Tips for Pumping Success Outside the Home

Tips for Pumping Success Outside the Home

April 6, 2016

Tips for Pumping Success Outside the Home

Tips for Pumping Success Outside the Home

Going back to work and leaving your new baby is hard regardless of how you’re feeding your baby. If you’re choosing to breastfeed and pump, here are eight key ways to set yourself up for pumping success while working outside the home:

  1. The first key to pumping success is to start pumping before going back to work. When your baby is around one month old, try pumping a few times a day and freeze the milk to build up your supply. Don’t forget to write the date on the milk before freezing. This goes hand-in-hand with pumping early, but don’t forget to introduce bottle feeding early too.
  2. On to supplies: Your health insurance plan must cover the cost of a breast pump, which might be a rental or a new one to keep. If at all possible, keep a pump at home and another one at work. This will eliminate extra schlepping and keep you from feeling stressed about potentially forgetting something. Pro tip: if you don’t want to bother with washing the various pump parts at work, buy as many sets as the number of times you pump each day and if you have access to a fridge, store your pump parts in there. Then simply throw them all in the dishwasher when you get home each night.
  3. If you’re not sure about the rules for storing your liquid gold, the La Leche League has a great milk storage chart here. It is also a great idea to get a small insulated cooler like the Medela Breastmilk Cooler Set. Storing your milk in the cooler inside a shared refrigerator will also help with privacy concerns. Win!
  4. Buying a hands-free nursing bra will also really help. This can save you tons of time since you’ll be able to multitask while pumping.
  5. It might be embarrassing to initiate the conversation, but support from your employer is vital to your pumping success. Federal law guarantees your right to a private place to pump (no, the bathroom doesn’t count) and reasonable breaks for pumping. How often should you be pumping at work? Many moms find that double pumping for roughly 20 minutes, three times a day during the first few months, gives them enough milk to leave for their caregiver for the next day.
  6. Remember to read and ask for advice. A great book to read is Nursing Mother, Working Mother by Gale Pryor. Talk to other moms who have pumped at work (especially co-workers). They can give you all the tips they’ve learned about what works and doesn’t.
  7. Pumping is a new skill that will take time to learn and adjust to. Give yourself grace and time to get into a good routine. Some potential speed bumps to watch out for: you might be using the wrong size flanges (a lactation consultant can fit you for the right size). You might be starting your session on the wrong setting (it’s usually best to start with high suction and low speed and then adjust to a faster speed after 10-15 minutes). Or you might find that you need a little help with letdown (watching a video or looking at pictures of your baby on your phone can help).
  8. Going back to work tomorrow? Here is a handy checklist of what to pack for pumping at work.
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