Whether you're psyched, sad or somewhere in between about the end of your maternity leave, heading back to work and having to pump presents some logistical challenges for moms who are committed to breastfeeding. Where and when will you pump?
It's a good idea to talk to your boss or an HR rep about your options before your first day back. That way you can get set up and know what to expect without too much stress -- saying bye bye to baby for the first time will be enough to handle for one day!
Try these tips to make pumping at work, work for you:
1. Insist on a Private Space
If you're lucky enough to have your own office, make a "Do Not Disturb" sign and be sure you can close the blinds, etc. during pumping time. If you don't have your own space, your employer is legally obligated to provide you a private place and sufficient time to pump. Don't be shy about asking!
2. Make Yourself at Home
It can be hard to "let down" if you're tense, so load some of your favorite music onto your phone to block out office distractions and help you relax. It might also help you to have a bunch of baby pics, a baby onesie, or a few cute videos to help you focus -- and remember why you're pumping!
3. Become a One-Handed Wonder
When you're at home on the couch, you can watch TV or even doze off when you're pumping. At work? Not so much. If you haven't already mastered the trick, use your left forearm to clamp the left breast pump in place and you left hand to steady the right breast pump -- your arm will be across your chest. This leaves your right hand free for reading a book, swiping through your emails or jotting down some notes. Make sure you've got a hospital grade electric pump for quick pumping.
4. Wear Easy-Access Clothes
This is a total mom life game-changer when you can find "non nursing" nursing clothes that look good while out in public. A great nursing tank isn't just for feeding baby at home -- breastfeeding clothes also offer convenient access for pumping at work. Choose nursing shirt styles that layer well under a cardigan or blazer for a polished look in the office and ease of use in your pumping room.
5. Embrace the Relaxation Time
Breastfeeding -- and pumping! -- releases a whole rush of hormones, including prolactin, which is known to relax nursing mothers. It's also perfectly fine to use your moment of quiet to let your body do its work while you get some needed physical and emotional rest. Feel free to close your eyes and let the rhythm of the pump lull you for a bit. Call it meditation or a cat nap -- you deserve it!
Get more details here on How to Pump at Work.