Pumping On The Clock: 5 Things You’ll Need
Going back to work after having a baby is almost universally stressful. Add to that the pressure of pumping breastmilk at work and the process can feel insurmountable. So, how do you make it work? The key is having the right tools for the task at hand, from clothing to milk storage and so many items in between.
These 5 items will ensure you’re headed back to the office with everything you need – so that your baby gets what they need, too.
Professional, Practical Clothes
There are a lot of professional women who pump on the clock, so while you’ll have to be strategic and might have to do some special shopping, there are plenty of professional clothing options that will accommodate using a breast pump. Button ups are a great choice, as are specially designed nursing shirts that zip away at the shoulder for easy access. And, of course, great nursing bras are a must-have.
Consider A Spare Pump
You’ll need to bring pumped milk home from the office, but a quality breast pump can be bulky and inconvenient to haul back and forth. As such, you might consider investing in a spare pump to keep at the office, along with the necessary accessories like a power cord, milk storage containers, bottles, and flanges. This will mean you’ll have one less thing to worry about as you head out the door each day.
Breastfeeding is dehydrating on its own, but most of us are better at drinking water at home than we are at work. Well, now it’s time to really focus on this. Make sure you have a water bottle and snacks to keep your energy up while pumping. If you have a hard time drinking enough water, consider trying out some hydration supplements that also add flavor to your water and which will help you keep your electrolytes in check.
While all breastfeeding moms have leaks on occasion, the reason you’re not constantly leaking milk is that our bodies release milk in response to various stimuli, like holding your baby, smelling their skin, or hearing them cry. Your baby won’t be at work with you, though, so you may need to bring a few items to help with milk flow. A picture or video of your baby or a blanket that smells like them can be helpful. There are also special tools that you can use to encourage milk letdown.
There are a lot of supplies available for milk storage, and different families have different preferences. Since you should have started building up a stored milk supply before you went back to work, you’ll already know what you want to use, so make sure you have plenty of it. You’ll likely need a combination of pumping bottles and storage bags. You may also want to bring a large freezer bag to put the smaller milk storage bags into.
You have a right to pump at work, and that includes having a private place to pump and an appropriate place to store your milk. As important as it is that you go back to work with the right supplies, keeping your rights in mind will help you advocate for yourself as you balance work and your infant’s needs.