We're Social

Emergency Breast Pump Kit

How to Put Together an Emergency Breast Pump Kit

Having an emergency breast pump kit will save you in a pinch! There will come a time in your breastfeeding journey where you’ll forget a pump part or your charger. It happens more than you think and of course when you least expect it!

Luckily, you can put one together fairly quickly and keep it in your car so it's always accessible. These are the items I recommend putting in your kit:
  1. Manual pump: I had the Medela manual pump with my first and didn't like it. This manual pump has a silicone flange with collapsible tabs that make pumping much more comfortable.
  2. Milk storage bags: Any work, but in the video I showed the Up & Up brand. These were my go-to because of the price point.
  3. Breast pads: It's never a bad idea to have disposable breast pads in your kit or even in your purse while you're breastfeeding. You never know when leaking will occur!
  4. Wet/dry bag or a plastic bag to house the wet parts. I just used the plastic bag the pump came in but you can but some affordable wet/dry bags on Amazon.
  5. Madewell tote bag: This tote is my everyday purse and for safe breastmilk transport. I LOVE it!!

Depending on the products you use, you may want to put other items in there. This of this kit as insurance. Do you have an emergency breast pump kit? If so, what do you have in yours?

How to Clear a Clogged Duct

Throughout your breastfeeding journey you might experience a lump or hardened area on your breast, stringy milk, or a clump of hardened milk when expressing. If you're not exhibiting other symptoms, these may be signs of a Clogged Duct.

What is a Clogged Duct?

A Clogged Duct (also known as clog or plugged duct) is an area in the breast where the breastmilk flow is blocked.

What Causes a Clogged Duct?

Clogged ducts are usually caused by poor milk transfer while nursing or insufficient milk removal from pumping (or hand expressing). It may also be caused by compression to the milk ducts such as wearing a tight bra.

Do I Have a Clogged Duct?

You might have a Clogged Duct if you have a hard -- often painful – lump or area on your breast. The area is usually swollen with milk but you don’t exhibit other symptoms.

How to Clear a Clogged Duct

Below are some tips to get that clog out! Ideally a clog will move closer to the nipple with every feeding or pump session and clear within 24-48 hours.

Try this if you’re nursing: 
  • Nurse often! Start by nursing baby on the side with the clog (suckling is the most efficient)
  • Make sure baby's latch is correct and try changing baby’s position while on the breast to see if that encourages the clog to clear
  • Allow baby to nurse until they spontaneously release
  • You can also incorporate a light hand massage to encourage milk flow

Try this if you’re pumping:
  • Stick to a good pumping schedule! Double pump until your breasts are fully drained; about 15-20 minutes (this time may vary)
  • Make sure you’re using the right flange size! If you need help sizing you can book an appointment here.
  • Try a light hand massage while pumping to encourage milk flow

Try a silicone manual pump like Haakaa! Add 2 tbsp of Epsom Salt and about 1 cup of warm water to the Haakaa (water should touch your nipple) and suction it to your breast.You can also try incorporating heat (warm shower or LaVie heated massagers) before pumping, nursing, or hand expressing.

Things to Note:

When the clog clears, milk may appear stringy or as hardened milk, it's ok for baby to consume that. If the clog hasn't cleared after 48 hours, or you start to develop other symptoms (fever, flu-like symptoms, red spot on your breast, etc...), contact your healthcare provider for a full assessment.



Witt AM, Bolman M, Kredit S, Vanic A. Therapeutic Breast Massage in Lactation for the Management of Engorgement, Plugged Ducts, and Mastitis. J Hum Lact. 2016 Feb;32(1):123-31. doi: 10.1177/0890334415619439. Epub 2015 Dec 7. PMID: 26644422. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26644422/

Jiang L, Hassanipour F. In Vitro Flow Visualization in a Lactating Human Breast Model. Ann Biomed Eng. 2021 Dec;49(12):3563-3573. doi: 10.1007/s10439-021-02892-y. Epub 2021 Dec 3. PMID: 34859325. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34859325/

Cadwell, Karin, Turner-Maffei, Cindy. Fourth Edition Pocket Guide for Lactation Management. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2022. Book.

Featured Image Courtesy of: Timothy Meinberg

Gift Guide For Mom

If you're here you're probably looking for some baby product recommendations, or registry item ideas. These are the items I couldn't live without when my kids were teeny tiny.

Don't forget to register at all the major retailers (Target, Amazon, Buy Buy Baby, and Walmart) to get 15% off your registry items!

Before we get started, please see our affiliation disclosures and privacy here.

Register for Convenience Items

If you know me, you know i'm a minimalist. I'll splurge on convenience items but I don't believe that old saying "babies have a lot of stuff". Diapers? Sure. Stuff? My kids certainly didn't. I registered for items that helped me manage my day-to-day. We were pretty much on our own, living in our cute 1800sf house in the Boston suburbs, with small rooms, so we had to keep things simple. The more you have, the more you have to keep track of.

Items for Mama + Baby

Make sure to register or buy items for your comfort. Mama needs to be taken care of too!

