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So you decided to breastfeed and everything has been going great. You know all of your babies cues that he or she is hungry, the babies latching on with no problem but maternity leave will soon be over and you’ll have to go back to work.
Pumping at work seems complicated and it is if your not prepared.
These days moms in every line of work are continuing to breastfeed and with planning you can successfully return to work too and I’ll show you how.
Once you’ve decided that you want to continue breastfeeding when you go back to work communicate to your supervisor your plans. That way they can show you where the lactation room is and go over your company’s policy regarding breastfeeding at work.
A nice atmosphere and positive attitude from your coworkers makes a huge difference and will help your achieve your breastfeeding goals.
An encouraging and supportive environment will help make pumping at work much easier.
My job has this nice little setup to encourage breastfeeding moms.
Know your rights
I had a young girl recently tell me she stopped breastfeeding before she went back to work because she works at Pizza Hut and they don’t have a place for her to pump. I had to educate her about her rights because her employers didn’t.
Employers are required to provide breastfeeding employees:
- A reasonable amount of break time to express breast milk for their child.
A private place, other than the bathroom that may be used to express breastmilk.
If your employers don’t have a space for you to pump other than the bathroom contact your company’s HR right away.
Prepare ahead of time.
Make sure that you pump like crazy to stockpile your milk. You want to have milk stored so your child will have enough while in daycare.
A good way to get started is by having a pump schedule and staying committed to it. I also recommend taking a nursing vacation.
Stay home a few days or weekends and pump as much as you can. If possible every two hours. The more milk stored the better. Then you won’t feel so pressured during your work week.
Your milk supply will go down once you return back to work since your not able to nurse as vigorously so you want to be prepare with plenty of milk on reserve on the days your milk production is low.
Checkout Pumpingexclusively.com for some some useful tips on how to maximize pumping output.
Before you return to work have baby bottle fed.
You want your baby to be adjusted to using the bottle to make the transition easier when they are away from you. That way you know they will getting the nutrients their bodies need.
At least two weeks before you start work practice bottle feeding.That way you can find which nipple and bottle shape your baby prefers.
I went with the Kiinde system because you can put a nipple on your storage bag and it doubles as a bottle. This system was a space saver and a time saver. If you don’t want to mess around with a bunch of bottle parts and pieces you’ll like this system as much as I did.
Invest in a good electric pump and a good bag.
Before a friend gave me her Spectra I was using another brand and it was awful. I hated the loud noise it used to make so I wasn’t able to relax while I was pumping. The suction wasn’t quite right. There were way to many parts to put together for it to function properly. All in all, it was a nightmare.
The spectra is quiet and has plenty of settings to make pumping a breeze. I absolutely love the spectra and highly recommend it to any new mom who hasn’t purchased a pump yet.
Insurances are now covering breast pumps. Contact your insurance and see if you qualify for a free pump because you will need one.
A good bag will have lots of side pockets and storage for all your essentials-extra parts, cleaning instruments, snacks, hand sanitizer and storage bags.
Wear comfortable clothes.
Dress for pumping comfort. Two-piece outfits allow quicker access to your breast.
Get a nursing bra.
The nursing bra will allow you to express milk from both breasts at the same time. This way you’ll maximize how much milk you’ll get at each sitting. As a breastfeeding mom you will shortly learn that every ounce counts.
A little inside trick my best friend taught me is that you can take one of your regular sports bras and cut small holes by the nipple to make your own low cost nursing bra.
Being hands free also allows you to read, play games on your phone or just surf the web so that you can feel like you kinda took a break. I wouldn’t have been able to make it this far on my breastfeeding journey without one.
You will want to purchase one for transporting milk to and from your daycare provider. Also, if your job doesn’t have refrigerator specifically for your breastmilk to be stored in you will need it.
An insulated bag with ice packs can be used to store milk freshly expressed for up to 24 hours.
Keep extra parts of everything.
It is super important to have extras of everything. Keep them in the office or in car because mom brain is real.
I have ran out or forgotten a vital piece of my pump on several occasions and it was annoying especially since the way that breast pumps are put together one missing piece can cause your pump not to work.
Tip- You don’t have to clean your parts after every pump. Put them in the refrigerator to stop the development of bacteria.
Pack lunches and snacks that will promote lactation.
I know your busy working but you have to make sure that your eating and drinking lots of water. There’s a correlation in the amount of milk you will produce. The more you eat, the more you produce.
- My go to foods that helped me with lactation were:
- Coconut water
- Lactation cookies
You will need to pump during lunch during the first 6 months to have enough milk to meet your growing babies needs unless you’ve stockpiled.
For the mom who loves to multitask there will be times when you just are not up to pumping at lunch. Perhaps, you want to run an errand or you forgot your lunch and need to pick something up. In those cases a car charger for you pump allows you to pump on the go.
*Just so you know an ideal nursing schedule for pumping for an infant is before work, AM break, lunch, PM break and after work. That’s at least 5 times a day (The need to pump so frequently will drop once your baby begins to eat solid foods).
Have an alternative location to pump.
Just in case you’re not the only one pumping at work I suggest having a back up area. Once your breast get full your going to want to express it and having to wait for the lactation room may be too painful.
The more relaxed you allow yourself to be the more milk you will be able to produce.
Remember to put an occupied sign up and lock the door before pumping to avoid interruption.
Bring photos or videos of your baby to stimulate your milk production.
Do not look at the bottles to see how much milk you have produced. This will only make you anxious and stress you out.
Tip- While pumping lean forward so your breastmilk won’t spill on your clothes.
Pumping at work has it’s challenges. You’ll have good days, and stressful days when it feels like a job in itself. Try and think about how your giving your baby a healthy start in order to remain motivated.
Being a new mom is tough and a working mom tougher. I hope my real life tips make your pumping journey easier.
I’ve made it to 9 months pumping and I couldn’t be prouder. I want you to learn from my rookie mistakes and be just as successful.
How long have you been breastfeeding?
How long do you plan on breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding in public is by law a Mother’s right. A mother can breastfeed her child in any location, public or private as long as the child is authorized to be there.
California civil code section 43.3