After spending a few months navigating the countless adventures of becoming a mom, the thought of returning to work can be quite intimidating. Don’t let it be. Begin talking to your employer about your breastfeeding needs and come up with a plan for pumping at work. Also, reach out to other breastfeeding or pumping moms to see what may have worked for them. We’ll walk you through some tips for communicating with your employer, so your breastfeeding goals can be supported in the workplace.
Explain the benefits of breastfeeding. Make sure your employer is familiar with the benefits of breastfeeding and talk about why it’s so important to you. Remember, breastfed babies typically have fewer and less severe illnesses, so that means less time off work caring for a sick baby. Also, it can be valuable to mention that the AAP recommends moms provide breastmilk for a baby’s first year of life, and you want to do everything to give your baby the best start possible.
Know your rights. Employers are required by law to provide “reasonable break” of time for moms to provide breastmilk for their babies in a place other than a bathroom. So, work with your employer to determine what breaks you’ll take and where you’ll pump. Some moms have the privacy of their own office to pump in, while others find empty offices or meeting rooms a comfortable option. Regardless, make sure you’re able to agree on a place where you feel comfortable. Communicating these plans allows your employer to understand how you’ll manage your workload and responsibilities as a mother. Most likely after this understanding is reached, you’ll have an employer who gladly supports your breastfeeding goals.
Be honest about your needs. You know your body best, so make sure you’re able to create a workplace environment that supports your breastfeeding goals. Explain how often you need to pump in order to maintain supply, and ensure you have a comfortable and private place to do so. You’ll be a more focused and productive employee when you don’t have to stress about the nourishment of your little one.
How did you talk to your employer about your pumping needs? Share your experiences in the comments below.
Breastfeeding and pumping moms are dedicated to providing the best nutrition for their babies. In some cases, that means pumping on-the-go. Realistically, it’s not always possible to pump in that perfectly comfortable rocking chair at home or curled up on the couch. Busy moms like you squeeze pumping sessions in between meetings, cooking dinner, and picking up the older children from school. So, for all those supermoms out there, we’ve put together a list of on-the-go pumping tips perfect for your busy schedule.
On-The-Go Pumping Tips
- Keep pictures of your little one in your purse. Even consider carrying a piece of your baby’s clothing or a recording of their murmurs (also known as “sweet vocaling”). It may help encourage let down, no matter where you’re pumping.
- Invest in a pump that’s easily portable, convenient and effective. Consider a Freestyle or Pump In Style Advanced breastpump that hold everything you need in a discreet carrying bag.
- Keep some pumping extras at your office or in your car, just in case you forget something when you walk out the door.
- If you frequently pump at work, consider a nursing stool. It helps make pumping more comfortable by alleviating stress on your back, shoulders and neck.
- For moms with a Pump In Style Advanced, the 8 Count Battery Pack can power your breastpump from anywhere, so you don’t have to worry about power supply.
Moms, do you have any tips for pumping on-the-go? Share them in the comments below.
Pumping at work can be a challenge, but there are laws in place to protect the rights of working moms and provide them with the encouragement to breastfeed longer. Here’s an overview of these breastfeeding laws, so more working moms have the opportunity to provide breastmilk for their little ones.
The Affordable Care Act includes the following requirements:
- Your employer must provide a reasonable break for a mother to pump for one year after the child’s birth. Your employer is not, however, required to compensate you during these breaks.
- Your employer must provide a private place, other than a bathroom, to pump. This ensures moms have a comfortable and relaxing environment, conducive to breastfeeding success.
You may be exempt from these laws if:
- Your company has less than 50 employees and can show that compliance with the provision would cause too much hardship on the company.
- Your company is not covered by the FLSA
If your company falls into one of these exempt categories, don’t worry. Your state’s laws may offer additional protection. In fact, twenty-four U.S. states have specific laws related to breastfeeding in the workplace. You can check online to see how your state supports nursing mothers.
Moms, how does your employer support your breastfeeding goals? Share in the comments below.
We understand that going back to work can be one of the most challenging times for a breastfeeding mom. It puts incredible demands on your time and, more importantly, cuts into your precious cuddle time with your little one. So, we’re happy to provide you with these tips to make the transition back to work as easy as possible.
- Understand the rights of working mothers. Employers are required to provide a reasonable break for nursing mothers to pump at work. That means a mother must be offered a place, other than a bathroom, to pump as often as she needs during the first year of life.
- Talk to your employer in advance about pumping at work. Being open with your employer about your plans will help to make the transition easier.
- Reach out to other mothers in your office for support and advice. Each workplace is different, so it can be helpful to hear how other moms have successfully pumped in that environment. Also, their encouragement can help make the transition back to work easier.
- Bring photos of your little one to work. Some moms even choose to bring clothing with their baby’s smell or a recording of their baby’s coos. All of these items can put you at ease and help with milk let down while pumping. Also, pumping helps increase and maintain milk production while you are away from your little one.
- Try to pump as often as you would breastfeed. Pumping every 2 to 3 hours is ideal. Although, many working moms find that, realistically, they take a morning, lunch and afternoon pumping break.
- Breastfeed before and after work. This will help ensure your baby spends as much time as possible at breast. Also, frequent breastfeeding or pumping sessions can help maintain breastmilk supply.
- Encourage caregivers to feed your baby no later than an hour before you return home. Then you’ll know your baby will be ready for a feeding as soon as you’re done with work. Again, this will help to facilitate bonding with your little one at breast.
- Pump hands-free. Depending on your job, you can continue to work while you pump, if you use a hands free pump like the Medela Freestyle or the Easy Expression Bustier. Talk about multi-tasking!
- Develop a storage plan. The Medela Freestyle and Pump In Style Advanced breastpumps both come with a cooler pack that holds four breastmilk bottles and provides up to 12 hours cooling time.
- Use nursing bra pads if necessary. There are comfortable options that prevent embarrassing marks on work clothes.
Working moms, do you have any more tips to add? Please share them in the comments below.