As maternity leave comes to a close, one of the toughest decisions new moms face is whether to wean or continue breastfeeding as they return to work.
Nursing while working outside of the home can be especially challenging. Scheduling nursing times immediately before and after work can become slightly obsessive and hindering, especially as mom and baby adjust to (another) new schedule.
So we gathered the most valuable tips for you here!
How do I prepare for pumping at work?
- Ask about available pumping spaces.
Check with your HR representative for available spaces. Under the Affordable Care Act, many employers must provide a room for nursing moms to pump as well as the reasonable time to do so. The space must be out of view from passers-by and it can’t be a bathroom.
- Pre-assemble your supplies.
This goes without saying, but keeping all of your pumping essentials in one area will greatly reduce the stress to your already sleep-deprived self. Having your pump pre-assembled makes the process much quicker and ensures you aren’t leaving a piece behind when headed to or from work.
Most pumps come with a bag for travel, but consider packing other items like breast pads, nursing cover, pumping bra, spare milk bags and an extra nursing top - just in case!
- Dress for easier pumping.
Nursing tops aren't just for nursing, they also make pumping easier. If you don't have a nursing top, button down shirts or flowy, wrap-like tops can keep you from needing to remove your shirt each time you pump.
A nursing or pumping will also help you get ready for pumping faster.
- Create a Schedule
By now, you know how important timing is to a productive pump session. Creating (and sticking to) a schedule will help reduce your stress around pumping.
Place an event on your calendar for reminders to you and the team that you will be unavailable at those times. Simply mark as “busy” or “personal”. Depending on the culture of your organization (and the gender makeup). You can even have a little fun with the event name!
Be flexible and patient with your co-workers as they adjust to this schedule as well. Explaining ahead of time that this is a necessary break for you will head off any office conflict.
Pumping at work can be a bit challenging, but with a little organization and grace, the transition will be easier.