Pumping at Work: Tips for Breastfeeding Working Moms
Maintaining milk supply begins with forethought.
You’ve been breastfeeding your kid and want to continue once you return to work after maternity leave. That remains one major question: How will that work?
According to lactation consultants Susan Buchanan, RN, and Marie Lattarulo, RN, the solution to continuing nursing and pumping breast milk after returning to work begin with preparation.
Here’s where to begin.
Make use of a double breast pump
Multitasking frequently frowned upon these days, but pumping at work may be an exception.
The advantages of using a double breast electric pump start with time savings. It’s extremely basic (and apparent) math: Pumping each breast takes 10 to 15 minutes, so doing both at once lowers the pumping time in half.
But this isn’t just a time problem. It’s all about output.
The volume of milk secreted increases when both breasts are stimulated to let down at the same time. (Some estimates have the rise at around 20%.) Furthermore, the increased milk has a larger energy-rich fat content for your youngster.
“The most effective method to pump at work is with a double breast pump,” adds Lattarulo. “There are also benefits for you and your kid.”
Using a hands-free pumping bra makes it much easier (and more soothing). That way, you can check work emails, phone your nanny, or look over your Instagram page while pumping.
Maintain your timetable
How frequently should you pump during the day? This is determined by how frequently your baby is fed at home. “Try to stick to the same fundamental regimen,” Buchanan advises. “Do what your body is accustomed to.”
Emptying out at the normal time is also important for sustaining milk output. If your body detects that milk levels are locked at FULL, it will automatically reduce production.
“A full breast that stays full is not a healthy thing,” Buchanan observes. “It must be drained.”
Another suggestion? If you leave your baby in childcare, try to arrange your schedule so that you may nurse him or her at drop-off and pick-up. This will allow you to spend more time with your child while decreasing pumping sessions at work.
Planning a feeding at the childcare location, if that is possible, also removes any end-of-day delays due to transportation, supper preparation, or other life realities. “Plan on taking the time right then,” Buchanan advises. “It will help avert future issues.”
Pump in a tranquil setting
Pumping your breasts at work may make you feel uneasy. It’s not something you’d do in a public place where you may be overheard, or in a restroom stall where you’re concerned about hygiene.
What’s the good news? Because of federal restrictions, you shouldn’t have to. Businesses are required by the Fair Labor Standards Act to offer a private room for nursing mothers to express milk. (Even though it is private, a restroom is not a permissible place.)
The ideal space would include:
- A door that locks to guarantee that no one walks in. (While a private room is not required by federal laws, a location that is screened from observation and free of interference is.)
- A comfortable chair near electrical outlets where pumps may be plugged in.
- A level platform on which to place the breast pump and other accessories. (Learn more about storing your breast milk.)
“It’s critical to have a comfortable, peaceful location to pump,” Lattarulo explains. “The idea is to be in the most relaxed setting possible.” That is when your milk production will be at its peak.”
Make use of sensory things
Nothing beats holding your baby to get your milk flowing. What is the greatest choice for this while at work? A little mental deception. “Use your senses to trick your brain into thinking your kid is present,” Buchanan advises.
Do so by:
- On your smartphone, you’re watching a stored video of your child.
- Looking at images of your darling child.
- Bringing in a piece of clothes or a blanket from your child to scent.
“These act as stimulants to aid with milk flow,” explains Buchanan. “It’s a signal to the mind and body to accomplish something.”
Maintain your regimen
It is critical to devise a strategy to minimize interruptions to breast milk supply. However, carrying it out well is the ultimate aim, which takes practice, according to Buchanan and Lattarulo.
For example, don’t wait until your first day back from work to try out your breast pump. “Use it a couple times to become acquainted with the equipment,” Lattarulo advises.
Visit your business ahead of time to view the area you’ll utilize for pumping. (Plus, it’s always great to show off your new bundle of joy to coworkers, who will undoubtedly coo and make weird noises.)
Also, attempt to make a stop at your daycare facility to see if there is a place where you might be able to breastfeed your kid on your way in and out.
“There is a lot of anxiety and uncertainty that comes with returning to work after having a baby, and that just intensifies when you add nursing,” adds Buchanan. “A strategy ensures stability and a clear route to success.”