Since having Isla in December 2012 I never imagined having to return to work just two short months later. But with the current economic climate, it’s just not possible for me to continue to stay home, while Chris is the only one working.
I have talked over the years about my breastfeeding journey. I have shared my ups and downs, and how hard it was at some points breastfeeding and not having understanding employers.
Isla turned 6 weeks old the day I went back to work. Having previously had issues with pumping at work, I was pleased to learn that the hospital just opened a pumping room-not only that I will also have my own private office, so I can pump in there as well.
Been there, Pumped there
However, I recognize that not all workings moms have that luxury. I’ve been put through the ringer, and I have had to pump in some very not so pleasing places (like that I time I had to pump in a janitor’s closet or a teacher supply closet). For moms who don’t have private offices or lactation rooms, here are a few tips that I used in order to successfully maintain my four-year breastfeeding relationship, with my two older children.
Find out when you can pump
If you have a set break time, try to adjust your pumping or feeding schedule to match it accordingly (if you can). I used to pump once every four hours for about 15-20 minutes (maybe 30 minutes). Instead of taking a full one-hour lunch break, I asked that it be broken up so that I can could do two half-hour pump breaks instead.
Know the law
Every state has its own rules on pumping. But if needed, inform your employer that its illegal if they EVER try to give you a hard time about pumping, or needing to pump. There are employers who will *try* to make life difficult, but as a pumping mom, I know what it’s like to feel as if you should not have that time that you are entitled to.
Update 6/19/2017: Here is a rundown of the laws from state to state in regards to pumping.
A double pump is a must
There is nothing worse than trying to quickly pump during a 15 or 20-minute break with only one pump. Invest in a double one (they can also be rented from your local hospital). It’s the quickest and most efficient way to express milk as a working mom. If you don’t have one and you are on programs such as WIC they will often provide you one for your personal use at no cost.
Update: 2/14/2016: Double pumps are now covered by insurance! Make sure you get one!
Don’t forget the bags (or ice pack)!
It can be a bit messy transferring milk from bottles to bags, but if you aren’t planning on using the milk right away when you get home, it’s absolutely necessary to have them. This is especially true if you have a major oversupply issue like I do. This way if my bottles are filled to the max, I can easily switch out and use the bags.
An ice pack is important in case you don’t have access to a fridge or freezer. Make sure you have some type of cooler available to keep your milk at the appropriate temp until you get home.
It can be very intimidating at first when you are having to pump at work. But I promise it’s not a scary as it sounds! It takes some time to get used to it, especially if you don’t have the ideal conditions, but within a few work pump sessions, you will be a pro! Here’s to successful process!