By Melissa Portunato MPH, IBCLC, RLC
Your maternity leave might be coming to an end soon and instead of doing your typical trek to the office you now find yourself prepping for a new normal...working from home. Will your baby be home while you’re working? Will you be pumping during your work day? No matter your situation, with some flexibility and planning you can continue to meet your breastfeeding goals.
Let’s start with the most important question. Who will be caring for your baby? Will you be home alone and caring for your baby while you work? Will your baby be going to daycare? Depending on your childcare options pumping and nursing can look a little different. If baby will be home with you and nursing at the breast has been going well so far, holding off on a pumping schedule all together may be your best bet! If nursing at the breast is not an option, double pumping every 2-3 hours while you are working is going to help keep up your milk supply to meet the needs of your growing baby.
Prioritize Your Pumping Schedule
Juggling back to work and mommy-ing can be hard at first but it’s all about routine! Make sure to plan your pumping breaks. Set alarms and block out times on your calendar to allot for pumping. It can be tempting to tame the laundry monster during breaks but stay focused and reserve this time for ONLY pumping. Keep a pretty nursing cover nearby, so if you do need to take a virtual call or meeting while pumping you’re ready to go! Our pumps are quiet and discreet. Your co-workers will never know you are multitasking.
Setup a Mobile Pumping Station
If you will be pumping from home during your work day, creating a mobile pumping station can help you stay organized and make pumping a lot easier to squeeze into your busy day! An art cart or portable plastic drawers will work well. Load up your mobile station with all your pumping essentials: Spectra baby USA pump, parts and accessories, milk storage bags, and even a small cooler kit to temporarily store your pumped milk. Add yummy dry snacks and remember to stay hydrated. Creating a mobile pumping station will save you time and allow you the mobility to move around the house to find a quiet place to help you relax while you pump. It especially comes in handy if you have others working from home or in virtual school, where space is sometimes limited and working areas can change throughout the day.
Caring For Your Accessories
Take advantage of your clean personal pumping space! It will be pretty sweet to not worry about where to clean your pump accessories or having to store your milk in a stinky work fridge. CDC recommends washing all pump parts that come into contact with your breast milk in warm soapy water after every use. It will be easy to keep them squeaky clean and ready for your next pumping sesh! Keep extra accessories on hand especially duckbills and backflow protectors. We recommend replacing these accessories every 6-8 weeks depending how often you are pumping. Bonus tip: Assembling your accessories in advance can save you precious time!
During these strange pandemic times, something positive that has surfaced is employer flexibility. Companies have had to adapt to unlikely conditions like employees virtually schooling and caring for children at home while working. Employers are now more likely to accommodate flexible and even non traditional working hours. Start the communication now with your employer if you think a different schedule will make you more focused and productive. You’re a valuable asset to your organization mama! Speak up! You might be pleasantly surprised at the response.
Working from home definitely has its perks and can help make the transition back to work easier but it can be lonely at times. Be kind to yourself and care for your physical, mental and emotional well being. Ask for help if you need it mamas and if you need breastfeeding advice reach out to our team of Spectra baby IBCLCs. Join our virtual support groups on Facebook and keep yourself engaged with other breastfeeding mamas just like you!
We believe in you and we know you are totally going to rock working from home and breastfeeding!