If you’re a breastfeeding mum who is looking to return to work, you’re no doubt wondering how to successfully balance your baby’s feeding schedule with your day-to-day work tasks. Thankfully, breast pumps have made it possible for breastfeeding mothers to return to work without having to find an alternative feeding method, but it can still be a daunting process to manage.
At Milkeaze, we’re committed to helping new mums in every way we can as they navigate breast pumping in the workplace for the first time. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of pumping tips for working mums to make the entire process as easy and stress-free as possible.
1. Start Early
It’s advisable to begin pumping and storing your breast milk a few weeks before returning to work for several reasons. On top of helping you build up a supply, starting early can allow your baby to get accustomed to bottle feeding while also giving you time to get used to pumping. This will help both of you work out any feeding issues and establish a comfortable routine before you return to work.
2. Set a Schedule
Set a regular pumping schedule that aligns with your baby's feeding times, with consistent intervals between pumping sessions. Keeping in line with your baby’s regular feeding schedule when pumping breast milk at work will help you maintain your supply so you can pump the amount your baby needs.
3. Invest in a Quality, Hands-Free Breast Pump
A high-quality double pump can be more efficient, reducing your time spent pumping by half and saving you a lot of trouble when it comes to emptying your breasts. Additionally, a hands-free breast pump can be particularly useful for working mums who want to continue working from their laptops while they pump away from their desks.
4. Find a Private and Comfortable Space
If you’re breast pumping at work, having a secluded, comfortable environment can help you relax and stimulate milk flow. Discuss with your HR department or manager about finding a clean, private space where you can easily and comfortably pump your breast milk without any complications or distractions. If finding a private space isn't going to be easy, consider investing in wearable pumps, like Joey, that allow you to pump wherever you want while staying totally concealed.
5. Bring an Extra Shirt
Leaking breast milk, commonly known as the letdown reflex, is a well-known side effect of pumping or breastfeeding. Even in the workplace, there can be a number of different scenarios that may trigger this reflex, such as a late pumping session or simply thinking about your baby. When this happens, it’s always a good idea to have an extra shirt in your bag so you can change easily and manage any surprise milk leaks with confidence.
6. Ask About a Safe Storage Space
Before you begin breast pumping at work, you’ll need to make sure you have access to a cooler or refrigerator so you have a way to safely store the milk you pump. Familiarising yourself with the recommended storage guidelines, purchasing high-quality breast milk storage bags, and organising an appropriate space at your workplace will ensure your milk stays fresh and safe throughout the day.
7. Keep Spare Pumping Parts at Work
As you step into new parenthood, you’ll likely find that your day-to-day schedule is busier than ever, especially when you return to work. With so many additional responsibilities, it’s completely normal to forget things from time to time.
That’s why it can be a good idea to keep some spare pumping parts at the office in the event you forget to bring them to work with you. This will help you keep on top of your regular pumping schedule and can save you a lot of worry if you do leave anything at home.
8. Remember to Be Patient
Above all else, it’s important to be patient with yourself. Breast pumping at work can be stressful, and every mum is different when it comes to finding out what works best for them. Granting yourself patience and kindness will help you find the right routine and rhythm for both you and your baby.