to fit it somewhere
  • It's a pretty grey and white chevron print with a robin's egg blue lining and grey piping around the edges which I chose.  On the bottom it is also vinyl so it can be wiped off if need be.
  • There are feet on the bottom of the bag

  • It's big and boxy.  It does hold all my pump supplies but that is kind of it.  I probably have space for my lunch but see the point below
  • It's cotton and cotton gets dirty and stains easily. There are feet on the bottom but they don't keep the bottom of the bag from being on the floor entirely.  It's constantly getting dirty
  • It lies awkwardly against my body when I carry it.  Maybe I don't have enough weight in it.  It flops oddly and tends to slide off my shoulder as I carry it.  That could have something to do with the three other things I'm carrying...
  • The compartment was supposed to be made specific to the pump I had with my daughter the Ameda... it was only made for a Medela Pump In Style which I have now
  • The pockets on the side are deep enough to keep a few things in but I'd probably want to keep my keys or phone in there so I'd like a closure on the top
  • The pocket in the back to actually too small for a 15" computer which has been the standard size I've used since I've entered the white collar workforce

Overall it's been a great bag.  It did it's job for the time but after that I never used it again.  It's not something I'd carry as a diaper bag (I'll be talking about diaper bags in another post... stay tuned).  I could use it for a workbag with the compartment area removed but It's getting pretty dirty and there is only so much spot cleaning I can do with it.  I'm going to try to give it a good wash so that I can give it away.  It's a box so it's ok but not the best to carry against your body. At the end of the day, it isn't a bag that I would use much more after it being a pump bag.

The bag with the front panel down

This is the panel that can be zipped up

Magnetic closure
Side pocket

Back Pocket

Shoulder strap is almost as wide as a standard baby bottle

Inside with bag from top

The cubby for the pump.  This works for a Medela not an Ameda (or any other pumps really)

With my pump in it

A little mesh area that I have no idea what can fit in there
These are all the things that I put in the bag on a regular: pump, wall plug, Freemies, horns and bottles, bags, nursing pads, a mesh bag, Wet Ones (I forgot to add them in this picture) and a small cooler with ice packs inside

This is it all packed in.  There is still a little extra room

So with that list in mind and my trusty internet tools of Google, YouTube and Instagram handy I did some research on bags.  Now I don't necessarily need my bag to be super designer or anything but I don't like cheap stuff either.  I struggle with vegan leather, leatherette, pleather, basically plastic layered on cloth.  I'm sorry to all the animal rights people and vegans, I like leather.  There didn't seem to be lots of real leather options for pump bags so now I'm down to cloths of sorts.

I read reviews on a few but the ones that I decided on were both by Sarah Wells.  I've chosen to purchase the Kelly and the Lizzy.

Sarah Wells "Kelly" Convertible Breast Pump Bag 

Sarah Wells "Lizzy" Breast Pump Bag (Navy)

I'm not sure that I am going to keep both.  They are of similar designs but they are definitely not the same.  The Kelly can be both a backpack and a regular bag.  The Lizzy on the other hand just has the long strap and the shorter straps.  I like the print on both just fine and they are both made of nylon so no big winner either way for me.  I do like that you can fit larger pumps in the pump compartment.

These are their stock pictures

I decided to try the Lizzy bag first.  So far I like it.  It is big enough to accommodate all of the things I need to carry to work.  It's actually larger than I thought it would be.  It also seems larger than the Kelly bag.  If I wanted to I wouldn't even have to carry my purse to work because all of my necessities would be able to go into this bag.

The front of the bag has a nice large pocket that goes almost the full length of the bag
and it deep enough for me to put my not so dainty hand in.

My whole giant hand can fit in there.  Ok, maybe my hand isn't giant but you get the point, it's a nice spacious pocket that can easily hold whatever you decide to put in there.

The clasp for the longer shoulder strap.
They seem sturdy.

