by Amanda G.
Pumping at work gets much more manageable once you figure out the logistics and get yourself into a routine.
Here are five quick tips to make pumping at work easier.
- Leave an extra set of pump parts at your office.
Trying to leave the house on time and get to work is hard. It’s even harder when you’re trying to get your baby ready too and you need to get your pump bag packed.
A checklist can help you make sure that you have everything you need when you leave the house. But even with a system, there’s a good chance that one day you’re going to be in a hurry and forget something crucial, like breast shields or collection bottles to pump into.
(The first time I forgot my breast shields, in desperation, I actually tried putting my nipple directly into the connector and starting the pump. That was a very bad idea. OUCH!)
In order to avoid having to either go home or try to buy a replacement for whatever it is you forgot, have an extra backup set of pump parts and bottles at work. This way you’ll have peace of mind and be ready for when the inevitable happens.
- Get a hands-free pumping bra so that you can do other things while you pump.
If you’re pumping two or three times per day at work, that’s a total of 30-45 minutes a day, or about three hours a week, getting a hands-free bra so that you can do other things besides holding your breast shields during the time you spend pumping can be a game changer. This way, while you pump, you can work on a laptop, take notes while you’re on a conference call, or take a break and read a book or magazine.
- Have as many sets of pump parts as you have pumping sessions in a day.
I used to recommend leaving pump parts in the refrigerator between uses, but the CDC recently issued guidelines stating that pump parts should be washed as soon as possible after each use. (More about the new guidelines here.)
To avoid spending a lot of time washing pump parts – and deal with getting access to a sink, if your lactation room doesn’t have one – bring enough sets of pump parts to get you through a day. Then you can wash them all in one batch, either at home or at the end of the day at work.
- Carry as little as possible back and forth to work every day.
The more things that you can leave at work (in addition to the extra pump parts mentioned above), the less complicated your mornings will be. So, if you can leave your pump, a hands-free bra, and whatever else you need – breast pads, freezer bags, lanolin – at work, too, then you can travel back and forth with just empty bottles and an ice pack in the morning, and full bottles in the afternoon.
(Obviously, if you need your pump at home, this might not be feasible, but one option is to get an extra manual pump you can use at home when needed.)
- Make friends with the other pumping moms in your office.
If there are other women using the lactation room at your office, try to get to know them! Having a relationship in place can be really helpful when your boss schedules a meeting and you need to switch your pumping time with someone else.
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