THE WORKING MOM’S GUIDE TO MAXIMIZE BREAST PUMPING
Maternity leave is over and you are heading back to work. Sob. While I can’t promise you it will be easy, I have put together a few breast pumping tips for working moms that are guaranteed to make the transition a bit less stressful.
In addition to your pump, bottles with lids, a great hands-free pumping bra and some pictures of your darling bundle of joy, these 5 tips will help streamline the at-work pumping experience:
- Stay hydrated! Yes, you are stressed and balancing a ton of stuff right now. One of the best things you can do to maximize each pumping session is to stay hydrated throughout the day. Keep a water bottle with you at all times and remember to drink often.
- Find a private, comfortable place to pump. Federal laws now require this is provided by your employer if there are over 50 employees. Make sure it has an electric outlet unless you use a battery operated pump. I personally prefer to sit while I pump, so a comfortable chair is a must for me.
- Block out time in your day (approximately every 3 hours or so) for pumping. Realistically, I need 45 minutes. This includes 15 minutes for prep, settling in and clean up as well as a solid 30 minutes to pump. I suggest blocking the time in your calendar and set an alert so that you make sure to be ready for each pump session. It is also important to communicate with coworkers that you need this time to pump. Yes, I do realize that it can be challenging to take this much time away from your work but rushing your pump session makes it less productive and can lead to health issues. This is where a great hands-free pumping bra is a lifesaver. I often multitask while pumping and, if you have been on a conference call with me, you will often hear that delightful pump in the background while I am speaking. (The rest of the time I am on mute - just good conference call etiquette.)
- Bring an insulated cooler bag and ice pack to work with you. This will make transporting your pumped milk home a breeze. Keep the ice pack in the freezer until you’re ready to head home and you won’t have to worry about spoiled breast milk.
- Refrigerate your pump parts between pumping sessions. This was a HUGE timesaver for me. I was a few months in to pumping before I learned that you can refrigerate pump parts between pump sessions so you don’t have to sterilize them each time. Total game changer!
These tips will ensure you are able to continue to breastfeed and pump for as long as you like - even as a working mom. Now pack up your pump and go pick out the perfect outfit for tomorrow’s meetings. You got this, mama!