There is also a snap on the side if you wanted to make the bag smaller...
who in the world wants a smaller bag?? #CarryAllTheThings

This is my pump.  There is enough room for storage bags on the side and once I'm done pumping I can store my power cord in there too.  p.s.  There is a little note in the bag when you buy it.  I'm sure this is where you're supposed to put a picture of your darling baby... I'll probably use it to hold extra milk bags.  I'm a digital photo gal (aka I'm too lazy to print a picture).

These side pockets are lined so they can act as a cooler for approximately 6 hours.  I haven't tried out that feature because I use it at work where I have a refrigerator and because I live in Michigan and it's winter.  I'm sure these will come on handy this summer.

The side pocket closed.  The side pockets are identical.

The inside pocket is nice and deep (deeper than the exterior pocket but narrower)

My pump is on the left pocket (as shown above).  There is another pocket like that on the right side however I choose to put my cooler bag inside the bag so I don't use that one.  It's there though. All of the same stuff is in this bag as I had in my old pump bag.  As you can see there is quite a bit of space left.

Nearly the whole reason I bought this bag was so I could eliminate my computer bag which this has done quite successfully.  And I could put a lunch in there... with room!

There are double zippers on the top, and the two side pockets.  They seem sturdy as they're metal not plastic.

There are two different ways to carry the bag.  With the long strap or the handles.  I've used both.  I like both.  When I'm running in to the office in the morning the shoulder strap is perfect especially right now because I'm wearing my bulky winter coat and it's a little tight for the handles.  I'm sure as I lose layers of clothes I will be using the handles just as much as I use the strap.

The handles have this nice touch sewn on.  

I really like the pattern and color and the fabric is wipe-able and won't hold on to as much dirt as my other bag.

Let's get to the comparison:


  • It is definitely large enough for all my pump supplies and some extra stuff as well.  My computer and a lunch would fit in there quite nicely. 
  • It's large enough for everything but comfortable to carry and doesn't bounce on my side awkwardly as I walk
  • I love that the side pockets are large enough for my pump, a packet of breast pump bags, the wall plug, and the tubes with room to spare.  I could probably put the car plug in that pocket too
  • There are two of the nicely accommodating side pockets which are thermo lined and can act as a cooler 
  • The front pocket is large and has a zipper so if the bag spilled over as you slammed on the brakes and had it sitting on the seat in the car nothing would fall out... not saying that that ever happens to me during my rush hour commutes.  Haha!
  • There is an interior pocket
  • All of the pockets have zip closures
  • There are handles and straps to carry it with both of which are a very nice length.  The longer strap is also adjustable which is nice if I wanted to carry it like a crossbody instead of just over my shoulder
  • The bag can be made smaller by the use of the side snaps
  • The print is nice and wipes easy.  
  • The construction of the bag seems sturdy
  • It's a soft bag without much structure with the exception of the bottom which also has feet
  • This is a bag I'd carry after I'm through using it as a pump bag.  Diaper bag, gym bag, work bag, it could work for any of those situations
  • You can't use the snap down feature to make the bag smaller while using the shoulder strap.  They just unsnap if you try to use the long strap
  • It's a soft bag that doesn't have much structure (yes, this can be a pro and a con)
  • There are feet on the bottom but since it is a softer constructed bag I feel like the bottom of the bag is still touching the floor.

Overall I'd say that the pros outweigh the cons.  As I said before the other bag wasn't bad.  I've just realized that my needs have changed and hence my "mommy tools" need to change too.  Besides at this point, I feel like I need some "spoil me" things in my life... like that justification for buying a new bag?? 

I'll probably try this bag out for the rest of the week and see if any of my thoughts change.  If they do I'll definitely update this post.  Next week, I'll be trying out the Kelly bag.  Keep a look out for that post too.

Also, I'll probably be giving away one if not two bag soon...

Please note, that I purchased these bags with my hard earned cash and no one asked me to tell you about them but if this helps one person's decision.  I'm glad to help :-)

No comments:

Post a Comment