How We Tested Breast Pump Bags

By:
Lindsay Ellis & Natalie Hale

Last Updated:
Tuesday


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We spent three months working these bags hard. We crammed them full of supplies and schlepped them between meetings at work. They were banged against walls, handles were slammed in car doors and they were set down on many different surfaces. We looked closely at each bag and spent a lot of time analyzing the intended use of each included accessory, in order to determine if it was actually useful. We spilled water and apple juice on the exteriors to see how well they cleaned up and dumped cheerio crumbs in the interior to see how quick and easy the mess could be eliminated. All of this in order to find out which bag, whether originally designed to carry a breast pump or not, would stand the test of time and continue to perform as a busy mom would need it to.

Ease of use


We were not kidding when we said we crammed everything we could into these bags!
We were not kidding when we said we crammed everything we could into these bags!
To begin, we knew this type of product needed to be practical and easy to use. To analyze ease of use, we packed the bags with a variety of different breast pumps, along with a list of accessories we thought a working mom might want to take with them for the day. This included a large wallet, keys, a water bottle, snacks, pen, phone, iPad mini, and 13" Macbook Air. Bear in mind, the list is a tad "tech heavy" because we wanted to showcase just what could fit into each of the bags and survive a day on the go with us. Because most of the bags we tested are not available in stores to see and test in person, we felt it was critical to showcase just how much and what kind of items could fit comfortably inside.

Quality


Quality features matter! We looks for things like metal zippers  fine stitching  metal feet  quality liners  handles  and exterior fabrics.
Quality features matter! We looks for things like metal zippers, fine stitching, metal feet, quality liners, handles, and exterior fabrics.
It's no secret that moms work hard. We knew we'd need to find the high quality breast pump bags that could keep up and not fall apart on the job. Quality is determined by a number of factors. This includes what kind of materials are used to make the bags, how the handles are constructed and attached, how well the interior is sewn together and most importantly, how well the bag held up over time and the battery of tests we put it through.

Weight/Bulk


Width comparison of the Sarah Wells Maddy and the Ness Mamie.
Width comparison of the Sarah Wells Maddy and the Ness Mamie.
Getting out the door with everything you need for the day plus that sweet baby in tow can really weigh any mom down. Our job was to figure out how to lighten your load, not add to it. Testing weight and bulk was perhaps the most straight-forward aspect of the scoring we did. Part of the score was determined simply by weighing the empty bags on a digital scale in our lab. Bulk was determined by the size of the bag and how easy it was to carry while navigating around corners and squeezing between tight spaces.

Features


Our favorite features - metal feet  extra space for many accessories  special compartments  key rings  hidden pockets  hands-free carrying options and more!
Our favorite features - metal feet, extra space for many accessories, special compartments, key rings, hidden pockets, hands-free carrying options and more!
A bag is just a bag until you start adding features. Features are the little helpers that can really make your life easier. They can turn an ok bag into a great bag. They organize, separate, hold, protect and so much more. All of the bags we tested had quite a few features to offer. Things like metal feet and key rings, multiple compartments, spots for holding wallets and or wallet contents, coolers for pumped milk, helpful metal, snap or zipper enclosures, different carrying options, such as shoulder straps or backpack straps, spots for photos, a water bottle and easy clean fabrics, just to name a few, really made a difference in how the bag worked out for us.

Style


The Juno Blu Esalen comes close to Mary Poppin's bag of tricks. This sleek bag holds a lot while looking good all the time.
The Juno Blu Esalen comes close to Mary Poppin's bag of tricks. This sleek bag holds a lot while looking good all the time.
We want you to feel confident about the bag you decide to carry your breast pump in. It shouldn't be something you're ashamed of or feel like you need to hide from co-workers. That's where style comes in to play. While we know it's a personal thing, we were thrilled to find a variety of cute, fashion-friendly options we think most moms would enjoy so they don't have to feel stuck with that "dreaded black bag." To determine style scores, we compared these bags to hot couture handbags currently on the market. We spent time digging through fashion magazines to see what kinds of bags are popular today to judge just how these bags compare. We also took into account the comments we received from strangers and other moms we encountered during the testing phase.

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The lineup of bags we tested. From left to right  front to back they are: the Juno Blue Esalen  Medela On the Go Tote  Sarah Wells Maddy  Ness Mamie  OiOi Hobo  Ju-Ju-Be B.F.F. Legacy  and the Nurse Purse.
The Best Breast Pump Bag

by Lindsay Ellis & Natalie Hale