Everything You Need to Know About Pumping at Work…From Someone Who’s Been There
Whether your baby is six-weeks, twelve-weeks, or six-months, heading back to work after child birth and maternity leave is no small feat. Not only are you leaving your baby for the first time, but if you’re a nursing mama then you have a whole new world of pumping at work to learn.
I pumped at work for two full years (one for each of my daughters). What nobody tells you is that learning how to efficiently pump at work is like learning a new skill. It’s not quite as complicated as Excel, but it is both an art and a science to figure out how to minimize your time in the pumping room while maximizing the amount of ounces you produce.
At ICBP, we get it. So here are our tips for being a bad ass mom who gets her work done while also providing that sweet milk for your sweet baby.
Here are my top tips for having a successful pumping-at-work experience
Pack an Efficient Backpack
We recommend packing everything in a backpack. Some mamas spring for a cool pumping bag and some borrow their husband’s old backpack from high school (hand raised). Either way, as long as it carries things, it’s good. Here’s what it should contain:
- Breast pump
- Pumping accessories (tubing, breast shield, membranes, bottles, bottle caps)
- Freezer bags* (in case you forget bottle caps – I only did that about 3,000 times)
- Zip lock or waterproof bag to hold dirty supplies (I had two of these waterproof pumparoo bags and I’d keep clean supplies in one and dirty in the other)
- A washcloth to clean up any split milk
- Hands free pumping bra (LIFESAVER)
*Some people pump directly into freezer bags, but I found most spilled super easily so I choose to use bottles and keep freezer bags in my backpack in case I ever forgot a bottle top. But play with both and see which works best for you.
Involve Your Husband
I realize this one is counter-intuitive because a) your husband doesn’t have breasts and b) your husband doesn’t go to work with you. But hear me out.
My husband would pack my pumping bag every morning while I fed my daughter. This was hugely helpful and took a lot of pressure off me. He was also in charge of unpacking the bag at night and making sure my pumping supplies made it into the dishwasher.
Work While Pumping
The last thing you want pumping to do is add time to your work day and keep you from your babe. If you have a laptop, put a post-it over the camera (just in case) and bring it into the pumping room so you can continue to rule the world while also feeding your babe without adding any extra time to your work day.
Block Out Time
Work days can often get away from us, so your first day back at work, put a recurring meeting on your calendar at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. (or whenever works for you) so nobody can schedule a meeting while you need to be pumping. Because nothing is going to zap your concentration more than engorged boobs.
Also, if you’re a leaker (you know who you are), make sure to keep a stash of Lansinoh disposable nursing pads at your desk.
Build Your Freezer Stash
I learned this one the hard way with baby #1. I didn’t have a robust freezer stash which put a huge pressure on me to produce at least as much as she ate every day. And let me tell you, she was an eater.
With baby #2, I made sure to freeze a bag of breast milk a day during maternity leave (I usually pumped after her first morning feeding when my supply was highest).
Keep a Second Pump at Work
Anything you can do to make your life easier (sense a theme?) is worth it. I always kept one pump at home and one pump at work. That way I didn’t have to drag my pump with me and never had to worry if I was forgetting it over a weekend.
Find out if your insurance will cover one of our brandname breast pumps by clicking here!
Be Kind to Yourself
My last piece of advice is if the pressure is too much, ease off it. By the time my daughter was 9-months old it was too hard to be pumping 2x a day at work. So I dropped a pump and gave her one bottle of formula a day. And guess what? The world did not come crashing down.
At Insurance Covered Breast Pumps, we know that the pumping life is mom life. And we want you to be successful!