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With your cape around your neck and your breast pump in hand, you're headed to work and ready to conquer the world! Are you really? Get 5 great tips to do just that!
Congratulations on giving birth to your new baby! It's hard to believe that you could produce something so cute, so cuddly, so perfect. Your hard work isn't over yet though, it's just beginning.
17 months ago (seems like yesterday), I gave birth to a precious little boy and I made the decision to breastfeed and work a full-time job. If you are anything like me, you're freaking out and wondering, "Will my baby have enough milk while I'm at work? Am I going to be able to keep up with my work AND pump?"
Breastfeeding while working can be quite overwhelming if you don't prepare yourself. I am going to share 5 tips with you on how to successfully breastfeed your baby and still kick butt in the board meeting.
1. Make A Pumping Schedule
One thing about having a baby is that you know that you're having one months before they get here. Although, everyone at work sees you getting bigger and waddlier (I made that word up), don't assume that they will accommodate your choice to breastfeed.
Write down a schedule for when you plan to have nursing breaks. Submit this to your supervisor and human resources. I know you have no idea what your schedule will be like, but giving your boss something in hand and amending it later will at least make them aware that you will need pumping breaks.
So, you be may asking, "How often can I pump or how often should I pump?" The simple answer is, you will need to pump as often as you would nurse your baby if you were at home.
If you are worried that requesting extra time will lead to your termination, the U.S Department of Labor has laws that require your employer to allow time for pumping. It may sound like overkill, but I submitted a copy of these laws when I submitted my schedule.
2. Designated Pumping Area
Whether you work in an office or next to someone in a cubicle, you will need a designated space to pump. Do not let anyone convince you that you are supposed to pump in the restroom!
When I went to work for a new company after my daughter was born, the office manager suggested for me to pump in a chair that was inside the women’s restroom.
With polite sarcasm, I asked her if she would like her lunch prepared in there as well. You need a place that is private and sanitary to pump your milk.
Federal law agrees that you should not have to express your milk in the same room that everyone uses to pee. Discussing this ahead of time with your human resources department will eliminate an uncomfortable situation when you return to work.
If you are going to use an electric pump, you want to be sure your space has an outlet or you will be expressing milk by hand which takes more time and energy.
3. Pack Your Pump
You may feel like you are going on an overnight trip, but packing everything you need is essential to successful breastfeeding as a working mom.
If you have an electric breast pump, you need the pump (the motorized portion) and all of its parts (breastshields, tubing, valves and storage containers). The best pump for working moms is one that is does not take forever to set up and one that pumps milk efficiently.
I recommend that you take a small container of whatever you use to clean your parts, a pumping bra, a brush to clean the parts, and hand sanitizer.
Along with that, bring ice packs to make sure that your milk stays cool, especially if there is not a place to store it at work. I pack my essentials in an insulated storage bag.
It fits my pump and parts neatly, it’s organized, and I can store my expressed milk there. This is crucial for making the most of your pumping time and ensuring that your liquid gold is safe.
4. Food and Water
You need healthy food and water to ensure that your milk supply and your energy stays through the roof. The hustle and bustle of the work day can sometimes leave you feeling short on time, but it’s imperative that you make time to drink enough water and eat breakfast, lunch, and snacks.
I consume around 64 oz of water between 8:00 am to 5:00 pm (get ready to go to the restroom, A LOT) and 32 oz when I get home from work. I eat quick and healthy snacks like carrots, apples, bananas, almonds to keep my milk supply intact.
5. Nursing Pads
If you haven’t been wearing nursing pads on a regular basis, you MUST wear them daily if you’re going to work.
Imagine, you are going about your day and you notice that everyone is looking at you a little strange. You think to yourself, “I know that I haven’t lost my baby fat yet, but why is everyone looking at me?”
You look down to discover that your blouse, lab coat or whatever you are wearing to cover your torso has a wet breast milk stain on it!
That breast milk doesn’t care that you’re with a client or in an important meeting. It will leak! Nursing pads will prevent this tragedy from happening to you.
I pack nursing pads inside of my insulated bag and I keep some in my purse as well. You can never be too prepared!
A Beautiful Decision
The decision to breastfeed your baby and work a full-time job may seem like a daunting task. Honestly, it does take extra preparation and commitment on your part.
The key is making sure that you have support from your partner, family and if you have older children, they may be able to help you as well. Your hard work is worth it in the end!
You will know that you made a great choice for your little one and that it’s truly a labor of love. If you decide not to breastfeed your little one, you are still meet the requirements for being a great mom!