A working moms guide to pumping at work
Like the majority of us first time moms, breastfeeding is a whole new world. I remember being in the hospital after I had Maverick, and just getting the basic cradling hold to nurse my baby took some getting used to. I would wake up with such a sore neck from these new positions my body had to learn. I couldn’t help but stare down at my baby while I breastfed him. It was totally worth the sore neck!
As many moms know breastfeeding is a lot of work! Your always hungry, tired, and getting the hang of it doesn’t always come easy. When I was in the hospital I was constantly requesting to work with the lactation consultants. I wanted to absorb all the knowledge I could from them. I wanted to learn how to do every holding technique, how to get my baby to latch efficiently, and how to pump. In fact I actually wanted to stay an extra day in the hospital just to make sure I was able to produce milk and my baby was able to latch. I guess I’m just OCD like that!
Once your milk finally comes in it is go time! Making milk is a full time job aside from tending to baby. I would recommend starting to pump and store milk from the start! You never know when you will need some extra milk. It is great to have milk so your partner or family members can practice giving your baby a bottle so you can free yourself up. When Maverick was a new born he was eating every 2 hours. On top of him eating every 2 hours I would pump after every feeding session for 15 minutes. That is what the lactation consultant recommended and I’m thankful for that tip because I got a head start on my milk stash! I recommend freezing as much as you can in the Medela pump and save bags (Linked below).
Believe it or not breastfeeding was one thing I was so excited for. That exact moment when I nursed my baby for the first time I had an endorphin rush. It was nothing I experienced before, but it was such a magical feeling. There is something so special to me, that my body would be able to create and produce adequate nutrition for my baby to grow. I wanted to continue providing nutrition for my baby after my maternity leave was over. I remember having so many questions. How do I fit pumping into my busy work schedule? What do I need to bring to pump at work? What do I carry all my pumping supplies in? How do I clean my supplies at work? So many questions for this first time mom! Of course I asked other moms I worked with, and other mom friends for advice.
I was lucky to have had the luxury of staying home with my baby for the first 4 months of his life. I remember dreading returning to work. I was with my baby 24-7! I would cry the days leading up to starting work again. Besides starting work and leaving my baby, I had to figure out how to fit pump at work. Since I did a lot of research and I have been doing it for quite sometime now, I am going to share my tips and everything you need for pumping at work.
Before returning to work…
Before returning to work check with your supervisor to ensure you have a private place to pump. By law nursing mothers should have a private place to pump, that isn’t a bathroom. I work in a hospital and so I had to communicate with my HR lady. At my work we have special rooms throughout the hospital to pump. I needed special badge access to these rooms, so I recommend you communicate with the appropriate people a couple weeks before returning to work. Do a test run if you are not familiar with your breast pump.
Do a test run
Pick out a day and do a full run down. Practice pumping all day and practice giving baby a bottle of that expressed milk. Doing a test run can subside those first day of work nerves a bit. Have your bag completely packed with all the supplies you would bring to work and try to stick to a pumping schedule and use only the things you have packed in your bag.
Some supplies I recommend are:
A hands free pumping bra: holding the pump on your breast for 15 minutes is not ideal. This bra holds the pump while your hands are free to multitask, or amazon prime and pump. I was so guilty of this while I was pumping. I would buy endless things for my baby while I was pumping, its a real thing guys!
Extra collection bottles: These are great to have just incase you have a day where you over produce at work and your need more collection bottles.
Storage bags: Pump and store bags are great if you are working on getting your milk stock pile up. You can pump directly into these bags that will then go into the freezer. That way there is no need to pump milk into a collection bottle and then transfer it into a bag.
A cooler bag: I love my medela milk cooler and transport bag. It comes with 4 collection bottles and an ice pack. I bring this to work with me and it keeps all my bottles cold for my entire 12 hour shift I don’t even need to put this bag into the fridge.
Steam sanitizer bags: These bags are a lifesaver. They steam clean all your pumping supplies within 3-5 minutes. Cleaning pumping supplies is my least favorite part but it is very important. All you have to do is rinse off your parts in warm soapy water then throw the parts in the bag with a little bit of water and microwave it all. So easy!
Sanitizing wipes: Wipes are great to have on your so you can wipe the surrounding surfaces and your hands before and after pumping.
Snacks and water: Make sure to drink a lot of water. I know I have been extra thirsty while breastfeeding. If you are adequately hydrated it will be easier for you to make a consistent milk supply. As far as snacking be sure to consume those extra healthy snacks while pumping with your hands free bra!
All supplies I use are linked below.
* this page contains affiliate links. If you purchase anything through them, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases & you will be supporting me and my blog at no extra cost to you, so thank you!
My pumping schedule:
Prep the night before
Make sure all your pumping parts are cleaned and your bag is packed the night before. Having everything packed is key for me. Upon leaving to work I breastfeed my baby and get him changed. Having all my supplies ready to go alleviates some of that stress, so I am ready to go in the morning.
How was your experience pumping at work? Any tips I left out? Comment below!