I recently asked my Facebook community this question: “What’s the ONE thing you wish you’d known before going back to work while breastfeeding?”
…and the answers poured out. These ladies have been through the war, and they have really useful advice…
- Double check you have all your parts.
- Target sells Medela pump parts. If you get to work and realize you’ve left your parts at home, don’t freak out. Target can save the day! (So can Babies R Us)
- Bring separate pumping sets for each time you pump…i had a clean bag of parts and a dirty bag when done… Made it so much faster while there but made for alot of dishes once home!!! (Jessica’s note: after each pumping session, I prefer to throw the pump parts in a large, slider-top Ziploc, and throw the bag in the fridge. It’s cold when you start up the next time, but it’s sanitary and fast!)
- Pack extra of those white membranes (they are like socks in the dryer)
- Stash a box of breastmilk bags at work, so if/when you forget bottles to store milk, you are covered. Also just keep a few extra bottles.
- Microwave sterilizer bags.
- Buy a pump for home and leave the giant rig at work. Less forgetting.
- Don’t forget the bottle caps!! And if you do, just leave the shields on the bottles and you’ll be fine!
- No matter how many signs you have on the door, someone is walking in, so bring your hooter hider.
- Change of clothes in filing cabinet. (for leaks / spills)
- Make sure to have a hands free bra so you can multitask and work while pumping!! (Jessica’s note: I have found that the flanges/horns fit fine tucked into the cups of a regular bra, and I can still work – aka check Facebook – while I pump.)
…tricks to keep you on time and on target:
- Set an alarm to remind you to pump every 3 hours.
- Pack snacks in the pumping bag.
- Pack it all up the night before.
- Start building up a big freezer stash way in advance (Jessica’s note: more on how to do that here)
…and a loving reminder from a mom who’s been there, with the mom guilt:
- You may not be able to be with your baby but pumping might allow you to feel connected and present and contributory.
What’s YOUR #1 piece of advice for back-to-work?
P.S. Want more? From flying with a pump to talking about your breasts with the person who signs your paychecks, my new book, Work. Pump. Repeat: The New Mom’s Survival Guide to Breastfeeding and Going Back to Work, comes out September 8, 2015. You can pre-order now, via:
- Barnes & Noble
- Powell’s Books
- Indigo (Canada)
- …and more, via my publisher, ABRAMS Books