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When I had my first child and decided to breastfeed, I was still working. I had a lot of worries during those first weeks about whether I would have time to pump and if my job would be supportive. I personally was great at breastfeeding, but I didn’t have as much luck with pumping. It was definitely a struggle at first, but I did eventually get into a routine. Here are some things you can do to ease the transition of pumping when you return to work.
Talk to your Boss
It’s a great idea to talk with your boss beforehand about your plans to breastfeed. Talk about how you can work it into your schedule and emphasize that you will still be an awesome employee! Remember to discuss how often you plan to pump.
Find a Space and Get the Right Equipment
I was lucky to have my own office and a door I could close for some privacy. Do you have a space to pump at work? You’ll want to think about this in advance so you’re not scrambling to find a spot at the last minute. Also, make sure you have a place to store your pumped milk. You can even use a cooler for this if no fridge is available.
Look for a breast pump that allows you to pump both breasts to save time! Often times, your medical insurance may pay for your breast pump. Check with your insurance company and see which models are included. Along with your breast pump, you’ll also want a change of clothes, just in case. It’s also a great idea to have a picture of baby with you.
Simulate your Work Schedule
In the week leading up to your first week back to work, try to have feedings or pumping sessions at the time you will normally be pumping at work. This gets your body ready to produce milk at those times of day. You can also practice giving baby a bottle at those times, though some babies will resist taking a bottle when you’re with them. When I first returned to work, I would go and feed my little one during lunch instead of pumping an extra time.
Be Informed about Pumping when you Return to Work
You want to learn as much as you can about how to be successful at pumping before you get started. I suggest downloading this Pumping 101 eBook from Jen at Minnesota Momma. Jen is an RN that has some great advice about achieving the best pumping sessions! This includes some tips and tricks that will help you with your milk supply.
If Things Aren’t Going Well – How to Get Help
Don’t struggle with pumping! There are lots of great resources available! One of my favorite (and free) online resources for all things breastfeeding is KellyMom.com. If supply is an issue, check out these ways to pump more milk from Simpli Sanders. If pumping still isn’t going well, don’t be afraid to seek out the advice of a lactation consultant or talk to your child’s pediatrician!