Just when you get the hang of breastfeeding, you're maternity leave runs out! It's time to figure out how to pump at work so that you're baby can continue to receive the benefits of Mother's Milk. These are my Top Ten Tips for Mamas Going Back to Work.
1. Nurse Breastfeed as much as possible when you are with your baby. It is the most effective way of supporting your milk supply. If possible nurse before you go to work, as soon as you and baby are together (even if that means at daycare), and on any days off.
2. Consistency Stick with your feeding schedule. Pump as often as you would be nursing, if not more frequently. Don't go longer than if you were with baby because it can affect your body's perception of demand, especially if you work consecutive days.
3. Pump at Home Try adding an extra pumping session everyday at the same time even when your home with baby. Or add a few minutes of pumping to the end of each breastfeeding session to bulk up not just your supply but also your breast milk stash.
4. Be Hands On Use a hands free pump bra and knead your breasts while you pump. Anytime you find a lumpy spot, massage the milk out. You'll get 50% more milk!
5. Stay Hydrated Breast milk is made of water so you need to keep replenishing. Start
drinking Mothers Milk Tea, Coconut Water and beverages with electrolytes.
6. Power Pump To kick demand and supply into high gear, try a day or two of power pumping. Spending 5 minutes pumping every hour you are awake. Be careful as this can lead to an oversupply, which can be a tricky situation to manage.
7. Upgrade Consider renting a hospital grade pump for work. They have much stronger motors than the ones you get from your insurance company or purchase at a store.
8. Be Organized Make sure you have EVERYTHING you need for pumping. Consider having a back up at work, like a hands-free bra, pumping sets, containers with lids, adaptors and spare parts. Also think about your clean up plan. There are wipes and microwaveable sterilization bags.
9. Plan Ahead Find out what your work pumping environment will be like before you restart work. Maybe even take a tour. Ask a trusted coworker that has pumped before if they can share their experience with you. They can give you tips and help you avoid pitfalls.
10. Make Nursing a Special Time Create a breastfeeding ritual that you can replicate at work. For example, use a lightly scented lotion on your hands every time you nurse at home, and buy the same lotion to keep at work for when you pump. Or play a lullaby while nursing and do the same at work. Try to avoid working or multitasking while you pump. Look at a baby video or pictures. Go ahead and get all nostalgic! It will help your let down.