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I’ll be honest…pumping is HARD. I’ve been pumping at work with my second baby for over 6 months now, and I exclusively pumped with my first for 9 months. It can be really draining fitting in pumping with a full time job. I hear all the time from Moms who go back to work and lose their supply or just can’t make it work. So I wanted to share some tips and advice I picked up along the way to help any mamas that are planning on a return to work or currently struggling with managing pumping and working full time.
Tips for Pumping as a Working Mom
- Plan to pump as many times as you would be nursing (especially when you first return) – supply and demand have a direct relationship when it comes to breastfeeding. To make sure that your supply doesn’t tank, you’ll need to keep up the pumping to replace the nursing sessions you are missing.
- Go hands free! Either invest in a hands-free pumping bra (here is my absolute favorite – it’s super adjustable to all sizes and very well made) or a wireless pump (Elvie seems to be the most loved wireless option at the moment). If you travel a lot, have a long commute, or don’t have a great set up at work to pump the wireless pump may be well worth the investment. Either way, this will free up your hands to get some work done. So you can keep shooting off those emails or making progress on that project even while you pump. Win-win!
- Set a schedule and block your calendar – this isn’t to say you can’t flex 30 minutes to an hour here and there, but blocking some time will help you actually make the time. Most people won’t schedule meetings over busy time unless it’s high priority, so use that to your advantage. Make sure you have a conversation with your manager to get support on your pumping schedule when you return to work. Federal law requires your employer to provide you a location to pump and the time to do it too!
- Check out Milkstork if you have to travel at all for your job – it’s a service that provides a freezer cooler that you can overnight or carry your milk back with. I’ve used it many a time (I’ve both paid for it myself and expensed it through my employer). I truly feel that it is worth every.single.penny. it takes so much pressure and stress off knowing I can get milk back home while I am gone.
- Get in extra nursing sessions at night and on the weekend – your baby is more efficient than at pump at emptying your breast. Getting in good nursing sessions while at home will help you maintain a good supply.
- If I notice my supply is dropping, I will pump for longer, throw in an extra pumping session during the day, or power pump. A power pump is where you pump for 15-20 minutes. Take a break for 10, pump for 10, repeat until the hour mark. Doing these things have always helped me get my supply back up when it dipped.
- Relax and pull up some pictures of that adorable little baby of yours! Thinking about your little snuggly baby can encourage your let down reflex and help you get more milk. Also, if you are super stressed, it can inhibit let down. Sometimes taking a quick 5 minute break can get the milk flowing again!
I hope you found some of these tips helpful! Best of luck to you on your pumping journey Mama.
You may also be interested in checking out my 10 Tips for an Easy Transition Back to Work from Maternity Leave.
Thanks for stopping by!