Just know that you're not alone. Tons of new moms face the challenge of pumping at work every day, and they do so successfully. All you need is a little confidence, a solid plan, and accident prevention. Then you’ll be a pumping pro at work in no time!
Before your maternity leave…
Consult your fellow moms about what it’s like breast pumping at work. Ask if your boss seemed flexible about it, what the lactation room is like, and if they have any tips. They’ve done it before and most likely have helpful advice about pumping at work to share.
Then schedule a meeting with your boss or HR professional to discuss your plan to breast pump at work after your maternity leave. Be open about how you will need to pump every few hours. Having a pumping at work schedule prepared can help.
Most Moms breast pump before work, a few hours later around 10 AM, during lunch, around 12:30 PM, again in the afternoon around 3 PM and right after work. Be flexible and willing to work with your employer to determine the best schedule.
If you get nervous remember, under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) employers with 50 or more employers must provide reasonable break time for mothers to express breast milk for up to a year after their child’s birth. They must also provide a private space other than a bathroom for the purpose of breast pumping.
Use the Right Pump
Not all breast pumps are created equally, so it’s important to research your options to determine the best option for pumping at work. A double electric breast pump will help quickly express milk from both breasts at once.
You will also need a lightweight option for traveling and forth from work unless you leave a spare pump in your lactation room. Make sure the pump is battery powered in case the room doesn’t have an outlet or you find yourself needing to express milk away from the pumping room.
You may want to consider purchasing a quieter breast pump for more privacy. Some moms feel as if the hum of their pump is too loud and it lets the world know what they’re doing.
Make A List, Check It Twice
As a mom, you’re sleep deprived which can make it hard to pack everything you need while rushing in the morning before work. Slow down and create a checklist of everything you’ll need to pack the night before.
Packing the night before will also help you to prevent accidents from happening. Things don’t always go according to plan, but by being prepared a simple mistake won’t have to ruin your whole day or throw off your pumping schedule.
Pack your breast pump - It may seem like a no-brainer to take your breast pump to work, but it can be easy to forget smaller parts like the diaphragm, cord, tubing, battery pack, and more. Be sure to pack each part or leave an extra pump at work.
Take leak protection - Even a passing thought of your baby can make you lactate and soak through your shirt. Stop leaks by packing nursing or nipple pads. Also, always have a backup outfit on hand so you can quickly change if a spill happens.
Ice ice baby - If your lactation room doesn’t have a fridge then you will need to pack a cooler full of ice or ice packs to keep your milk chilled during the day.
Enough food - Breast pumping takes calories. Pack healthy snacks to last all day. Also, pack your lunch so you’ll have time to pump during your lunch break.
Breast pump wipes - Breast pump wipes are good for quickly cleaning up breast milk in a snap.
A reminder of baby - It can be difficult to pump away from your child at first. Take their photo or an article of their clothing to help miss them less and to stimulate milk flow.
While At Work
There first few days of breast pumping at work may seem a little chaotic, but don’t give up. You’ll get your schedule down pat after a few days.
- Wear button-down shirts or loose fitting clothes to give yourself easy access to your ladies. Also, wear a hands free nursing bra to give you the ability to multitask.
- Stay hydrated. Drink water all day to help stimulate your milk flow.
- Let emotions come. Missing your baby and lactating aren’t easy. If you feel a wave of sadness coming excuse yourself to your car or a private space until you’re ready to return to work.
- Try to keep your schedule as regular as possible to avoid issues such as engorgement.
- If someone stops you on the way to the breast pumping room, calmly explain that you have something to take care of and you’ll meet with them in about 20 minutes.
- If you forget part of your breast pump or something breaks, don’t panic. You can hand express breastmilk.
- Distract yourself. Take your laptop
- Clean your pump in between uses. If your pumping room has a sink wash your pump parts with warm soap and water. Also, some breast pump parts can be sanitized in the microwave and if you need to clean in a snap use breast pump wipes.
Bust Out That Pump At Work!
It’s totally normal to feel nervous about breast pumping at work. Bringing up the topic of breastfeeding can be uncomfortable, especially with your boss. However, to continue providing breast milk this is a conversation you’ll have to have! Then relax. Pumping at work can be difficult at first but with the proper plan, you’ll be a pumping at work pro no time.