It’s normal for new mums to feel anxious about returning to work after birth. And if you add pumping to the mix, things seem downright overwhelming. If you are determined to continue providing breast milk to your little one, you must figure out how and when to pump at work.
Not sure how to juggle work and pumping? These tips will make it easier to plan and navigate everything.
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
You are legally entitled to pump breast milk at work. Therefore, don’t ever feel guilty about it. Your employer is legally obligated to allow time for regular breast pumping.
It would help if you did thorough research on the law so that your supervisor doesn’t manipulate you.
PREPPING TO PUMP AT WORK
To get started, first of all, you need to buy a good breast pump that actually does the job right and makes pumping easier, comfortable, and faster. You may purchase a wireless breast pump or a hands-free breast pump.
If it’s your first time using a breast pump, it’s recommended to get the hang of it by practicing at home. Don’t wait until the first day of your job to use the pump. Start trading your nursing sessions for a pumping session.
Some breastfeeding moms might be introducing a bottle to their babies for the first time. If that’s you, make sure that the baby is already used to bottle feed before you head back to work. Don’t worry about the bottle and breast transition. Babies get the hang of it very quickly.
Don’t forget to talk to your employer about your pumping needs. You must also decide where you will pump. Other than a place, you will also need a refrigerator and other accessories to store the milk.
SCHEDULING THE TIME TO PUMP
Some of us don’t have a flexible schedule. Regular breaks are sometimes non-existent. That’s why you need to create a pumping schedule and discuss it with your supervisor.
Most lactation consultants suggest pumping three times a day. But if you can’t accommodate that, then pump twice a day. Plus, making a schedule will reduce your stress. Balancing becomes easier.
HOW TO PUMP BREAST MILK AT WORK?
Now comes the tricky part – how to pump breast milk at work.
Check our breast pumping guide for breastfeeding working moms!
PICK YOUR PUMPING SPOT
It’s always comfortable to have a private spot to pump. Even federal law requires that! If you don’t have a wireless breast pump, you will need a space with an electrical outlet. Other than that, you will need a comfortable chair and a table.
Keep the door locked and display a do not disturb sign so that your flow isn’t interrupted.
PUMP UNTIL YOU ARE EMPTY
Wondering how long a session should last? Ideally, you should pump until your breasts are empty. Don’t worry; it won’t take that long. Typically, it takes between 15 and 20 minutes. The law also protects your pumping time.
CALM YOURSELF FIRST
Since a cold conference room is not as cozy as your house, you might have to take a few steps to relax. Take a few deep breaths, meditate, and turn on a soothing song on Spotify. Once you are relaxed, start pumping.
Don’t mind swiping a photo of your baby. Seeing the baby’s face will trigger your hormones, and the milk will start flowing. As you become conditioned to it, you can start pumping right away.
It’s imperative to stay hydrated. Keep a water bottle at your workstation. Breastfeeding is hard work. You must have enough fluid in your body to use a hands-free breast pump and collect milk.
Apart from staying hydrated, you must also stay nourished. The food you eat also plays a significant role in generating milk supply and your ability to pump.
If you are working from home, you still need to set a schedule. While you can always hold your baby, but it’s difficult to balance breastfeeding with work. What if you have to step away from the baby for a meeting? You must have enough milk pumped to leave your baby with a caregiver.
HOW TO STORE THE PUMPED MILK?
Ok, let’s assume you have talked to your boss, made a schedule, chosen a room where you will be pumping. What’s next? Storing the pumped milk!
Pumping breast milk at work is one-half of the story. You can only call this regimen successful if you can bring the milk home in one piece and be able to feed it to your baby.
The ideal storage for expressed milk is always a refrigerator. If your workplace doesn’t have one, there is a solution. Store it in an insulated bag or cooler filled with ice. As soon as you get home, place the bags in the fridge or freezer. Label each container with the date the milk was expressed.
In case you are wondering, breast milk can be kept at room temperature for up to 4 hours. If it’s stored in an insulated cooler, it can last for 24 hours. On the other hand, you can keep it in a refrigerator for up to 7 days and freeze it for 6 to 12 months. Always use the oldest stored milk first.
When you get back home, nurse as much as you can at night and on weekends to maintain the bond with your child. Keep pumping frequently throughout the days so that you maintain your supply.
GEAR REQUIRED FOR PUMPING AT WORK
These are the essentials required to pump at work:
- A breast pump (this could either be a wireless breast pump or a hands-free breast pump )
- Collection bottles
- Cooler bag for transporting the expressed milk
- Nursing pads
- Extra shirt and a bra
Breast pumping at work can be a difficult procedure. Don’t beat yourself up. If you have to give formula milk to your munchkin once or twice a day, that doesn’t make you a bad mother. When life throws curve balls at you, adjust.
Hopefully, these tips will help you organize a breastfeeding schedule and make pumping at work more manageable and comfortable.Check the wide selection of Momcozy breast pumps to find the one that best suits your budget and lifestyle!