6 Breastfeeding Moms’ Tips For Going Back To Work

We reached out to Medela moms for tips and tricks that help make pumping at work easier, and here are their best suggestions.

If you’re like most working moms, you’re probably feeling some sort of anxiety about returning to work after the birth of your little one. Add pumping into the mix and things can seem downright overwhelming. If you’ve made the decision to continue providing breast milk for your little one while you’re away, you might be wondering how you’ll fit pumping sessions into your schedule, or maybe you’re concerned about maintaining your breast milk supply. But, although it may be a challenge to adjust to your new routine, you can be successful and find balance. We reached out to Medela moms for tips and tricks that help make pumping at work easier, and here are their best suggestions:

Know your rights as a pumping mom at work. – Jaymi E.

Educate yourself on your federally protected rights so you can take a stand if your rights aren’t being respected. Employers in the U.S. are required to provide breastfeeding moms with a private place to pump (that is not a bathroom). They also must provide you with reasonable break time to pump for up to one year after the birth of your baby. Many states also have additional laws and protections related to breastfeeding and working moms. Learn more about the rights of breastfeeding moms in the workplace and find tips for talking to your employer about pumping at work.

Try to keep spares of the vital parts you need to operate your pump wherever you will be pumping. That way if you leave something at home or anything breaks at work you have a back up. – Jennifer W.

Consider keeping a spare breast pump kit in your car or at your office, just in case you find yourself without the parts you need to pump. You might also want to have a stash of bra pads, an extra power adaptor, or breast milk storage bottles and bags on hand. It never hurts to be prepared!

Videos or recordings of your baby babbling, cooing, or crying help you focus and produce breast milk. – Kimberly D.

Because stimulating your senses can help with breast milk letdown, you might also consider taking a whiff of one of your baby’s blankets or pieces of clothing. Looking at photos of your baby can have the same effect.

I got a Pump In Style from my insurance, but I went out and bought a Freestyle Hands-free pump, too. I keep one at work and one at home. It’s seriously so convenient and I never have to worry about forgetting anything. I also have a manual pump that I keep in the diaper bag in case I’m away from home longer than expected. – Caitlin F.

Anything that makes your daily routine easier will increase the chances of you reaching your breastfeeding goals. Depending on your insurance plan, you may want to consider two (or more) breast pumps to support your busy schedule.

Pump often to preserve your supply. Nurse as soon as you get home and as much as you can at night and on weekends to maintain that bond with your baby. – Elissa F.

Remember that your breasts produce milk on a supply and demand basis, so pumping frequently during the day can help you maintain your supply. Try to prepare a schedule that allows your baby’s feedings while you’re away to match your pumping sessions and fit in with your feedings at home, too. For example, if you pick up your little one at 5 p.m., instruct your childcare provider to not feed your baby for 1-2 hours before you arrive. Aim for pumping three times during an eight-hour work shift, or about every three hours you’re away from your baby.

I made a “do not disturb” sign because people always forget to knock (I pump in an unused conference room). They also let me put a curtain up on the part of the door that was glass. I schedule my pumping sessions on my calendar so I get a reminder to go pump during the day and so my coworkers know I’m not available. – Tyra G.

Making your pumping space your own can go a long way. Stress can actually affect your milk supply and make pumping more difficult, so try to ensure that you’re as comfortable and worry-free as possible when pumping at work. Think of it as your time to step away and unwind – whether you’re multitasking and continuing to work, eating a quick snack, catching up on Facebook, or just enjoying some peace and quiet. You can even follow Tyra’s advice and use a do not disturb sign or printable door hanger to maintain your privacy.

Pumping Tips for Breastfeeding Moms

Here are some shorter tips to consider, straight from the moms in our social communities:

  • If your company provides a pump, buy the attachments. You won’t carry as much.
  • Put placeholders in your calendar so people won’t book meetings.
  • Button-down tops.
  • Store pump parts in the fridge to reuse (only twice) – carry less.
  • Try to get into your work pumping routine a week or two before going back to work!
  • Pack storage bags in your pump bag in case you forget an extra bottle or lid.
  • Begin working on your home stash two weeks before returning to work.
  • Don’t work while you pump. Watch a show or something.
  • Don’t take crap from anyone!
  • Know your laws in your state for breastfeeding and pumping mamas!
  • Stick on your pumping schedule, no matter how busy it can be.
  • Always have an extra shirt and a bra.
  • Make sure you let co-workers know your pump times!
  • Extra pump pieces! So you don’t have to wash between pump sessions at work.
  • Medela disinfectant spray, extra parts, and quick snacks!
  • Leave a set of supplies at work. You will forget something.
  • Make it a priority – no one else will.
  • Set reminders on your phone for when it’s time to pump.
  • Check with your H.R. team to make sure there isn’t a schedule for the lactation room.
  • Pack the night before so you’re aren’t rushed and forget bottles like me!
  • Make a checklist of items to pack in the pump bag.
  • Get multiple pump sets! And a waterproof bag to carry the dirties home in. Wash everything at home.

Above all else, feel proud and stand strong! Download our breast milk storage guidelines infographic (also available in Spanish!) and printable feeding and pumping log to help you stay organized and keep track of all your sessions while balancing pumping at work. And, most importantly, remember that pumping and providing breast milk for your little one helps you maintain the special connection that you have, even when you’re away.

Find more information, advice, and resources for pumping at work at visit KinBenefits.com.