What do you do when your breast pump needs to leave the house with you? Let's not kid ourselves; packing a pump and pumping supplies in addition to everything else you need can be a major hassle. Being able to fit all your supplies in a bag along with your breast pump is essential, and finding a bag that can do this without announcing to the world that you are pumping is invaluable. Whether you are looking for a simple, lightweight tote or a bag that will fit it all plus the kitchen sink, we've got you covered. We put the top ten breast pump bags to the test. Below we picked our favorites, noted our likes and dislikes, and added some buying advice to help you choose the perfect bag.
The Best Breast Pump Bag
The Ju-Ju-Be Be Supplied is the perfect bag for breastfeeding moms. Its high-quality construction extends the life of this bag well beyond your pumping years, and it transitions smoothly into a great diaper bag or tote. You can conveniently fit a 13" laptop computer inside the rear pocket. The backpack and shoulder straps are interchangeable and well padded to add versatility and make carrying a heavy load a bit easier. The Be Supplied exudes quality, from the gold hardware to the quality zippers. The lightweight material that makes up the majority of the bag is coated with a Teflon fabric protector to repel stains. Even better is that all Ju-Ju-Be bags are machine-washable, making it easy to keep everything sanitary, important for pumping. A nice accessory to purchase alongside the Be Supplied for maintaining pumping accessories is the Ju-Ju-Be Be Equipped which includes a small wet bag, a mini bottle cooler, and an organizer bag.
Although Ju-Ju-Be products tend to be expensive, the Be Supplied is a reasonable price for what the quality and durability. In fact, it is a fantastic diaper bag that will last years past your pumping days. One common complaint with this particular Ju-Ju-Be is that there is only one insulated pocket design to store the pump. It would be nice to have an additional insulated compartment to store your expressed milk. The Be Supplied is one of the smaller breast pump bags offered by Ju-Ju-Be, so if space is an issue, we encourage you to take a look at the Ju-Ju-Be Be Pumped.
Read the Review: Ju-Ju-Be Be Supplied
The Sarah Wells Abby is a terrific choice for a mom in search of a well organized and professional looking bag. Two exterior pockets are perfect for storing small items like a phone and keys. The interior boasts a separate laptop compartment (fitting up to a 15" laptop), a zippered pocket, and two additional open pouches. There are two generously sized insulated side pockets. One side is designed for pump storage and is large enough to fit a Spectra pump, although there is not much wiggle room once it's in there. The other insulated compartment is perfect for storing expressed milk. We were able to fit in all the gear we would need for a day out with plenty of room to spare in this spacious bag. This bag can also be used even after the pumping days are over. The insulated pockets can be snapped up and out of the way to create more room for use as a diaper bag, overnight bag or camera bag. Also, if the bag doesn't work for you, there is 100% satisfaction guaranteed lifetime warranty.
This bag is one of our favorites, but there are still a few things we would change. While the tote handles are comfortable, the shoulder strap could use some extra padding. The amount of stuff this bag can handle means you have to be careful not to overfill it, or be prepared for a heavy load. Also, some users reported durability issues. Some notable issues were problems with the zipper, the stitching on the handle coming undone allowing it to separate from the bag, and the blue and white stripes "bleeding" into one another. Although we did not run into any of these issues during testing, they are still things to keep in mind, and if you ever do need to exchange or return a bag, the Sarah Wells team will greet you with excellent customer service.Read the Review: Sarah Wells Abby
Dr Brown's Breast Pump Carryall Tote is a great option for someone who is looking for a highly functional, budget-friendly bag. Its simple look makes it great for a variety of uses - everything from a pump bag to a diaper bag to a mom bag - and is sure to be used beyond the pumping days. You can even fit a 15" laptop inside. It is nice and lightweight, which is great since a breast pump bag can get weighed down after its loaded up with all of the essentials. This bag can be easily wiped clean with a damp rag, which is important as drips of milk seem to be inevitable. The Carryall Tote is a no-frills bag that is great for the mom on the go.
There are a few drawbacks worth mentioning. There are two zippered openings on either side of the bag that provides access to the breast pump and accessories. However, these open directly to the main compartment of the bag, there is no separation. While this can be convenient as any size pump will fit, it also means that items are going to shift around more and will likely be less organized. While it does have a nice outer pocket that will fit a laptop as well as a few inner pockets, you may want to invest in some pouches, like this set from Ju-Ju-Be for an additional level of organization.
