As my daughter is quickly approaching her 6 month birthday – it also means I am almost done with my goal of exclusively breastfeeding her for 6 months.
I know for some moms this is easy. No problem. For others, it can be a challenge and sometimes it’s not an option. Now, I don’t want to say that you have to breastfeed – please, just make sure that your baby is fed! But for me, as long as it was working out, and we had no issues – I wanted to reach that 6 month mark.
Putting all of the other breastfeeding issues aside, (poor latch, low supply, mastitis, cracked nipples,) there is one more huge issue. That is the workplace! I work in customer service at a manufacturing facility and I believe that I am the first employee to ever pump at work. Ever!
This is how I have made “pumping at work” successful:
1) I pump first thing in the morning. My daughter sleeps through the night most of the time, so I always have enough to pump and then feed in the mornings. While it is not fun getting up at 5:15, it does mean I do not have to pump as soon as I get to work. I usually get about 6 oz. – which I leave out for her first bottle. Then I clean all of my pump parts and load up my Medela Advanced Pump in Style and head out the door.
2) Once at work, my goal, at first, was to pump three times. However, this just wasn’t working out and two pumping sessions seemed to be doable. I try to pump between 11-11:30 and again around 3:30, yielding 5-6 oz. I store my pumped milk at work in my manager’s small fridge in her private office. This way I don’t have to worry about bringing ice packs or leaving it in the communal fridge.
3) I pump in a small office that is a little away from everyone else. It does not have a lock – but we have affixed a “DO NOT OPEN” sign – that is visible when the door is closed. It has worked so far, I have not received and unsuspecting visitors! Surprise! I usually tell the other ladies in my department that I am “off to the parlor” when I need to pump and have had some fun with it!
4) Second pumping session is usually between 3:30 and 4 pm. Lately, I’ve been skipping the later and pumping when I get home. Between the morning session and the two times at work I would pump enough to feed my daughter the next day. I have not been able to “stockpile”, but I have made enough to feed her day-to-day and that is what is most important!
For anyone having second thoughts or worried about pumping, please know that your employer must be supportive and offer you a place and the time to pump! For more information visit: http://www.dol.gov/whd/nursingmothers/faqBTNM.htm
Even though it has been a bit of a hassle, pumping at work for me has been successful and completely worth it!
A few pumping tips:
1) Start pumping before you need to return to work. By pumping before, you can get used to your pump and know how to assemble, disassemble and clean. This will also allow you to build up a stockpile in case you don’t have enough to feed throughout the day.
2) Try and figure out how many feedings you will miss to figure out how much/how many times you should pump.
3) Know your workplace plan – where will you pump? Where can you store your milk? Discuss with your employer what you plan on doing.
4) Remember that if you have to supplement, it will be ok!
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