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Get breast pumping tips so you can tackle pumping at work. Pumping at work can be tricky, but you’ve probably learned by now that moms are superheroes, and you can totally do this! Here’s what you need to know to pump at work like a pro!
It can be so hard to go back to work after your maternity leave. Leaving your baby (maybe for the first time ever) can bring so many emotions including anxiety and guilt. And if you’re breastfeeding and want to continue to breastfeed, it can make going back to work even more difficult.
One of the hardest things about going back to work is managing pumping. There are a few different things that you’ll have to put in place to pump at work successfully. At first, pumping at work might seem totally strange and inconvenient, but eventually it will become part of your routine and something that you just do! Don’t worry, you’ll get the hang of it soon enough. Here are some breast pumping tips to get you started!
Breast pumping tip #1: Prepare Before returning to work
Start to plan before you officially have to go back to work. Get out your pump if you haven’t already and get familiar with it. Make sure you know how to set it up and that it fits you correctly. Pump some milk if you can to make sure everything works and start to build up your freezer stash. You’ll need at least enough milk to get you through your first day back to work.
If you don’t have your own office at work, check in with your Human Resources department to see where you can pump. There are laws in place that require employers to have a place for moms to pump. You can send them an email while you’re still on leave just to make sure you have all your ducks in a row when you return.
If you can, bring extra sets of pumping parts so you don’t have to sanitize them all in the bathroom. Many women also like to have multiple pumps—one they can keep at home and one they can leave in the office. That way you don’t have to lug your pump to and from each day.
Stock up on other helpful supplies for pumping at work. Having a few convenient items can make pumping at work a lot easier.
BREAST PUMPING TIP #2: Helpful Supplies
- Grab a hands-free pumping bra so you can multitask. You can wear this and still return emails at your computer (but also feel free to just ogle videos of your baby too!)
- Comfortable flanges to make pumping a bit more pleasant.
- Quick clean breast pump wipes: These are amazing and make it so you don’t have to wash your parts each time. No need for water, soap, or drying racks with these! Just pump, wipe, and put your parts in the fridge or cooler. Such a great breast pumping tip!
- Cooler bag to transport your milk if you don’t have access to a fridge.
- Pumping car adapter: Some moms who have a longer commute pump to and from work using the pump car charger.
- The Freemie Mobile Hands-Free Pump is battery powered so you truly can pump anywhere.
- Hand pump at your desk just in case you forget any key electric pumping parts or the power ever goes out!
BREAST PUMPING TIP #3: pumping Time
Set aside time in your daily work schedule to pump every two to three hours, or as often as your baby nurses. Set alarms on your phone or calendar so you’ll be reminded in case you lose track of time. If you share a calendar with others you can put all your pumping breaks on it so people know not to interrupt you.
Plan about 20 to 40 minutes for each pumping session. And remember, the more you do it, the more efficient you will likely become.
Put a sign on your office door or the door of where you’re pumping to let people know you are unavailable and they can come back later.
Put on your hands-free pumping bra and hook up your pump. You can pump directly into breastmilk storage bags or bottles, whichever is easier for you.
Now pull up one of those adorable, squishy-cheek photos or videos of your little babe and sit and relax. You can also bring a small blanket or pair of pajamas to smell to help with let down and get you in the milk-making mood.
BREAST PUMPING TIP #4: How to Store Breastmilk
You can keep your breastmilk at room temperature (up to 77°) for up to four hours. If you need to store if for longer, refrigerate it or use a cooler with an ice pack to store it for up to 24 hours.
Make sure to use your pumped breastmilk within four days. After four days, move it to the freezer so you can use it another time.
If you’re going to freeze it, label it with the date it was pumped. One way to make sure you rotate through it is to defrost milk on Sunday for Monday and then use fresh pumped milk Tuesday through Friday. You can then freeze what you pump on Friday.
Post a note or set an alarm on your phone to remind yourself to bring the milk home! You don’t want to leave your liquid gold at the office. You could even put your keys with your milk stash so you’re sure to remember to grab it.
If you’re looking for additional information on how to pump at work, Milkology has a great class that is full of helpful information. The Ultimate Back to Work Pumping Class includes even more information on pumping at work!
BREAST PUMPING TIP #5: After Work
Once you’re home for the day, get your baby snuggles in and nurse your baby as usual to help keep supply up. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the evening and relax and snuggle.
Great job mama! The more you pump at work, the more regular it will become!
Finally, wear pumping at work like a badge of honor! My sister-in-law says some of her best networking was done in pumping rooms. It gave her a chance to actually talk to women she wouldn’t otherwise meet face-to-face. Other moms might see your pump and ask about your baby as an icebreaker. Pumping might actually be a good way to meet new colleagues and build connections!