For all the super-moms out there, an extensive guide to pump at office.
It is just a matter of time, that you will have to resume office, left with an intimidating choice of whether to continue exclusively breastfeed your baby, or start with a top feed.
If you wish to pump at the office, the following article will provide you with an in-depth approach to how to do so, along with some practical tips, tricks, and a way to plan methodically.
We will walk you through a few steps like making a pumping schedule, a prior discussion with your organization and HR department, laws that you should be aware of, the various storage methods, and some essentials needed to achieve this.
Why Is It So Important to Pump at Work?
You should diligently pump at the office, as it ensures that your body produces the required quantity of feed.
If you only breastfeed your child before and after the working hours, which we can consider morning and evening, then the body will get into the same routine.
It is highly possible that you will not be able to produce feed for the whole day even on your days off!
Leaking and breast engorgement are other possible adverse outcomes of not pumping while at the desk.
Another adverse effect it may have on your body is you may experience swelling of breasts which may become extremely painful.
Prerequisites to Pumping at Work
You should make a note of a few of the below points, before actually resuming office and sending your kid to school or day-care.
1. Mentally Prepare Yourself to Pump at Office or Decide Upon Weaning
In most cases, you will have to resume work after a period of around 6 months. You must prepare yourself mentally to express milk at the workstation. It might seem intimidating, in the beginning, to actually stay away from your little one and express milk outside of the comfort of your home.
Many times, due to a lack of clarity, some mothers may decide on weaning off the kid.
2. Choose a Perfect BreastPump and Figure Out Using It
To effectively express at the office, it is of prime importance that you select the best breast pump for working moms well in advance before resuming office. You always have a choice between manual vs electric breastpump.
3. Make Your Child Comfortable Feeding Through a Bottle
For all the initial months, if you have not introduced a bottle to your kid, it is best that you do so a few weeks in advance before resuming office.
This will provide you with ample time on figuring out which bottle works best for your child. You can start off with short nipple bottles.
8 Best Tips For Moms Wanting To Pump at Work
It is extremely normal to have jitters while deciding to pump. Follow the tips below, and it will be a cakewalk for you!
1. Know the Laws
You should be well informed about the laws about expressing milk at work.
As per the Federal Breaktime for Nursing Mothers law, if the employer is covered under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), they need to provide basic accommodations for breastfeeding mothers at the office.
Under the above-mentioned law, a working mother is entitled to a reasonable break time to express milk as well as a private space to do so. A bathroom cannot be considered a private space under this law.
As per this law, a working mother is entitled to avail benefits of this law for a period of 1 year after resuming office.
2. Discuss Your Plans With the Company Management
It is always a best practice that you inform the company management and the HR department in advance if you plan to pump at the office.
This would save everyone from last minute hassles and confusion. It will provide ample time for your organization to plan on how they can help you out in this new journey.
You can ask for the provision of a separate room or a private space to your employer before resuming work. Most of the workplaces are equipped with this facility, however, a prior notice wouldn’t harm anyone!
3. Invest in a Great Breast Pump
It is important that you select the best breast pump for working moms.
Let us take a look at what things should you consider in the “best breast pump for working moms” checklist:
Compact and Handy
While at work, the breastpump you select must not be very bulky and cumbersome. You should always try and select the one that is easily portable.
There are various factors that you should consider, such as, how you travel to your work. If you are commuting via public transport, a bulky one would be a big no-no.
Another thing to consider is that if you are buying an electric one, the cords and the plugs should be of an appropriate size.
You will always want to be as efficient as possible while pumping at work. To efficiently pump at work, it is always advisable that you purchase an electric one.
You might contemplate purchasing a manual one, but in popular opinion, the electric one wins hands down!
You might also consider purchasing a double electric option. This will enable you to express milk from both breasts at the same time, thus also saving your time at the office.
Level of Noise a Pump Makes
You must select a proper one that causes the least noise, considering that you will be pumping at work.
4. Buy Other Essential Supplies
Along with a breast pump, there are a few other supplies that will come in handy. Below are the few supplies that we recommend and new moms have sworn by:
You will need to think well in advance regarding how you would want to store the milk. You can either select storage bags or storage bottles. Using these would help you build up your feed stash, which can be used as a backup.
