From One Nursing, Working Mother to Another
1. Choose the best pump for your situation.
If you are working full time and will be expressing milk for most or all of your baby’s feedings while you are away from home, a hospital-quality double electric pump is probably your best choice.
2. Determine whether renting or buying a pump is best for you.
If your milk supply begins to drop a little, try adding another pumping session to your daily schedule for a while.
3. Get into a schedule.
Many women find that they express more milk when they are able to pump at the same times each day—they train their bodies into a let-down at those times. Choose the times of day you have the most milk and that fit into your working schedule – you don’t need to pump at even intervals. For example, you may find that pumping twice between 8 a.m. and noon, then once between noon and 5 p.m., yields the most milk for you.
4. If your milk supply begins to drop a little, try adding another pumping session to your daily schedule for a while.
You may find that if you do this for just a few days, you can go back to your regular schedule and continue pumping the same amount of milk you did with the one extra pumping a day. For women in many types of jobs, it can be hard to find the time to pump during the day, so knowing that the extra pumping is temporary may make it easier to add one.
5. Keep your pump at work during the week, if there’s a safe place for it and you don’t need it at home.
If you’re commuting on public transportation, you probably don’t want to lug your pump with you each day. Instead, carry your collection bottles in an insulated lunchbox with plastic ice packs – you can take your lunch to work in it and bring your milk home in it. You can also safely store your milk in it during the day so you don’t have to worry about forgetting your milk in the lunchroom refrigerator.
6. Make sure there’s always a little extra milk in your freezer and in the freezer of your baby’s caregiver.
The anxiety of worrying about producing just enough milk for tomorrow’s feedings can be enough to inhibit your let-down. Having the back-up insurance of some banked milk can go a long way toward easing the worry. It can also make it a lot easier to accept the occasional day when your work schedule forces you skip a pumping session or two.
7. Keep an extra cardigan sweater or jacket at work.
The reason for this is two-fold. First, if you go too long between pumpings and leak a little, you can use it to cover up any embarrassing milk spots on your blouse. Second, if you’re wearing something that you need to remove completely to pump, you can use the sweater to keep warm while you’re pumping.
8. Make pumping a relaxing break that you look forward to.
It can be tempting to read incoming e-mail or make a mental to-do list while you are pumping – don’t! The hormones you release while pumping will make you feel refreshed and more productive when you return to work, so don’t worry about getting work done during your pumping time. If you are in your office, turn off your computer monitor, send your phone to voicemail and don’t look at the papers on your desk. Look at a photo of your baby, or even turn off your light if you can. If you’re in another room, close your eyes and imagine what your baby felt like in your arms this morning, take some deep breaths and relax.