Part One of our three-part series to assist with your return to work as a pumping mom...
If you’re like most moms, maternity leave seems to zoom by before you know it. Whether you feel like you’re up to the challenge of returning to work or you’re dreading that first day, if you’re breastfeeding your baby you’ve likely got a little extra on your mind.
You’re probably wondering how the experience of pumping at work is going to go and if it’s going to be awkward or uncomfortable. Before you raid the freezer for your stash of emergency ice cream, take a deep breath. We’ve got you covered in this 3 part guide with our best breast pumping tips that will make your life easier in the workplace.
The key to pulling off breast pumping in the workplace without a hitch is to think about it before you actually go back. Yeah, we know you’d rather enjoy your last couple of weeks of snuggling your baby and wearing your nursing nightgown in peace without thinking about work. But there are a few things you need to be doing at this point.
1. Create a Freezer Stash
You need to have some breast milk already stored up before you breeze back into the office. That way, your baby’s caregiver will have all the breast milk they’ll need for your baby and you won’t panic if your routine disruption creates a little less supply for you in the first few days of returning to work.
Ideally, you’ll begin preparing your freezer stash weeks before you return to work. The goal is to have as much breast milk stored up as you can. That way you’ll be prepared for anything. Just make sure to label the date each bag of milk is pumped so you’ll know it’s fresh when you go to use it.
2. Talk To Your Boss
The best time to talk to your boss about how you’ll need a place to express milk during the workday isn’t five minutes before you’re scheduled to start pumping on your first day back. Your poor boss will likely look like a deer in the headlights if that happens.
It’s best to give your boss enough time to come up with a game plan, especially if most of the people you work with are women who are no longer in their childbearing years or men. This may be a new situation for your boss, so you’ll want to give adequate time for figuring things out.
3. Assemble Everything You’ll Need
When you leave home with your baby for any reason, you always bring a diaper bag, right? You’ll need to apply the same concept to pumping milk in the workplace. You should have a designated bag you bring each day that contains everything you’ll need.
You’ll have your pump, nursing bra, accessories, a bottle of water, snacks, magazines, and anything else you’ll need in there. Since your letdown reflex can take a hit when you’re uptight -- and you’re bound to be a bit uncomfortable while pumping in the workplace in the beginning -- you should throw in a picture of your baby to help with your letdown.
4. Be Prepared
As a mom in the workforce, you’re going to have to be prepared -- you won’t be able to just wing it anymore. Try to cover your bases before issues arise, so you won’t be left scrambling. If you’re proactive instead of reactive, your time as a pumping mama will go much smoother.
About the Author
Jenny Silverstone is the mother of two, a breastfeeding advocate, and a professional writer and editor for the popular parenting blog, Mom Loves Best. In her spare time, Jenny enjoys exploring the great outdoors with her family, hiking, camping and getting back in touch with nature.