When I returned to work after maternity leave and had to begin consistently pumping, it was so overwhelming! There was so much involved but it was really important to me and looking back I am so glad I did it! Even though I am no longer working outside of the home and don’t have to pump everyday, I want to make sure other mamas out there have as many resources as possible to help them continue to pump for as long as it works for them and their babies. So, today I’m featuring a post written by fellow mama and blogger, Jenny from Mom Loves Best with TONS of helpful info for conquering pumping at work! Plus, she created this awesome graphic for you to save or print out and keep in your pump bag or desk at work for easy reference!
Pumping your breasts isn’t exactly easy under any circumstances, but it can be doubly challenging at work. If you’re planning on returning to work while pumping, you probably have a million and one questions running through your mind,
- Will you have a room that you’ll feel comfortable in?
- Will your co-workers be weird about the whole thing?
- Will the whole office be up in your business?
If you need some advice on how to prepare and handle your in-the-workplace breast pumping concerns, check out this infographic by Mom Loves Best.
In the meantime, here are just a few nuggets of wisdom to help you get started on your journey:
1. You’ll want to stockpile your emergency stash of breast milk
You should do this about a month before you get back to work. That guarantees that you’ll have enough to cover any shortfalls that may happen as you begin trying to pump at work.
You never know if production will go down or if you’ll have trouble getting into a rhythm at first under your new pumping conditions. That stockpile will give you some breathing room so you can adjust to your new circumstances and work any kinks out. You won’t be panicked if you have at least a full day of breast milk, about 25 to 30 ounces, stashed in the freezer.
2. It’s okay and normal to feel like a wreck that first week back at work.
Even if you like your job, leaving your baby can make you feel like the worst mom on earth. Just remember though — you’re not. Being a mom can cause an enormous amount of guilt and second-guessing. But at the end of the day, all we can do is do our best.
Whether you need the money or you can’t fathom being a stay-at-home mom, you shouldn’t feel bad about having a life outside of your role as a parent. Laying a guilt trip on yourself won’t do anyone any good.
3. Try to score some refrigerator space at work for your breast pump.
If you stash your breast pump in the refrigerator between uses at work, you won’t have to clean it every time you use it. That can be a lifesaver, especially at work, when you need every spare moment of your time for pumping or for actual work.
Keeping it in the refrigerator will keep it sterile enough so you can use it again the next time you pump. Then at the end of the day before you go to bed, you can give it a thorough cleaning.
4. Try not to watch how much milk is coming out.
It can be tempting to watch your progress as you pump your milk. But you shouldn’t because that added stress can actually slow your milk flow down.
A pumping session may not yield more than a couple of ounces, and that can feel discouraging after you’ve pumped for 15 minutes. Try to relax and keep your mind off of how much milk is going into that bottle. Think of your child or look at your child’s picture as you pump — that will keep you relaxed and happy.
5. Find ways you can multitask and get more done
While adjusting to your new schedule is going to be tough at first, there are ways you can make it easier by finding ways to reduce the stress of pumping and increase your work productivity. One of the biggest game changers will be investing in a hands-free pumping bra, so you can answer the phone, write reports or return emails while expressing milk.
You’ve got this mama
As you head back to work, just remember that your first week back will be tough – but things will quickly get easier going forward. Give yourself lots of grace as you transition – and just remember that while pumping at work isn’t anyone’s idea of a good time, you are doing the best you can for your baby. As moms, that’s always our ultimate goal.
About the Author
Jenny Silverstone is the mother of two, a blogger and a breastfeeding advocate. You can find sharing information for overcoming common breastfeeding struggles, pumping tips and more on her blog MomLovesBest.com.