There are certain things that one can use to identify another person. Black cap with a distinctive yellow P? You’re probably a Pittsburgh Pirates fan. Black nylon bag with black straps and beige lining? You’re probably a pumping mama. I can pick out a Medela pump bag at a distance, and relate to that mama’s daily love-hate relationship with her breast pump. I love that I can provide nutrition for my baby; I hate that I have to schlep that bag along with me in the car, to work, and back home again, day in and day out.
Enter Sarah Wells. She could have read my mind when she designed the Maddy bag. A working mama herself, she dreaded carrying her designer handbag, her lunch, her iPad, and her very unstylish pump bag. While I’ve always pumped at work for my now 15 month old, earlier this year, I added commuting to my breast pumping routine, as my family is in the middle of a relocation. When I commute back and forth from Pittsburgh to where my family lives, I was carrying four bags – a large duffel bag with clothes and toiletries, a laptop case, a backpack cooler for the pumped milk, and a Medela breast pump bag (with its own separate smaller cooler bag). I wanted to consolidate, and also be more discrete about what I was carrying with me.
The Sarah Wells breast pump bag, “Maddy,” is the answer to my dilemma. I received one to try out with my pumping setup and am very pleased with it. Unlike the traditional breast pump bags that come with the pump, the Maddy bag does not restrict where the breast pump can be placed in the bag to only the main compartment. While the Maddy bag’s main compartment is roomy enough to do that, there is great flexibility in where the breast pump is stored. You could easily fit most breast pumps into either end compartment as well. Both end compartments are expandable, which allows for a larger pump to be accommodated while still allowing for plenty of space in the main compartment.
I used both a Medela Pump InStyle Advanced (PISA) and a Medela Freestyle with the Maddy bag. In both cases, I opted to put the pump in one of the expandable end compartments. After freeing the Medela PISA from the industrial strength Velcro that held it in its original bag, I placed it in the end compartment. I typically use the battery adapter (instead of a wall cord) with the PISA, and there was enough height in the end compartment of the Maddy bag to place that directly on top of the pump. The breast pump itself is longer than the Freestyle, so it does cut into the usable space on the inside of the Maddy bag, but there is still plenty of room for a Kindle, a small lunch, an pumping bustier, breast pump flanges/parts, and other miscellany. On the other end compartment, I stored a pre-wrapped lactation cookie, milk storage bags, a Sharpie marker, a pair of washable nursing pads, and extra batteries with the chargers. That’s a TON of stuff in the expandable end compartment! With this breast pump, I did have to turn my Surface tablet diagonally in the main compartment to get it to fit properly, but there are no complaints from me. The bottom line is it all still fit! Using this bag eliminated carrying a separate bag for my breast pump and laptop.
After using both pumps in the Maddy bag, though, the Freestyle is my preferred breast pump in terms of size, fit, and configuration within the bag. One really cool thing about this innovative breast pump bag is that the end compartment can actually be used as a cooler! It’s been tested to keep refrigerated milk cold (or start cooling recently pumped milk) for up to four hours. With the Freestyle, I can fit an ice pack in the end compartment, and put my cooled bags of milk directly into the end compartment for transport back to my house. With the Freestyle in the end compartment, I can put my milk storage bags and marker right alongside the breast pump. The main compartment holds cords for my Surface, an extra phone charger, and a pumping bustier, and breast pump parts in Ziplock bags. I’ve repurposed the tablet sleeve inside the Maddy for storage for other peripherals (including a portable mouse) and snacks. Truly, you can fit so much into this bag, and for me, that’s key.
The Maddy bag has two compartments on the inside, one previously mentioned. The tablet sleeve is padded, and will fit a small tablet (smaller than the Surface – think a Kindle Fire). On the opposite side is a zippered pocket for keys, a checkbook, or other important things that you want to keep separated from the main compartment. The hardware on this bag is very sturdy, and speaks to its quality. The bag had two affixed straps for carrying as a handbag or over your shoulder. And the outside, while it looks like leather, is actually quality man-made materials that easily wipes clean (because who hasn’t spilled a little milk once in a while!?).
The Maddy bag is currently the only bag from Sarah Wells, and a great addition to the market. While a separate breast pump bag is certainly not a necessity for every pumping mama, it’s a great option not only for convenience, but style. It is available from Amazon at $145.00 with free shipping and returns. Its price point is lower than comparable breast pump bags, which also makes it a great value. So, if you’re looking to “dress-up” the breast pump bag and not be as recognized as a pumping mama from a distance, this bag is for you!
Disclosure: I have received this product in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are 100% my own and may differ from yours.