At our office, a few new mamas have recently returned to work, which always brings back memories of my emotional first weeks back from maternity leave. It’s been two years since returning to the office as a mom, and I’m still exhausted and trying to figure out how to be both an engaged mom and a valuable employee. However, after nine months of pumping at my desk, I did pick up a few tips that other new working moms may find helpful.
But first, let’s take a moment to recognize that working moms are amazing. And if you are a working mom who is, or is considering, pumping at work, you go, girl! Maintaining a busy workload on minimal sleep is tough, and adding pumping sessions every 2-3 hours makes it all just a little more challenging. It can be done, though, and it is definitely worth it. There are a few blogs that I relied on to keep me motivated, and I hope this post includes some functional tips to help make your life just a little easier.
New Dress Code
Go ahead and invest in a couple of versatile wrap dresses and loose blouses to help save time before and after you pump. These are also flattering for that curvy new mom figure you’re rocking and will come in handy if you are ever in need of maternity clothes again. *wink-wink*
Hands-Free Pumping Bra
I took about 4,000 pictures that first year, and I’m still pissed that I didn’t get one of me pumping and typing out emails at my desk. It took me only about a month to order this hands-free bra on Amazon, and I never once regretted it.
On my first day back to work, I brought with me my purse, my work bag, my daughter’s diaper bag, her cooler for school, my lunch and my breast pump bag. Our neighbors probably thought I was leaving my husband as I loaded up the car to go to work. I very quickly combined my purse and work bag, and I also combined the contents of the diaper and breast pump bags. I used a black Vera Bradley backpack, which wasn’t necessarily fashionable. However, it fit everything I needed, was easy to carry and the different sections kept everything organized.
Also, pack your lunch in a cooler, which you can use to bring home all that liquid gold you’ve pumped.
Skip the Dish Washing
I read this tip in a blog about pumping, and it changed my life. Instead of washing the pump parts after each pumping session, I kept them in a sealed gallon-size bag in the refrigerator. By keeping them cool, any milk on the pump parts stays fresh, allowing you to re-use throughout the day without cleaning. Also, the cool parts are soothing to sore, milk-filled breasts. **You should wash and sterilize your parts at the end of the day before using them again the next day.**
Prioritize Pumping Time
Before you return to work, talk with your boss and colleagues about your plans to pump and how often you will need to do so throughout the day. I blocked my calendar for 30 minutes every weekday at 10:00a, 1:00p and 4:00p to make sure that I had the time I needed to pump. I realize that 90 minutes “off the clock” seems like a long time every day, so I made every effort to multi-task when possible. Pump when and where you can – whether it’s in a quiet room while you eat lunch, at your desk while answering emails or on a conference call, or even in the car while you sit in rush hour traffic. That’s right, pump and drive, mama. You’ll need this car adaptor for your pump and a hands-free pumping bra.
Take Care of Yourself!
The best thing you can do for your little one is to be healthy. So take care of yourself by eating healthy snacks and meals throughout the day and drinking lots of water. And if pumping at work becomes too stressful, just stop.
No matter how much you prepare, life with children always comes with some craziness and unpredictability. So, we’ve created a handy downloadable checklist to make sure you don’t forget to pack an extra set of clothes or your laptop.
Are there any other tips you found helpful for pumping at work? Let us know in the comments!