If you’re new here (welcome, welcome), I survived (yes, survived) a year of nursing and pumping milk while working full-time for my first little Peanut and am now doing it all over again (this time, part-time) with our second little one. I’ve pumped full time in the office, in my car, on the train, on a plane, in a bathroom (clean and gross ones), in a changing room, and probably in another gazillion locations.
Over the course of the years I’ve heard little tid-bits here and there (most from my bff, some from my Pediatrician, mom’s groups, etc etc) to make the whole thing go by smoother…or at least a little easier.
Like many things, this is what I found helpful. If you do not agree, that’s ok! Comments, other helpful hints, and discussions are always welcomed, but please, be nice.
- My absolute must-haves: hands-free bra (seriously, hands-free…as in I can still work on my computer while pumping), Medela freestyle pump (tiny, efficient, battery-operated. it fits in my purse or easily on my lap while pumping), Medela bottles (that fit to the pump parts I have), freezer bags.
- Try to set up a schedule for pumping if you’re doing it full-time. In fact, I have “appointments” set up on my calendar that are just blank for 15 minutes twice a day. If someone inquires or needs to schedule something at that time, I move them. Otherwise, they’re there to remind me and to keep those 15 minutes locked.
- Know your rights and be assertive. There are a lot of laws that protect a working mom who chooses to pump (like the space that should be provided). Don’t be afraid to bring things up if they matter to you.
- To keep up with your supply while pumping try to pump 5 minutes past the point of getting milk (for me, 10-15 minutes does the trick). I also found it helpful to have a healthy snack like oatmeal bars every couple of hours. And drink water. Lots of water.
- If you’re driving somewhere, try pumping in the car (you can be safe about this: hook up before you start driving and unhook online once you’ve arrived; this only works with hands-free bra and pump…seriously, please don’t endanger yourself). I pump while going to an event and then again on the drive back. It beats pumping in a public bathroom. If you have extra time, just arrive 15 minutes early and pump in the car.
- Pump before you leave for the day. This helps to keep the pumping at work at a minimum.
- If you’re nursing every 2-3 hours and have good production/supply, you can pump every 4-5 hours since you’ll be emptying both breasts. If you notice that this diminishes your supply, try adding some more time or a session.
- Have a workflow. Like everything else in my life, I find if I have my process and routine down, it becomes part of the daily thing and doesn’t feel as overwhelming.
- When you can nurse the baby, nurse the baby. Weekends/days off are all about the baby. This helps to keep my supply up and encourage the baby to continue to nurse. And, let’s face it, helps with the bond that encourages me to keep pumping.
- (Thank you Becky for reminding me about this one!) If you’re pumping at work multiple times, just refrigerate the parts in a tupperwear between use. If you don’t have easy access to a sink or are tight on time (both for me), I just refrigerate the parts along with the milk.
And here are a few of my favorite things for pumping and storing.