Returning to work after having a baby can be an emotional experience, and if you are breastfeeding you may be starting to worry about how the bond you have made with your baby will be affected. It’s hard enough maintaining a busy work schedule, but when you add pumping to the mix you might find yourself wondering how you are going to have time to get it all done. Here are some tips to make to help make pumping at work manageable and as stress-free as possible!
1. Talk To Your Employer
While you may not feeling comfortable discussing this subject in front of your boss, it’s important to communicate your wishes for when you return to work. If other women have pumped before, there may not be too much to discuss other than your schedule. However, if you are the first breastfeeding mother to grace your workplace you may need to let them know what you need in order to be able to pump during your work hours. Make sure to do your research before you talk to your boss or supervisor as they be miss-informed.
Before you go back to work you should plan on how you would like to store the liquid gold you’re pumping. Most information you read will encourage you to store in 2-4 oz containers in order to limit any waste once it’s thawed. You are able to store expressed milk in a common workplace refrigerator based on information from The US Centers for Disease Control and the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration and does not require any special handling. I stored all the pump part and expressed milk all in a cooler in the fridge with icepacks to keep it cold on my commute home.
3. Practice At Home
Now, you may think this sounds silly, and if you have been pumping regularly since your baby was born, feel free to skip ahead. If not, then make sure to take a few days before heading back to work to become familiar with your pump. You want the pump to mimic how your baby eats. Just because you increase the suction, it does not mean you will get more milk, but you will end up will sore nips. Try adjusting the speed, suction and your position to see what is most effective for you.
4. Build A Stash
Before heading back to work it’s a good idea to build up a stash of milk in the freezer as a safety net. This is actually good to have as a SAHM or working mom as it allows you to be away from your babe for a few hours without fretting being off their feeding schedule.
While I know how hectic those first few days and weeks being back at work can be, don’t be tempted to skip a pumping session or keep stretching them out further and further apart. This may result in a decrease of your supply, and potentially lead to you not being able to produce enough for your little one, which would be such a shame considering all the hard work you are putting in. Make sure to pump whenever you baby would normally eat and drink lots of water.
6. Invest In a Manual Pump
I cannot stress enough how important this is. I had to run out to Target and buy myself a manual pump one day when I discovered I had left one of my parts at home. I know in a pinch you can hand express but I always found this really hard and it took forever. I would just leave the manual pump in my desk for emergencies, but the peace of mind is worth every penny!