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:
***Update!! From building a freezer stash to talking about your body 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, is now on sale. You can order now, via:
…and this blog has a new home, at http://workpumprepeat.weebly.com/blog. Please join me there!
Once you start thinking about your first day back at work, you’re likely to have some burning questions about how on earth to store up enough milk to leave with your baby’s caregiver. How to build up a stash is the question I get asked most often by new parents.
After you’ve learned how to pump, you have to get on a regular schedule of pumping and saving milk if you want to build up a stash. You have likely heard a lot about the supply and demand aspect of breastfeeding – that supposedly perfect cycle of your body making as much milk as your baby needs. This might make you wonder how you will ever get any additional milk to save for when you go back to work. But it is entirely possible, assuming you have a pretty normal milk supply. (If you have a low supply and/or are already supplementing with formula, you will have to work harder to store up milk, and you are likely looking at your caregiver supplementing during the day. And you are still an awesome parent.) Continue reading Breast Milk on Ice: How to Build a Freezer Stash Before You Go Back to Work
I’ve been around the block when it comes to working and breastfeeding – or, more accurately, working and pumping. I’ve interviewed hundreds of working moms for my upcoming book on the same topic (I’ll take any title suggestions you’ve got – my best one so far is Pumping At Work Sucks), and I’m amazed at the hacks and workarounds we come up with to make this whole horrible thing a bit easier.
So here, I bring you my 10 Best Hacks for pumping at work.
10. If you forget a pump bottle, steam-sterilize a coffee cup to catch the milk in. Wash and rinse, then add 1 oz. of water. Cover with a saucer or plate, and microwave for 2 minutes.
9. If you hang a “do not disturb” sign on the door of your lactation room, make sure it’s at eye level for men, too. They might not notice a sign hung down by their chest.
8. If your regular “lactation room” is a closet with no lock, hang a curtain on a tension rod inside the door to create an extra barrier between you and any intruders. It’ll buy you 5 seconds to frantically shout “occupied”.
7. If you forget breast pads, cut a pantyliner in half and stick it inside your bra cups. It even has adhesive!
Continue reading Top 10 Hacks for the Working, Breastfeeding Mom