The Nurse Purse is a great bag for moms who are looking for a highly functional bag with fun patterns and durable fabric. The inner pump pocket is adjustable to fit different size pumps, and you can completely remove it if desired. This is the case when trying to fit the Spectra pump. The simplistic design of the bag makes it easy to utilize the pump and carry along a wealth of additional accessories, including a laptop up to 15". This is a fairly durable bag made with water and stain resistant fabrics that are PVC, lead and phthalate free. You should have no problem hauling this bag around through the rain or snow. Of all the bags we tested, this was among the least bulky thanks to the thinner fabrics used on the exterior and lack of thick padding on the bottom of the bag. We liked how little the weight adds to the already heavy contents we were lugging around and found its lack of bulk one of its best features. We really appreciated the gold metal feet, the zipper side access to the pump, and the mesh pocket for tube storage. We think this would be an excellent choice for moms who desire a bag to carry their breast pump and purse contents but are not necessarily concerned with using it beyond pumping.
It falls short regarding versatility. The number of breast pumps it can carry without wasting space is slightly limited. Unfortunately, due to the size and shape of the Spectra S1, it does not lend itself well to the built-in pump compartment of this bag. The lack of pockets in the interior of the bag makes it difficult to keep pump accessories separate from purse contents, which can lead to a chaotic and unorganized space. We also were disenchanted with the nylon webbing handles. We think that for such a high price point this cute bag could afford some better handles and metal fixtures.
Read the Review: Nurse Purse
While we truly loved this bag, it is one of the most expensive bags in the review. It appears to go on sale frequently, so if you catch it at the right time, you may be able to get it for less. It is a beautiful large bag, but it lacks right sized pockets. The inner compartment has four organizational sleeves (think wallet-type organization), and a laptop divider. There is one zippered pocket on the outside. So if you like to compartmentalize all your baby and breast pump paraphernalia, you will have to either buy organizational cubes or look for a different bag.
The Medela bag is a great compact bag designed to carry only the necessities of pumping. This simple classic is the smallest that we tested and specifically designed for Medela pumping products. This purse-style bag is great if you need to carry only your pump and a few extra items such as a phone and wallet and don't want to lug around a huge tote or laptop. The bag has four small exterior pockets as well as an interior mesh pocket. Crafted with durable, water-resistant fabric that is easy to wipe clean, it is well made and should withstand the test of time.
As noted above, this was the smallest bag we tested by far. If you quickly something that will hold not only your breast pump and supplies, but also purse items, laptop, and lunch, then this is definitely not going to fit the bill. This breast pump bag also does not have a designated pocket for the breast pump. The pump goes into the main compartment of the bag. While it does have a power adaptor port to run your plug through, it can be a pain to push the plug through and pull it out each time. Some users found it was much easier to take the pump in and out of the bag instead.
The New Yorker is a classy higher-end bag specifically designed with a professional working mom in mind. We were impressed by the high-quality materials used and the timeless look of the bag. Being the largest bag in the group we tested, it has great organizational features and will fit anything you'd want throughout the day. There are two main compartments to this bag. The top portion of the bag is more for purse items, and the lower portion is designed to hold both pump and cooler. The upper portion not only has a plethora of pockets for organization but the fact that it is completely separate from pumping supplies means you will not be dealing with you items falling into an endless pit. It also offers a convenient side laptop pocket on the outside that we were able to fit our 15" MacBook in with a case.
As much as we like the separate top and bottom compartments, it does lend itself to a possible issue - the bag collapsing on itself. If the top chamber is full and you empty the pump out of the bottom, it will start to sag and may crumple. Although we did not experience this during testing (which could be since it is new and still stiff), several users noted this occurring. We were also disappointed that the shoulder strap did not have any padding. Shoulders are going to get sore after carrying this large, and usually, heavy bag around town without an adequate cushion.
If you are looking for a large bag that's well made, but won't break the back, then the Sarah Wells Lizzie might fit the bill. It is super roomy and has plenty of space for all of your gear, your 15" laptop, and then some. You can fit a Spectra pump in one of the two insulated pockets and expressed milk in the other. It even comes with a cute little pocket for you to put a picture of your baby for an easier letdown. The material can easily be wiped down to clean up any milk, but don't get too wet as the moisture doesn't bead up and roll off like some of the others we looked at, it will soak into the fabric if left long enough. The bag comes in some cute patterns as well.