Using a storage bag has an upper hand as compared to the bottles. It is easier to store them, as they can be arranged sideways or on top of each other.
You should also consider where you would be storing the expressed milk at work. You can use a shared freezer at your organization for this purpose.
This brings us to the next essential in line.
Since you would be using a shared freezer or cold storage at the workplace, it makes sense that you need to invest in water-proof labels.
You should use these labels to mention that it’s expressed milk, along with the baby’s name and the date on which you have pumped it.
If you plan on making a storage stash for a longer-term, you should also mark the date on which the feed is supposed to be given to your child. This will make it easier and convenient for you.
You should invest in clothes that let you easily pump at work. A few of the suggested clothing items include a pumping bra and nursing pads. It is always a good practice to keep a spare top handy.
A pumping bra would do wonders for you, helping you in managing your time effectively. It will enable you to do the job without actually removing your bra. You just need to take the bra flaps down and fasten them around your neck.
Nursing bags and an extra set of clothes would come in use in case of milk leakage.
Few Extra Bottles
Picture this: your kid is at daycare for the whole day. Now, it is inevitable that you need to provide around 3-5 bottles at daycare.
Along with that, you will need around 3-6 bottles while expressing milk at the office. Hence, the extra bottles are a must!
Microwave Sanitizing Bags
The last thing you would want is to return home after a long day at the office, and rather than spending time with your little one, you need to spend time cleaning your pumping machine.
That’s where these bags would come in handy. You can simply put all of your equipment in the bag, and your task is done.
A proper sanitizing bag provides reliable steam treatment, eliminating most of the bacteria and germs. Most of the bags are reusable and extremely compact.
A cooler bag will be a perfect solution in transporting the pumped milk from the workplace to home. Also, if there is no provision of a cooler or freezer at your workplace, which is highly unlikely, then the cooler bag or insulated bag will be useful.
4. Find a Proper Space
Ideally, you should have a dedicated space for pumping. It can be any room, a meeting or a conference room, or a mother nursing room, with time dedicated for you.
You should note that a washroom is not a proper place!
If there is no arrangement for any room, you can always request your employer or management to install some dark curtains at your work desk. They would act as your own little private space while pumping.
5. Decide Upon the Number of Times You Should Pump at Work
According to lactation consultants, you should express the same number of times as you would have breastfed while at home.
Doing so will help your body yield the proper quantity of feed as per the child’s need and also reduce the chances of breast engorgement.
6. Make a Pumping Schedule
You should do this to manage your express and pump time effectively. Making this schedule will help you in tracking the production as well as finding out the most performing pump time.
It is a good practice that you add those schedules to your office calendar. This will help your co-workers know that you will not be available for some time.
You should never forget caring for yourself while expressing milk. Below are a few of the tips that you should follow:
Keep up a Good Supply of Water
It is inevitable that you will feel extremely thirsty while pumping. The more you consume water, the more efficiently you will be able to pump, thus improving your work efficiency as well.
Keep up a Good Supply of Snacks
It is no new piece of information that a lot of calories are consumed while expressing milk or breastfeeding.
It is always advisable that you have a good collection of healthy snacks while expressing milk. A healthy granola bar is always a great option!
You should be staying hydrated and well-nourished.
Keep Some Wet Wipes and Tissues Handy
Expressing milk may sometimes be a messy affair, due to the overflow or maybe spilling. You should always keep wipes and tissues handy to clear out the mess.
Giving birth and raising a child is not a cake-walk. Kudos to all the new moms out there, who are trying their best to maintain a work-life balance. Do not let the idea of expressing at the office intimidate you.
Breastfeeding itself is an activity that requires a lot of patience. Incorporating it with the hectic work schedule to provide your child with exclusive breast milk involves a huge endeavor.
With meticulous planning, proper communication at your workplace and with your colleagues, and some hard efforts, you will be able to express milk properly as well as provide your little one with all the love and nutrition that he or she deserves.
You can plan in advance regarding the amount of milk that is needed, and make a proper schedule to avoid any hassles at the office.