You just had a baby and hopefully had a few months to re-establish some semblance of a routine. At the same time, you know you’ve got to go back to work—and you know you want to keep breastfeeding baby. But how are you going to actually pull it off? No problem! Here is everything you need to know about pumping in the workplace, working with your care provider, and more!
1. Make a plan
Before going back to work, try to take a couple of days to mimic the scenario as best as possible. If you have the flexibility, doing a dry run to work or working for a few hours can be great practice. By prepping for what’s to come, you won’t feel as anxious at work as you would be trying to figure it out for the first time. You’ll have your pumping schedule down and will just continue with your routine.
Also, it’s not just about preparing for pumping. It’s also important to plan all the other tasks of going back to work beforehand too. For example, make sure your outfits are laid out the night before, your lunch is packed, and your pump is cleaned and ready to go. Don’t forget to have a change of bra and blouse in your bag just in case things go a bit awry. Prepping for the worst will prevent any unnecessary stress.
2. Get a double electric pump
Whether you’re at home or in the office, having a good breast pump is key to getting the job done efficiently and comfortably. As tempting as it is to get that single, manual pump because it’s super affordable, you really will make your day-to-day five thousand times easier if you get a double, electric pump. It’s simply more efficient than a single pump or a hand pump, which means you’ll get more work done during the day (and get home to your baby faster).
3. Add a Pump Session in the Morning and Stock Up
While ideally, you would be able to pump on the same schedule as you were breastfeeding, that’s not always possible once you’re back at work. Women tend to produce more milk first thing in the morning. So, if possible, pumping after you’ve nursed but before heading out the door means you can go a bit longer without having to pump at the office.
If you’re able to, pump in the weeks or months leading ups to your first day back, so you have plenty supply for your baby’s caregiver once you’re not around. Stockpiling milk ahead of time can help reduce your stress.
4. Band together with moms in the office
What’s even more effective is if you band together with the other breastfeeding moms you work with. Lots of women have gone through the same process, so it’s important to seek them out to make you feel more comfortable. Find other moms in your office and chat with them about their experiences and listen to their tips. They might have a great secret spot in the building or a few tricks that helped them pump more efficiently. It’s all about helping to ease any fears you may have.
5. Be comfortable
A lot of mom’s come to have a love-hate relationship with their pump. It’s understandable to not entirely look forward to pumping – it’s hard to feel the same bond with your pump as you do while breastfeeding your own baby (understandably so).
So, try and make your pumping sessions as comfortable as possible. If you can, listen to music. Bring a special snack in. Look at pictures or videos of your baby. If space allows for it, make sure the pumping room is comfortable. Oh, and this isn’t really about being comfortable, but it certainly will make pumping easier. You can just put your pumping supplies in the refrigerator in between pumping sessions each day. That way, you don’t have to worry about cleaning and sanitizing them each time.
6. Get a hands-free nursing bra
If your pump doesn’t come with a hands-free kit, you can buy a hands-free nursing bra, which can save you tons of time since you’ll have a greater ability to multitask.
7. Take care of yourself
Faced with the demands of a job and a baby, you may find you can accomplish little else beyond doing your job and taking care of your little one. This is a completely realistic expectation. The one thing you should not neglect is taking care of yourself. Fortunately, breastfeeding can help you do this.
When you get home from work, head for the bedroom and nurse while you rest lying down. If you and baby can take a short nap, the whole family will have a more pleasant evening. Have a quick and nutritious snack, so that there’s no pressure to start dinner right away, and enjoy being with your baby. If you have an older child, include her in this reunion.