One disappointing thing about this bag was the difficulty of keeping it organized. It's so spacious that it can start to feel a bit like Mary Poppin's bag if you are not careful. We suggest investing in some smaller storage pods, like [Ju-Ju-Be Be Equipped] to help keep this down to a minimum. Also, this bag is floppy. There is no getting around it. Unless you have this thing stuffed full, it is going to look saggy and droopy. Some people prefer the look of a bag with more structure to it. But, if that doesn't bother you, then it's a great bag that will transition well into a multipurpose carryall once your pumping days are over.
The Bananafish Madison is a cute, inexpensive backpack that can carry your basic pumping items. It's on the smaller size but still has enough room to fit all of the items from our list of essentials and a small laptop. The numerous pockets help keep everything in its proper place. The front pocket is designed to hold your pump, which is great if you own a Medela pump or something of similar size. The Spectra can fit in the main compartment, although this reduces the amount of storage you have for other items. While it might not be professional enough to bring to all jobs, it's an adorable, durable backpack that can withstand a little weather as well.
From what we can tell, there seems to be a quality control issue with the Bananafish Madison. While the majority of users are very pleased with this product, some have complained of loose stitching causing holes to straps breaking off to zipper issues. Faulty zippers seem to be the biggest issue, which is not something you want to experience with a bag when you are trying to be discreet about what's inside. It has a boxy style when worn, and the inside liner is not stitched in place. While it didn't make it to the top of the list, it's a cute little bag that offers a unique carry style.
jay elle Type A is a no-frills bag loaded with cool accessories. It is available in three different styles and comes with cooler, accessory and wet bag, dry cloth and jay elle C.O.D.E. book. Because the interior of the bag is just one big compartment with a small divider, it is nice to have the multiple storage pods to keep your things in order. We were able to fit all the essentials plus a 15" laptop easily. When used with ice packs, the cooler bag does a nice job keeping expressed milk cold for a few hours. The cooler bag is unique in that it has velcro dividers that can be arranged, taken out, and adjusted to accommodate different bottle sizes and orientations. Overall, it is a good average size bag that will fill your needs for a day.
The downside to the bag is the quality. The materials seem a bit cheap, especially when compared to some of the higher-end bags we tested. When you are going to be carrying this bag with you on a daily basis, you want to know that the bag is not going to break down quickly. We think that if you are looking for something for more occasional use, this could work out well.
How We Evaluated
After more than 100 hours of research and hands-on testing of breast pump bags, we determined several factors to pay attention to when finding the perfect breast pump bag for you. We evaluated the quality of the bag, whether or not it could fit the large Spectra breast pump, if a laptop could fit and what size, the functionality of the design, and ease of use for all these features.
We started off our analysis exploring the pros and cons of more than 30 bags before narrowing down to the 10 best for more detailed evaluation. We then tested these breast pump bags side-by-side and determined our favorites. We took measurements, compared notes and tested them each individually to help provide you with the important information needed to make a decision on which bag to buy.
Lighter Weight is an Ease-of-Use Factor
Finding the right balance between functionality and bag size is essential. You want a bag that will meet all of your needs without weighing you down. As part of our testing process, we weighed each bag. Having a good idea of how heavy the bag is will help you determine how much gear you really want to pack around all day.
The Medela came in the lightest at only 0.8 lbs, with the The New Yorker is the heaviest at 2.8 lbs. Although the difference between the lightest and heaviest is only two pounds, once you add a pump and supplies, your personal items, and a laptop, those two pounds can make the difference between a trusty everyday bag and a bag you hesitate to use because it leaves you with a sore shoulder. You will want to consider weight a bit more if you plan on carrying this bag for longer than averages distances on a daily basis. Hauling a bag a 1/2 mile to and from the bus stop will feel very different from carrying it a few steps from your house to the car to the office.
Let's be honest, taking your breast pump out and about is not ideal. It's no fun having to lug it around, but having a good bag can help ease the load - no pun intended. You probably bought your pump and never really considered how you were going to carry it outside of the house. The accessibility of breast pumps is on the rise, but many moms still do not realize how many options they have when it comes to different modes of transporting one. Traveling through the day with multiple bags - work bag, lunch, pump, and parts - can be super frustrating. Getting out the door those first few weeks are difficult enough and being able to pack everything you need for yourself into one bag can be a huge help - no need to drag both purse and pump bag to off-site meetings. Consolidating everything into one discreet and professional looking bag can greatly decrease frustrations each morning. Finding a good all in one bag frees you from one more thing to worry about during busy mornings.
