Have a conversation with your line manager before you return to work to let them know that you intend to pump during the working day. For many mums, you will be following in the footsteps of others before you and so it will just be a case of agreeing how it will work for you and your specific role. For some, this may be the first time this has been requested and so you will be paving the way. Your employer should do everything in their power to help. After all, mums who give their babies breast milk take less time off work than moms of formula-fed babies. Be ready to offer ideas on how to make it work and explain what you will need.
You will need somewhere clean, warm and private to pump with a comfortable chair. A bathroom is not a suitable place. Some workplaces may have a dedicated pumping or wellness room, but if this is not the case you may need to be creative e.g. an empty meeting room or office where you can put a sign on the door. It should have an electrical outlet for your breast pump if needed and a clean surface for you to lay out your equipment. You will also need washing facilities nearby for both your hands and to clean your pump.
The ideal space would have a refrigerator to store your pumped breast milk until you go home. If this is not possible, then you can either store it in a shared refrigerator elsewhere in the building or, if you prefer, in a cooler with ice packs.
Pumping straight into pre-sterilised pouches means there is no need to decant and less risk of spilling your liquid gold. These are super handy for passing over to your caregiver too.
Have a think about when will is best for breast milk pumping at work. You’ll need to pump as often as your baby feeds — ideally that’s 2-3 times in the working day. With each session probably taking around 30 minutes, including prep, you might like to think about ways to fit these in. Some mums use authorised breaks, others come in early and stay a little late. Some even take work with them…the ultimate in multi-tasking!
Keep an extra bra, blouse and breast pads in your office for leaks.
Chances are you won’t be the only nursing mom in your workplace! Seek out others and share experiences, tips, even pumping sessions if you’d like the company.
It may feel strange to begin with but you’ll soon get into the swing of things and will be an pumping-pro in no time. Here are some top tips from mums who have already got their ‘pumping-at-work pro’ badges!
No matter how busy your day gets, don't let yourself become engorged. This puts you at high risk for mastitis.
"At work, double up on the pump parts that need to be washed. That way, when you're in a rush, you'll have backups for your next session."
"Protect pumping time by blocking it off on your schedule."
"Accidents will happen. Laugh them off."
"Keep photos of your baby in your pumping bag to help stimulate milk production. Or watch a video of your baby on your phone."