Every breastfeeding mom who returns to the workforce has some trepidations about pumping at work. What if they give me a hard time in the office? What if I spill breast milk all over my pants and don’t have spare ones? We’ve been there, trust me. There are certain issues that new moms encounter when they go back to work and pump. It’s a challenge, but it’s totally manageable and a super admirable thing to do. After all, breast is best and doing whatever you can to provide your baby with it is commendable. However, it’s important to be informed and prepared before you start pumping. Here are ten tips that should help you pump like a pro.
1. Invest in a Hands Free Pumping Bra
If you plan on pumping regularly, a hands-free pumping bra is a life saver. These bras allow you to multitask while you pump. So, ya know, you can make the 20 or 30 minutes you have count. Check Twitter or read the news without worrying about having to keep your pump in place. Usually, these bras can be adjustable so you won’t have to worry about finding a new one as you drop the baby weight. It makes pumping so much easier!
2. Schedule your pump times
Just like a breastfeeding mom feeds on a schedule, a pumping mom should stick to a schedule as well. Adjusting to work can be stressful enough, so be sure to set reminders on your calendar and phone so you don’t forget to take your pump breaks!
3. Keep your milk supply up
Keeping your milk supply up and steady is sometimes harder than it sounds. Breast milk is fluid (duh), so you need fluids in your body to produce it. Keep a water bottle and a protein bar nearby as you pump so you can replenish. Eating healthy, milk boosting foods like oats and flax for breakfast on work days can be helpful. Even take supplements like fenugreek to help with your milk supply.
4. Use a good quality breast pump
Do your research before you purchase a breast pump. Fortunately, it’s likely that your health insurance covers the cost of your pump, so be sure to look into your options. Read reviews to see what other moms think of certain brands, because, like everything, some are good and some are bad. Plus, breast pumps aren’t just for pumping at work. If you wake up in the middle of the night and you feel like you’re about to burst because your breasts are full but baby is sleeping soundly you can easily pump to relieve that pressure. You’ll also want to bring it with you on weekend trips or anytime you’re away from baby for longer than a few hours or so. Remember, stimulating your breasts is what keeps your milk supply up!
5. Pick the right sized breast shield
It’s important to use the right sized breast shield when pumping. If it hurts to pump, try going up a size. It may be uncomfortable at first, and you may start asking your friends to call you Bessie, but you should never be in pain.
6. Moisturize those nipples
Breastfeeding and pumping can be painful for your nipples because of everything they’re going through. Use some lanolin cream as lubrication and protection and they will heal quickly. Coconut oil is a natural option that’s also been shown to help reduce nipple irritation and prevent any cracking or discomfort. Plus, it’s safe for consumption so you don’t need to wipe it off before your next nursing session.
7. Stay motivated
If it gets difficult to pump regularly, remember why you are doing it. You are doing what’s best for your baby! So reach out to others who are in the same situation as you. There are tons of Facebook groups, forums, and – heck – even bloggers (raises hand) that have been through what you are going through. You don’t want to give up just because you’re a little discouraged. Keep at it, Mama!
8. Use a lactation consultant
If you find you are having trouble pumping or producing milk, try contacting a lactation consultant. They have all the knowledge needed to help you with almost any problem. Use them, that’s why they are around! Visit your local health department or hospital to find a lactation consultant.
Returning to the workforce and pumping for your baby is no easy task, so high five to you for going for it! Following these tips should help you out in the long run!
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