In 2015 the US Bureau of Labor Statistics released some compelling data about working moms. The labor force participation rate of working mothers of children under 6 years old was 63.9%. The participation rate of mothers of younger children, specifically, 3 years and lower, was 61.4%. The popularity of breastfeeding has begun to rise because of its known health and cost-saving benefits. Labor laws put in place with working moms in mind mandate proper facilities be made available for pumping, along with adequate time to carry out the task, without a strike against the employee. All that, in conjunction with the fact that health insurance companies now cover the cost of breast pumps, many working moms are choosing to try and continue to express milk for their babies when they return to work.
Why should I consider buying a special bag for my breast pump?
Having everyone know that you are pumping can be uncomfortable, and now that everyone has become relatively familiar with the bags that traditionally come with your breast pump, you may as well be announcing it to the world. Although you may get along great with your co-workers, it doesn't mean you want to include them in such a private aspect of your life. Having a bag that is stylish and discreet can take away some of the embarrassment that comes with pumping in less than desirable situations. You may also loathe going out the door in the morning and having to carry so much, feeling somewhat akin to a pack animal. Between a car seat with baby inside, a full diaper bag to leave at daycare, a purse, a pump, and work bag, things can quickly get overwhelming. Having a single good bag can cut the load down considerably and simplify things.
So how do I know which bag is right for me?
When you head back to work after having decided you want to pump, you are going to face the decision of how to make that happen. There are essentially four ways you could go with this. Some moms try to fit their pump into a bag they already have. Others simply use the bag that was provided by the manufacturer when they bought their pump. The last two options are to either invest in a designer bag meant specifically for carrying a breast pump, or, try to find a bag of your liking that would be able to fill the same purpose. Depending on the circumstances such as frequency of pumping, plans for future use, and budget, the option that is best will differ from mom to mom.
The list of personal items we selected features an assortment of items that we would consider essential when loading up our own bags. Because it may not be easy to imagine how well a bag will hold and organize your belongings when you purchase it online, or even in the store, we thought it was important to showcase what a bag might look like and how it performed packed with all of these items.
- Large set of keys
- Cell phone
- Water bottle
- Computer Charger
Having a bag that is water resistant is important. Whether it be spills or weather, your bag is sure to encounter some wetness. With so much on your mind already, the last thing you'll want to worry about is a stained and dirty bag. While most of the bags could be wiped down easily to prevent stains, not all bags were able to repel water droplets for more than a few seconds and would not hold up to a big bottle leak or rainstorm very well.
Style and Quality
Just because you want a functional bag, doesn't mean you should have to sacrifice style. Feeling confident and stylish with the bag you're carrying can determine how much use you will get out of it. If you find a bag that you like enough, you will want to use it all through pumping, diapers, and maybe even beyond. Luckily, as pumping has become more common, today there are many more breast pump bags in a wide variety of styles. So whether you're searching for more of a utilitarian, purely-for-function bag, or something a bit chicer, you won't have to look too far to find just what you want.
A balance between bulk and size is vital
Finding a middle ground between convenient size and useful capacity can be difficult. We discovered that just because a bag offers a lot of real estate does not mean it will be useful and that higher quality materials will weigh more, but they don't have to weigh you down. Having a breast pump bag with multiple, easily accessible pockets will help streamline your pump breaks. We also believe that using organizing pods like Ju-Ju-Be Be Equipped in a large bag will make your life a whole lot simpler. After our testing, we felt the sweet spot for size was about 15 inches wide, between 8-10 inches deep, and about 11.5-12 inches tall. Many of the bags we tested fit relatively close within this range, with a little variation for those who want to pack it all versus those who want the bare minimum.
Breast milk truly is "liquid gold", it is a scarce and valuable resource that new moms work hard to provide for their babies. Leaving for an extended period of time while breastfeeding can be difficult for a number of reasons. Packing a breast pump can be the solution, it will help keep up your supply and preserve this important resource for your little one. We recommend choosing your breast pump first and then selecting the bag to fit. It's all about finding which combination will work best for you.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & Lindsay Selig