Yes, I know. I keep abandoning the Why Didn’t Anyone Tell Me? series. I’m a mess like that. This guest post, though, was recently discovered in the black hole that is my “blog drafts,” and it needs to be shared.
One of the daunting aspects of breastfeeding has to be What will I do when I go back to work? Will pumping work for me?
When I went back to teaching, it was only from 7-11 am, and I never had to pump at school, so I’m no help here. Christy, however, knows her stuff.
Time Management Tips for Pumping Breast Milk at Work
I am returning to work as a teacher after having my second child. I pumped at work until my first was one and plan on doing it again. Here are my tips for pumping at work:
- Buy the expensive pump. Pumping 2-4 times a day on a tight schedule demands an efficient pump. It is worth the investment.
- Pump and freeze as much as you can while on maternity leave.
- Both of my boys took to bottles that happen to screw right onto my pump. I pump directly into the bottles, saving me a transferring step.
- I keep masking tape and a Sharpie in my breast pump bag. I label each bottle with the date.
- I pump one side while the baby eats from the other side in the mornings. I leave the pump next to the rocker in the nursery the night before. (That’s what I used to do! Sounds complicated, but you’ll get in your groove.)
- Pump hands-free while at work – KellyMom has inexpensive ideas. While pumping, I do schoolwork. That’s a combined 40 minutes a day. I’d rather work while pumping than stay at school longer or have more schoolwork to do after the kids go to bed!
- If you have other items to lug to work, invest in a rolling cart. I can load my cart up with papers to grade, my laptop, my lunch, and my pump. No need to make multiple trips to the car.
- Make reminder notes. Make a checklist of everything that needs to go in the rolling cart each day. Check off what you can pack up the night before and then refer to it again in the morning for things like lunch. Put a reminder to bring your milk home somewhere at work.
- Keep nursing pads in your pump bag. Keep an extra shirt and bra at work. I use the hair-ties to pump hand-free and keep extras in my pump bag. If pumping directly into bottles, keep some breast milk storage bags in your pump bag, in case you forget bottles one day.
- If I pull from my freezer stash or I have a bottle that is about to “expire” (I label with masking tape), I put a piece of masking tape over the top of the bottle and write USE FIRST on it with a Sharpie. My day care provider knows to use this bottle(s) before the others that day (no waste).
- I invested in lots of bottles. I have enough bottles to have 4 or 5 at daycare, 4 with me, and the previous day’s bottle in the dishwasher or on the drying rack. We run the dishwasher every night or morning, no time-consuming hand washing of bottles.
- Many states have legislation regarding employers allowing you to take breaks to pump and there is also federal legislation that applies to those states that do not have their own laws. I am fortunate to work in a very family friendly environment. If your boss is giving you a hard time about pumping, research the laws.
Did you successfully pump while at works? What tips would you add?
Christy Carden is a working mom to 2 boys. Alan is 4 in March and Samuel will be 3 months on February 23. She returns to work, teaching first graders full-time, on February 28. She loves her job and feels like it is her calling in life, but is constantly looking for ways to balance work, family, exercising (she’s a bit of an addict), and running a household. ~ My apologies to Christy, who obviously submitted this post months ago!