  1. The first breastfeeding item I invested in was a wearable pump. The Elvie pump was my primary wearable pump, I already owned a Spectra S2 and relied on that pump as my work horse pump. I later bought the Willow 3.0 and Youha Gen II, you can read my reviews on our blog.
  2. I got the Momcozy s9 as a back up wearable pump in case my Elvie pump was out of commission. And yes, it's good to have a back up!
  3. Breast pump bag. Any bag works but I recommend the Momigo bag often! What I like about the Momigo bag is that it's waterproof, it's large, has a charging station, and has an insulated bottom to keep your breastmilk cool. If you like using your purse (like me) invest in a Ceres Chill! They gifted me a cooler and I use it almost daily!! Check the coolers out here!
  4. Inserts! Measure yourself and get inserts (or cushions) if needed! If you're planning on using a wearable pump, you need more precise fitting flanges. Protect your nipples! My favorite combo was Elvie + BeauGen cushions but they're not a fit for everyone. BeauGen only fits sizes 19-25mm. If you need a size outside that range, consider Maymom inserts.
  5. Boppy! I used a Boppy and loved my Boppy. I recommend having a nursing pillow if you plan on nursing! It made breastfeeding so much easier for me.
  6. Lavie massagers! Heat and vibrating massagers made pumping more efficient for me! It does not increase supply but I was able to shorten my pumping time. I loved them and used them often!
  7. Dock-a-tot! I want to start by saying that I never let my daughter sleep in her sleeper overnight. I used the sleeper to lay her down during the day. We didn't have the space in our living room for a crib or bassinet (hello Boston living!), so this worked out really well.
  8. Rolling cart! I bought this one at Target and still use it. It can hold all your pump parts, diapers, clothes, anything you want -- and it's mobile!
  9. Baby's Brew bottle warmer. If your LO is like my daughter (will only drink warm milk), this will be key for warming up those bottles on the go.
  10. 4 Moms bouncer. I think the 4 Moms bounce but you don't need a fancy bouncer. My kids hated bouncers that shaked, rattled, and rolled. I also owned a BABYBJORN bouncer but my daughter seem to like the 4Moms bouncer more. I'm not sold on these big fancy bouncers.
  11. Swaddles. My daughter liked being swaddled and slept really well with them in her early weeks. A friend gifted us these really nice Halo swaddles that grew with my LOs.

Willow Go Pump Review

I jumped on the Willow Go bandwagon! I answered a lot of your questions in our fb group so I'll keep this pretty short. I also want to remind you that Willow keeps selling out of this pump. If you're considering the Willow Go keep in mind that it might be on backorder. Patience will be key here. Ok -- now let's dive in!

Before we get started, please see our affiliation disclosures and privacy here.

What Our Mamas Think About the Willow Go

Overall Group Rating: ★★★★★

  • Can get 5oz or 7oz containers
  • Shape of the cups
  • Easy installation
  • Portable
  • Reputable company
  • Settings can be customized per pump

  • Heavy
  • Not leak-proof
  • Auto shut-off at 25 mins
  • Doesn't hold great charge
  • App is limited, buttons to adjust suction levels are on the pumps
The Willow Go "Learning Curve"

The pump suction is similar to more traditional pumps and it releases the nipple and has a nice gentle vibration. The pump has a long flange with a silicone barrier on the tip that creates the suction. Unlike the Willow 3.0, the Willow Go draws the milk down the flange, and into the reusable cup. One of the reasons I found the Willow 3.0 a little complicated is that the pump has to "slurp" the milk up and through the Flextube, and into the container or bag. Milk sit in the flange until it gets sucked up, then you have to flip-to-finish to catch any extra milk in the flange. It can take some practice to master that flip-to-finish. I like the convenience of the milk going straight into the container. Sizing is also important and make sure you have a good supportive bra.

If you need help finding a bra for your wearable pump, here's an article by Genuine Lactation on how to find a good bra for your wearable pump(s).

How to Assemble your Willow Go Pump

Things to Consider about the Willow GoIt's not leak-proof! The pump has a hole right on top. You can buy larger containers to try and avoid some leaking, but always be aware of overfilling. Squat don't bend!
The app is limited in what you can do, there are buttons on each pump to control the levels.
No bags! Unlike the Willow 3.0, you don't have a bag option with this pump.
The Willow Go is a little bigger and heavier than the Willow 3.0, but not as thick so it looks more discreet, quieter, and doesn't feel heavier in your bra.
Sizing and Insert Recommendations

Sizing is always important, but especially with wearable pumps and remember, the best size flange is one that's comfortable while pumping and empties you well. If you need help sizing for your Willow Go flanges, book here.

Willow Go flange sizing: 0-2mm bigger than pre-pump nipple size

I tested out my Willow Go with Maymom inserts, Lacteck Flanges, and BeauGen* cushions and all three worked. You can also try out other insert styles like Pumping Pretty inserts.

*BeauGen cushions are only compatible with 21mm-28mm size flanges, and will only size flanges down to 19mm-26mm.
Do I recommend the Willow Go?

ABSOLUTELY! Willow truly delivered a fantastic pump! The price point + no tubes make this pump very attractive option. If you don't need the leak-proof option of the Willow 3.0 or the discreetness of the Elvie pump, this is your pump!