You’re all-in on being a breastfeeding working mom for as long as humanly possible. You’ll stop at some point before your now-newborn heads off to their first day of school, but right now your aim is to keep them happy, healthy, and well nourished — even if you can’t work from home as a new mama. You might not be showing off your gorgeous breastfeeding clothes at work (unless you’re lucky enough to have on-site daycare as one of your bennies), but you don’t have to nix the idea of nursing. Here are seven tips to make the transition to pumping at work a little bit easier.
1. Start early. Your baby is used to your boob. Yeah, that bottle manufacturer claims that their nipples are totally lifelike… but your baby knows the difference. The bottle feels different, smells different, and tastes different from you. Waiting until the first day back at work to switch the breast for the bottle won’t give your kiddo a chance to adjust. Have someone else give your baby a bottle (with your own milk in it) at home, practicing well before the big day. You may need to experiment with different nipple and bottle combos to find the one that works best for your baby.
2. Clue-in your caregiver. Who’s feeding your baby while you’re away? Whether it’s a daycare teacher, a nanny, or your own mom, you need to make sure that their caregiver is on board with your breastfeeding plan. Give specific instructions for storing and warming your pumped milk. If your baby is on a set feeding schedule, make sure the caregiver is able to work with it.
3. Pick the perfect pump. There is no single absolutely, completely perfect pump that works for everyone. According to the La Leche League International, considerations to take when choosing a pump include efficiency, ease of use, price, and sound level. Think about when and where you’ll be pumping. If you’re pumping while on the job (which you probably will be), you need something that’s efficient. But don’t neglect the noise factor: It could become a deal breaker when at the office (unless you don’t care about your coworkers hearing you pump).
4. Scout out spots. Your company instituted an “open office” floor plan. The cubicle walls have come down and the conference room is only marginally separated — and that’s with glass walls. All of the openness is kind of nice when it comes to the overall workplace environment, but it doesn’t do much for your pumping needs. Find a private spot to pump that doesn’t put what you’re doing on display. This shouldn’t mean hiding out in a supply closet or bathroom stall, though — most employers in the US are actually required to provide a private, secure space for you to pump until your baby is a year old. Ask your boss or talk to other mamas in your office who’ve been there and done that.
5. Find flexibility. Some companies offer alternative work patterns that may allow you to telecommute a few days a week or even job-share with another new mama. These flex-type arrangements give you added time to breastfeed your baby! This means you can leave the pump in the cabinet (at least part of the time) and get back to nursing.
6. Organize, organize, organize. It’s 7am: You have to get the baby to daycare and yourself to work. Now is not the time to play hide-and-seek with the bottle bag or hunt for your pump’s plug. Take time the night before to gather together everything you’ll need for nursing, pumping, and feeding. Keep a clean set of bottles ready to go, and make sure that your stored milk is somewhere that you’ll see right away. Pushing it to the back of the fridge or freezer may mean that you’ll forget it during the morning rush.
7. Pump like a champ. You already have enough stored milk to feed a set of twins, and then some. That doesn’t mean you should stop pumping when you get to work. Taking breaks to pump helps keep your milk supply up. That equals more milk for baby and an easier time for you when it comes to feedings. Try to stop for regular pump periods during your work day, setting up a schedule for yourself.
What’s your biggest after-baby back-to-work worry? Share yours and tweet us @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)