Since I just had my second baby and am headed kicking and screaming back to work, I know that I’m going to have to answer the question: To pump or not to pump? Providing freshly expressed breast milk for my little one is a labor of love that doesn’t come from a grocery store. I choose to breast feed my babies for as long as I can when I go back to work; then, I just supplement as needed. So… How do I manage the task of juggling my inquisitive middle school students while attempting this task? Here’s some helpful tips I’ve come to know and love in this process.
-Be in the know. Go ahead and have that awkward conversation with your boss. In most cases, bosses are merely uninformed about our state law which enables mommies to pump at work. It’s important to be prepared for this conversation and you can do so by perusing this fact sheet. You can not only pump at work, but you have the ability to pump as many times as needed. Also, you should be provided with a pumping area that is private and discreet.
-Here’s your sign. State your business at the door. I was inspired by a sign I saw in a construction area on the interstate: “Men at Work”. So, I decided to hang a sign on my door that states: “Mommy at Work.” Point made. Make sure you’ve notified the appropriate people in your workplace about the sign to aid in less interruptions.
-“Don’t put that in your cereal!” Help your caregiver by bringing one large thermos/container to place in the refrigerator or keep at room temperature. The caregiver will transfer the milk into a bottle with the right amount for each feeding. Plus, washing three containers each day (two for pumping and one for the total amount pumped) creates much less work for a working mom.
-Chills and thrills. Leave your pump equipment attached and place it in the refrigerator to protect from bacteria growth. This makes it much easier to grab equipment quickly and pump efficiently. Exception: The flanges are quite cold if left attached in the fridge. Suggestion: place flanges in pumping bag instead of refrigerator.
-“Look mom! No hands!” Invest in a hands-free pumping bra. These can be ordered online or purchased in the local baby stores: This is a busy mom’s lifesaver.
-Emo Screamo. Make sure you have pictures and videos of your little love easily accessible. This is a great way to trigger a letdown when pumping while having a stressful or tiring day. Don’t be surprised what a cooing or crying baby video does for a letdown. Emotions are connected to this process much more than you could ever imagine.
-Take a trip to Breastmilkville. This is a time to relax. Although, it is important to take care of responsibilities in the work environment, this is a time to lean back, sit still, and enjoy a cool, sweet, salt-rimmed… glass of water and of course a snack.
-Rush Hour. Get back to baby as soon as possible. This is crucial for both of you. Whether you are nursing or not, the more you can be skin to skin the better.
There are so many ways to make a workplace a happy-space for the pumping mommy. Consider this website: http://kellymom.com for quick facts and opinions on pumping.