24 must have items for a successful return back to work after maternity leave
Top 3 essential bags needed before returning back to work after maternity leave
There are a few important items that you will need when returning back to work after maternity leave. The 3 main bags include: work bag, pumping bag and lunch bag. The pumping bag will be used if you are a breastfeeding mom and will be pumping at work.
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Why a pumping bag (if breastfeeding)
The month prior to returning to work, I began planning out what I would need. Download this FREE checklist on what all you will need.
While in conversation with my sister, she asked me if I had a pumping bag. At that point, it had not crossed my mind that I would need a pumping bag! That is when I started making a list of all the items that I would need to make sure I can store milk for my baby when I was not with him/her. Hence the importance of having a separate pumping bag for all my parts and milk.
So, you will NEED to bring a few different bags if you are a breastfeeding mom. DO NOT try to mix your work bag items with that of your pumping equipment. One tip is to go crazy with styling your bag or picking out the bag that resonates with you and your style the most.
Here is a list of 24 items to bring when returning back to work.
I have grouped the items into the 3 bags we have discussed: work bag, pumping bag and lunch bag. If you are not breastfeeding, skip the pumping bag section. You will instead need to create a morning or evening routine to prepare your child’s milk bag (formula, water, bottles etc.) for the day at childcare. I have also included links to some of the items based on the ones I have used and loved.
- Work bag – okay so depending on the type of job you have, this bag could look very different for you. Maybe the bag just includes your purse with your everyday essentials. Or, if you work in an office setting, like I do, it will include other items like the ones listed below.
- Laptop – for working professionals and depending on the role you are currently in.
- Laptop charger
- Your Phone (which you will probably have in your hand or pockets)
- Other potential items:
- Makeup (ChapStick, lipstick, concealer)
- Physical pictures of your baby(ies)
- Pumping bag – I personally loved this bag. It was spacious with a beautiful design. I also love gray since it can go with anything and is gender neutral as well.
- Pump (and all of its parts)
- I used the Elvie Stride Pump with my second child, and I used the Medela Breast Pump with my first child. Both have their pros and cons. The Elvie one simply needs to be charged and then I can put it on and go about my tasks while the Medela pump required me to be in one place since it needed to be connected. Do your research and see which one is best for you. Both are typically covered via insurance too.
- Pack of storage breastmilk bags
- Two 4oz bottles – this helped me to measure my milk amount before placing it in the storage bag. Doctor brown has been my favorite bottle to use since my kids were both a bit colicky and it supported them with that.
- Charger for your pump (if applicable)
- Nipple cream – this will be a good friend of yours during the early stages of breastfeeding.
- Breast leak pads – I would forget these and then have an accident! It’s okay to have them there just in case and if, you are one to leak a lot.
- Little basket/bucket – I used this to put all the parts when I got to work and to clean up the parts after using it.
- Lunch bag – (if you have a big enough work bag, you can add it in there so long as you wrap or cover your meal.
- Lunch meal – you can use any type of storage container or bags based on what you are bringing.
- Snacks – don’t forget snacks! You will need to be munching on something.
- Coffee tumbler – you can also put your tea here if you are more of a tea drinker. But coffee helps me survive the day during those long nights with the kids.
- Water jug – stay hydrated!
Getting your work bags together is one step to avoiding stress when you return back to work.
It will be important for you to take the time now to figure out what you will need for work. Trust me – it makes a world of a difference when you have your essentials list and start packing. It’s also one way to bring in less stress onto yourself for that first day back to work. Whatever you can do to make the process easier for you – that is best.
Have you already started prepping your work bags? Is there anything you will now add to it?
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