Pumping is strange enough at home, but at work? The thought of being topless and exposed in the office is downright weird. To top it off, you have work to get done. The stress of pumping at work isn’t good for anybody. Mom, baby, and your employer aren’t getting the best deal if you can’t handle this temporary arrangement. The great news is, it doesn’t have to be so hard.
I successfully balanced 9 months of pumping –5 days a week– because I took advantage of every hack I could get my hands on. I reached my 1 year of breastfeeding goal much easier than I expected, even with a very demanding job and an eventual job change.
It didn’t take long for me to realize that I needed to find a way around all of the stressful crap that comes with pumping at work. I wanted to do it right, but mostly, I wanted to do it. Period.
This is my lazy guide to make pumping a priority without wasting time at work or at home. You might think it’s “too simple”, but we don’t have time for complicated.
Bring an ice pack
If you’re worried about how long your milk will be left in the car with youor whether or not there is room in the community fridge, keep it cool with an ice pack.
This was essential for me because I have left work WITHOUT MY MILK! For no other reason than the fact that I was d y i n g to get home. In order to prevent that from happening ever again, I would bring my milk to my desk after the last pump of the day and not worry about leaving it there overnight.
Don’t worry about washing at work
Gross? Maybe. But so is boob juice.
Instead of taking 5-10 minutes to “do the dishes” after already cramming your 10-15 minute pumping session into the busy workday, cut down and…. ready for this? Refrigerate your pump parts!
This absolutely changed my life! I already hate doing dishes, so the thought of doing them at work, at least TWICE A DAY made me sick. It was hard enough being away from my baby. There’s got to be a better way…
Thanks to my constant lurking (thank you, r/beyondthebump), I came across a feasible solution to that issue.
If the milk won’t go bad in the bottles, it won’t go bad on the cones and membranes. Throw it in the fridge and relax.
Wear pump friendly clothes
This might be upsetting to you since you can finally wear real clothes again… It sucks to think we’re still unable to wear all the dresses and blouses we couldn’t fit into for the last several months. We certainly go through some bullsh*t.
In all honesty, you CAN wear whatever you like, but this is about making pumping easier. Easy pumping calls for quickly accommodating those baby feeders strapped to your chest.
Getting in and out of the Mother’s Room in a hurry means you don’t want to strip down too much. Because no matter what, you can….
Expect to be barged in on
Hopefully it won’t happen to you, but it probably will. Having said that, you want to be dressed for the occasion. It on’t be black tie, but let’s pretend.
By expecting an intruder, it will be a lot less enticing to slip on the dress that you finally fit back into. Not just because it’s probably going to get a milk stain, but because it will be hanging up on the other side of the room while you “do the deed”.
Put dad on washing duties
This is one of my favorite ways for dads to have an active role in breastfeeding (thank you, millennials, for real dads a thing).
As moms, we already have enough to do when we get home after work. I would immediately walk in and scoop up the baby to breastfeed, while daddy transferred that hard earned milk into bags and washed the parts and bottles.
It. Was. Awesome.
But for those days that our routine didn’t work out perfectly…
Stash spare parts (everywhere)
Having extra bottles, tops, valves, membranes, and shields stored at home, at work, or even in the car. It can save you
That sounds a little dramatic, but imagine this: it’s pump time, your boobs are bulging and about to start leaking, but there’s no shield (the cone!) in sight! THAT is drama.
I recommend at least 4 spare bottles, and duplicates of everything else, at work AND at home. Better to be safe than sorry.
Stash a spare shirt
And thank me later. Milk leakage can suck. Its the only time to appreciate the privacy of the corparate cell, but bring ann edxtra wrinkle-free shirt for when you cant hang.
Pack your bag every evening
Because mornings are hectic enough with a newborn/infant/baby/child. Let’s be real.
Dad could take care of this too, after doing the dishes, but the parts will need to dry or make it through the dishwasher. There are probably clean spare parts lying around. 😉
Figure out your schedule
The first days back to work are all about finding your working mom groove. That being said, decide how many times you plan to pump each day and find what works for your boobs.
So when I say “figure out your schedule”, I’m really saying “listen to your boobs”. They will tell you when it’s time for baby to eat aka time to pump.
Consider a car charger
Depending on your commute length and your window tint, you could be able to take advantage of that time behind the wheel. My breastfeeding buddy required an extra session or two to provide that additional serving to the daycare, and she was able to make it happen on the way to and from work.
All you need is an outlet outfitted for your vehicle. These are incredibly handy for other electronics too, so win-win!
This is a great alternative if you have difficulty finding time to get away during the workday.
Save your pump!
My last headache-saving tip is to hold on to your pump! You will be eligible for a second one if you get pregnant with a second child, and having two pumps gives you the freedom to keep one at home and leave one at work.
Nothing made me more jealous than my breastfeeding buddy and veteran mom friend who had a second pump at home. I even left my pump at work once, only to realize I wanted it at home for stash-building reasons.
Since the thought of pumping “by the book” is exhausting (and you’re already sleep deprived), I’m hoping you can cherry-pick your favorite tactics to save time and smooth the transition from new mom to breastfeeding working mom.
Removing the ugly parts of a professional pumper is the best way to stay on track with your breastfeeding goals and your baby’s needs. Taking the stress out of pumping at work is simpler than you realize. Please start by doing me a favor and easing up on yourself. 🙂
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What are some pumping tricks you’ve picked up along the way? What is the best pumping advice you’ve been given?
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