Since starting my pumping journey, I’ve been on two missions: ONE, To figure out a way to simplify everything I need to carry on a daily basis (purse, work bag, pump bag, gym bag), and TWO, To do it fashionably.
If you’re a pumping mom (mom who uses a breast pump), you already know of the dreaded black nylon breast pump bag that most pumps come with. It’s not horrible and fits what I need, but I feel it’s a little too conspicuous and kind of screams, “I’M CARRYING A BREAST PUMP.” I knew there had to be a solution, and I wanted that solution to be cute.
Enter Sarah Wells Bags. When I came across the Maddy bag, my first thought was, “YES! SOMEONE DID IT!!” And then through further research I realized that someone was Sarah, of Sarah Wells Bags, who was a working, pumping mom. I have a soft spot in my heart for all working, pumping moms, and instantly loved Sarah for understanding what us moms go through….and for creating a solution! Talk about a smart woman!
Sarah was kind enough to send me a bag to review for all of you, and I’m so excited to share that with you today! Here’s a run down of the bag:
The bag dimensions are 13” long, 8” wide, and 11” tall. The handles are 11.5” rise from the top of the bag. As you can see, that’s a pretty generously sized bag! I love that it’s not too big or too small. The exterior is two-toned which, in my opinion, makes the bag a wardrobe staple. It’s neutral enough to go with any outfit for the fashionable mom, and it’s design is classic enough to be used for work or “play.” The interior fabric is easy to clean which is important for any milk spills.
There are two side pockets which fold into the main compartment. Even when full, there is still enough room in the main compartment to fit what you need. For instance, the main compartment can still fit the small cooler that came with my breast pump bag with the side pockets filled with pumping equipment. And when not in use, the side pockets are collapsible for more or less room in the main compartment.
The beauty in the side compartments is they fit all sized breast pumps and allow moms the flexibility to operate their pump from inside the bag. I was able to fit my pump, power cord, bottles, and tubing inside both compartments. The side pockets are also great for carrying sippy cups and toys for your little one when you’re done pumping!
I was able to fit all of my pump supplies in both pockets: my pump, hands-free bra, bottles, flanges, power cord, tubing, and coconut oil.
There’s an interior zip pocket for easy finding of little things that get easily lost in a big bag. Think keys, cell phone, lipgloss, etc. And there’s also an interior pocket that’s waterproof to protect your iPad or other electronic device! You know, so you can online shop or browse Pinterest during your pump session like me! 😉
I was able to fit my wallet, cell phone, keys, some makeup, pump wipes, and my nursing cover in the middle pocket with room to spare!
And the best part is when you’re done pumping, this bag can transition into a diaper bag or purse! With insurance companies covering the cost of breast pumps nowadays, the Maddy bag would be the perfect baby shower gift for the expecting mom..especially one who plans on returning to work!
Sarah was kind enough to answer some questions for me about her business that we thought would be fun to share with you!
Lauren: Thank you so much Sarah for allowing me to interview you! I’ve been looking for a stylish pump bag ever since I decided to EP. The black standard pump bag is so not doable for a fashion-loving mom like me!
So how did Sarah Wells Bags get its start?
Sarah: It all started with my own exclusively pumping experience; I carried my breast pump back to work as the leader of a nonprofit organization and was frustrated by the lack of efficiency (I have a clear memory of crossing a major street in downtown DC with at least four bags on my back!) and the lack of style in the bag that came with my pump. I also couldn’t find an alternative on the market that enabled me to operate the pump from within the bag without taking it out. I toyed with the idea of creating a bag myself; I started telling other moms about the idea and a combination of my husband’s encouragement and that of a mom friend who has small business expertise got me going officially. After a couple of years of design, prototyping, manufacturing and shipping, I have my first bag – the “Maddy” in ode to my daughter, who was the reason I endured all that FUN (ha!) pumping, and made every minute of it worth it.
Lauren: What was your inspiration behind the Maddy bag?
Sarah: For the first bag from my company, I really wanted to hit two key points: 1) fantastic functionality and 2) classic, neutral styling. It’s impossible to design a bag that every woman in America will agree on (that’s the beauty of fashion, we all have our perspectives), but I aimed to find something that appeals to most women. I chose a combination of black and brown to complement most mom wardrobe choices and a satchel shape for timeless style. I poured over the functionality of the bag for a long time!! We went through at least ten prototypes before settling on this bag. The side pockets of the bag enable moms to operate the pump from within the bag, an eReader/iPad pocket adds that extra techy flare that most handbags are still missing and of course, there is a generous main compartment and zip pocket for all the purse necessities. I also LOVE hardware, so the bag had to have great metal zippers, feet, buckles and so on.
Lauren: What are 3 must-have items (aside from the pump accessories!) that every pumping mama should have in her pump bag at ALL times?
Sarah: A picture of your child (technically can help with lactation and otherwise, it will just make you smile and the time pass faster when pumping!), wipes to clean pump parts (soap and water are cheaper and do the job best, but I often found myself having to pump multiple times without a sink in between and the wipes are a lifesaver and peace of mind!) and nursing pads (protect your nice clothes from an unexpected leak!).
Lauren: What is one tip you have for the working, pumping mom?
Sarah: Give yourself lots of credit for the amazing thing you are doing and the benefit you are providing for your child. I haven’t met many moms who actually LIKE pumping; it can be tiring, boring, lonely, logistically challenging, but it’s done out of love and care for this awesome child you’ve brought into the world. No matter how many ounces you can pump, how often you pump or when you stop, please just celebrate every effort as a victory! You deserve it!
Lauren: Can we expect other styles from Sarah Wells Bags?
Sarah: Absolutely!! I purposely only launched with one bag; it’s my core business strategy to get one great bag on the market that I can stand behind 100% and then gather tons and tons of input from moms on what else they would like to see from my company. The “Maddy” bag has been met with rave reviews; there is nothing more satisfying than talking to happy customers! I had the amazing opportunity to take a one-on-one course with a successful handbag designer who teaches at the Fashion Institute of Technology; as a result, I have some awesome designs in the works. Right now my priority is to hear from moms – so reach out and tell me what else you would like to see!
Thanks so much Sarah! So what do you think ladies? Isn’t this bag great?! The Maddy bag is the perfect gift for the pumping mom! And now that it’s available on Amazon, it can be easily added to your baby registry 🙂
And because Sarah is just so great, she has a special offer for you! Use code MARCH for 15% off at www.sarahwellsbags.com through March 31st, 2014 at 11:59PM EST! And another great perk, shipping is always FREE!