8 Tips for Pumping at Work
Staying home with your baby isn’t a possibility for every mom. Whether you nursed them for 6 weeks or for 6 months, you don’t have to stop breastfeeding your little darling when you return to work. While it takes some getting used to, pumping your milk at work is an effective way to keep your baby off formula and on your milk, even if it’s not directly from your breast.
If you are new to pumping at work, read on to learn 8 tips for success!
Tip #1- Make Sure You’re Dressed for the Part
One of the biggest ways you can be successful with quick and efficient pumping at work is to make sure you’re dressed in breastfeeding clothes for work. You want to wear anything that doesn’t require you to physically remove your entire blouse. Maternity/nursing tops allow for easy access when you’re ready to get set up with your pump, as does a crisp, button-down blouse.
If you didn’t invest in many maternity tops while pregnant, you may want to splurge on these items since you’ll need a wide variety of clothes during your pumping period.
In addition to gaining easy access to your milk machines, you want to make sure you have a comfortable, supportive, but easy to use a nursing bra. Again, this allows you to hook up your pump or manually express your milk without removing any article of clothing-especially your bra!
There are many brands and styles to choose from, so do your research prior to heading back to the office.
Tip #2-Keep a Box of Nursing Pads in Your Desk
Piggybacking off the first tip, part of dressing correctly while pumping at work is making sure you have a nursing pad in your nursing bra at all times. While nursing bras do tend to be heavily supportive and lined, you’re going to have leaks. It’s better to be prepared than not at all. You can even toss a few pads into your pump carrying pack so you never have the hassle of running back and forth from your desk to your pumping area.
Tip #3-Communicate With Your Employer
By law, your work environment must provide a private space for you to pump. Some employers let you pick your spot, while others have something set up. Communicate with your boss before heading back to work as to where your designated spot will be (it should not be a bathroom). You are entitled to pumping whenever you need to do so. As a courtesy, you can give your boss a heads up as to how many times you anticipate taking this break and possibly when. While you may not have everything ironed out at first, you can have a ball park idea.
A great way to get prepared is to start pumping a couple weeks prior to going back to work so your body gets on a schedule and a system.
Tip #4-Invest in Insulation
Why spend hours out of your workday pumping if you aren’t able to provide your baby with your milk? Keep it cool and safe by placing it in a heavy duty, insulated bag. Your bag should be able to be placed in a fridge uninterrupted. If you kn
ow you have a long drive home, you may want to keep an extra ice pack or two in your freezer so you can toss one in one the way home.
There are many milk storage bags that actually look like a lunch bag, so no one will know what you’re toting, or what’s in the fridge next to their lunches!
Tip #5-Go for Speed
Some moms find it a bit of an inconvenience to pump at work while they’re in the middle of something or if they have an upcoming meeting with a client. However, when nature calls; it calls! You can speed up the process and get out every last drop by purchasing an electric double pump.
Compared to a single electric pump, double pumps are not only faster to use, but studies show that you actually get more milk, have an additional milk ejection, and produce milk with higher energy content.
How long will it take to pump using a double pump? Most moms report that 15 minutes does the trick!
Can’t afford an electric double pump? Most insurance companies provide pumping equipment for you to borrow, either free of charge or for a co-pay that you can use. Score!
Tip #6-Keep Cleaning Supplies on Hand
It’s so important to keep your equipment clean. Using dirty equipment can lead to infection, clogged ducts, and it can be dangerous for your baby. While it’s ultra-tempting to put back your gear after expressing your milk, clean everything.
When you keep cleaning supplied on hand in your pump bag, you guarantee cleanliness and high-quality milk!
Tip #7-Always Carry a Manual Pump
Emergencies happen. Mommy brain (much like Pregnancy Brain) is totally a real thing. Even the most organized women make mistakes and forget their stuff from time to time. If you come to work without your pump, you can still express your milk by using a manual pump. While it takes more time and more muscle, you won’t be in pain and your baby will have something to drink by the time you come home! Manual pumps are small, so you can keep one in your purse, your desk, or even in your car.
Tip #8-Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk
Your milk is expressed, awesome! Make sure that all of your efforts don’t go to waste and leave you crying over spilled milk. Milk storage bags are essential in keeping everything contained and sterile. While some pumps must be used with specific bags, you can do your research and shop around for storage bags that are known for their insulation qualities and that have the least amount of leaks.
Pumping at work should be easy since it’s hard enough to leave your baby behind. Keep a good thing going and pump to keep up your supply. With some patience, a private space, and some tools and accessories; your breastfeeding journey can continue!