As much as you love spending all your time with your bundle of joy, you also missed your work life. Aside from getting mentally ready, you will also need a solution that will not disrupt the nursing routine you have worked so hard to master. While there are challenges to pump at work but it’s doable with a proper strategy in hand. Here are 5 tips for pumping-at-work success.
Get used to pumping before starting work
If you have been solely breastfeeding, then allow more time to get used to pumping before you head back to work. It’s best to substitute one nursing session for one pumping session two to three weeks before you start work. Familiarize yourself with the breast pump and also the feeling of being ‘milked’. Do take note that there will be some soreness as you pump so you also need to take all those into consideration. The practice with all the gear will help lessen the stress when you need to pump at work where privacy and time might be factors you want to consider.
When you are pumping at work, you don’t want to be fiddling with the breast pump or wonder if you are doing it right. Aside from you needing to get used to the pump, your baby would need the time to adjust to having bottle fed as well. So, have your partner or caregiver give your baby the bottle because you won’t be the one feeding him. Your baby needs to feel comfortable with being bottle fed and also someone else other than you feeding him.
Get a quality
If you are planning to continue to feed your baby solely on breast milk then it’s worth investing in a quality breast pump. It’s not easy to pump at work so save yourself the headache and get yourself a quality electric double pump that will do the work quickly and efficiently. Yes, it’s expensive, but a good pump will make your sessions easier, faster, and more productive but you do save some money from formula.
You can breastfeed your baby in the morning before you go to work, then pump every two to three hours, depending on your baby’s frequency at home. According to whattoexpect.com, most women pump three times in a typical eight-hour workday. The website advises to pump until both breasts are empty at each session, which typically takes about 20 to 30 minutes. However, once you get the hang of pumping at work, it could take as little as 15 minutes.
Pumping is the first part and storage is the second important part. No point working so hard at pumping only to find your hard work has been in vain. It’s best to keep expressed milk in a refrigerator but if your company doesn’t have one you can access to then store your milk in an insulated bag or cooler with an ice pack. You can then put the bottles in the fridge or freezer as soon as you get home.
Be sure to label each container with the date it was expressed. whattoexpect.com says that breast milk can be kept safely in the refrigerator for up to four days and in a separate freezer unit for three or four months. Remember to use the oldest milk first and if you are in doubt about whether the milk has kept well it’s better not to take the risk. Better waste a little milk than risking the little one getting sick.
To keep your supply up, you need to keep hydrated so always have water with you at your desk. Breastfeeding, whether you’re pumping or nursing, is hard work, and doing it at work can be extra demanding. Also, remember to take things easy and not stress about missing a pump session because stress can decrease your supply. Next, you need to eat well. Keep plenty of healthy snacks handy too, to replenish the 200 to 500 calories a day your body uses to make milk. Some nutrient-dense ideas that will give you the energy to continue pumping at work include granola bars, fruit, yogurt, nuts, cheese, and cereals.
Always remind yourself to cut yourself some slack and be flexible. Things can happen at work and you might miss a few sessions and it’s really not the end of the world. You do your best and with these handy tips in hand, we wish you pumping success at work!
Monica Leong is a storyteller at heart. Graduated with a Journalism and Public Relations degree, she is currently working in corporate communications and also contributes as a freelance writer and editor. Before entering the corporate world, she worked in female lifestyle magazines such as Marie Claire, CLEO, and PEARL as an editor and a features writer. Monica is passionate about writing and working on a short story and flash fiction anthology.