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.
You’re not alone – new mothers are returning to work in large numbers. It’s normal to feel sad when it’s time to go back to work after having a baby. However, try to look at returning to work with a positive attitude and seek support from other moms that have been through the same thing, maybe even in the same office. This support and positive attitude can help make pumping easier and make the transition back to work smoother.
Talk to other breastfeeding moms in your office. They will be a great support system as you adjust to pumping at work. They may even have some tips to share that worked well in your office environment. Pumping isn’t always easy when you’re balancing the demands of your job with the needs of your baby. It also may be reassuring to know that the government supports a working mother’s need to provide breastmilk to her baby. Employers are required to provide a reasonable break for mothers to breastfeed or pump, in a space other than a bathroom. Support from other moms will help keep you calm and comfortable, allowing you to relax and pump as efficiently as possible. Remember, your supply often depends on your general health and stress level.
Keep photos and videos of your baby at work. Also, consider bringing an item of clothing or cloth that smells like your baby. These sensory experiences will help remind you of cuddling and caring for your little one and may make pumping at work easier. Those pleasant images and smells can also act as motivation to keep pumping, even on those busy days at work.
Support breastfeeding at home. Talk to your baby’s caregivers about your commitment to breastfeeding and how they can help support your hard work, even when you’re not there. Try Calma, a unique breastmilk bottle that mimics your baby’s natural feeding behavior, making it easier to transition from bottle to breast. With this bottle, milk will only flow when your baby creates a vacuum, similar to breastfeeding. Knowing your little one is getting the best care, while supporting breastfeeding will help to comfort you. Also, ask caregivers to feed your baby no later than an hour before you return home to pick him up. That way your baby will be ready to breastfeed right when you get home. Besides, who doesn’t love cuddling with their little one right when they walk in the door?
How did you stay positive while pumping at work? Share your advice 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.