Pumping at work can be so daunting and can discourage a breastfeeding mother retuning to work, from continuing her and her baby’s breastfeeding journey.
I’ve compiled a list of tips that helped me successfully breastfeed for 15 months, even after returning to work 12 weeks postpartum.
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1. Don’t be afraid of formula.
My baby’s caregiver always had formula as a back up. It really took the pressure off me because some days I just didn’t pump enough or baby was really hungry. The caregiver knew to always use the pumped milk before using formula. And my baby had had formula prior to my return to work, so he was accustomed to it.
2. I recommend having a Medela Pump.
I have this one. The book bag makes everything easily accessible. Medea also has a car adapter. When I first retuned to work I was using a Lansinoh pump, after I switched to Medela, I was pumping more, and had a much easier time lugging everything around.
3. Consider pumping in the car.
I had a 30 minute commute, so I would often pump in the car, after I made the switch to the Medela pump. I purchased their car adapter, and used this pumping bra to remain hands free. This nursing cover helped me cover up everything without interfering with my seatbelt. The extra pumping helped me increase my supply too.
4. Use a small cooler.
I purchased this small cooler because it looked more like a lunch box than a cooler. I kept it in the fridge at work, but it also kept everything cold on days that I kept it with me instead.
5. Use the Medela Ice Pack.
I used this Medela Ice Pack. I recommend having two of these in case you forget to refreeze it one day. It fits perfectly between the bottles, not taking up extra space. It is also dishwasher safe!
6. Use one set of pump parts a day.
You do not need new pump parts each time you pump during the day. All you need to do is keep your pump parts cold. My cooler had two pumping bottles, and two spare bottles in it each day.
7. Pump into the bottles your baby uses.
Unfortunately, this didn’t work for me, and may not for you either, but there is a way around it. I was using a Medela pump, but my baby used Lansinoh bottles. My cooler had two capped Lansinoh bottles, and two Medela bottles topped with the pumps parts. On a typical day I would pump 10 ounces, which filled both Lansinoh bottles. I kept an extra capped Lansinoh bottle in my Medela book bag. After each pumping session, I would pour the milk into the Lansinoh bottle. Each day when I picked up baby, I would place the capped Lansinoh bottles in the fridge. Tip #7 is crucial because chilled breastmilk separates, and much of the fat will stick to its container once chilled.
8. Get a breastmilk friendly bottle warmer.
The Kiinde Kozii is a bottle warmer specifically made for warming breastmilk. My baby’s caretaker would warm the Lansinoh bottle and top it with a Lansinoh nipple, easy peasy.
9. Work out the details before you go back to work.
Prior to returning to work I talked with my pricipal about when and where I thought I could pump. I pumped 3 times a day, for 20 minutes at a time, in a small storage room. It was not an ideal location, and I was walked in on a few times. I always kept my back to the door just to be safe. Also ideally you need 20 minutes of pure pumping, try to factor in additional time to get set up, etc. 30 minutes would be best.
10. Keep you eyes on the prize.
Countless times I was beyond ready to throw in the towel. Keeping up with all the bottles, being unavailable during my planning time, the awkward moments of being walked in on or lugging my supplies around, I was ready to give it all up. I would just remind myself that my goal was to nurse my baby for a year, and I did not want my job to get in the way of that.