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Breastfeeding for the Working Mama

Heading back to the office and nervous about what to do? Breastfeeding while returning to work can be easy with just a little planning. 

Here are five tips to pump at work confidently, mama:

  1. Breastfeeding mamas have a legal right to pump at work. Talk with your boss or HR person ahead of your return date to discuss a reasonable break time. Along with reasonable break time, you will need a private place to pump. And please remind them that a bathroom is not sanitary. I’m sure they would not prefer to make their morning coffee on the toilet. For more information, look up the fair labor standards act.

  2. From blocking out your schedule to thinking about travel time, to finding your pumping spot – make pumping a priority. This really is your most important job of the day. Ideal pumping spots should have an electrical outlet, privacy, sink, and fridge. The time needed for pumping breaks is 5 minutes for set up and clean up and 15 minutes for pumping. If there is no fridge, breast milk is far from a biohazard – so all you need to do is keep it in the break room fridge and label it with your name.

  3. Buy enough containers to pump into so that you can just send the pumped bottles to daycare and have enough to bring to work for the next day. This saves so much headache. You can also buy adapters to pump right into breastmilk storage bags.

  4. Before you start pumping, wash your hands. After, you can put the goods into a zip lock bag or *super mom tip*, buy those wet dry bags like for kids’ swimsuits, and then put the bags in the fridge at work! When you get home, wash all the parts for the next day!

  5. While pumping, relax relax relax. Legally, you are not required to do work during your pump break. But if you find this is the only time you can focus—plan on doing less stressful jobs. Using a hands-free pumping bra will make life much easier. If you find you are a mom who has a hard time getting a let down with pumping, look at pics of your snuggle bunny, bring something that smells like her, or watch a video on your phone of her breastfeeding!

Because Aunt Jane, Sally the daycare provider, or whomever is watching your little squish can have a tendency to feed volumes that are too large and too fast, it can be important to talk to the person caring for your baby. Communicating with them so they are aware of paced feeding techniques and are using a slow flow nipple.

Good guidelines to follow for your return to work are 1 -1 ¼ ounces for every hour you are away from baby. Finding that you are falling behind in pumping what is needed? Breastfeed as close to leaving the baby in the morning as possible. Also you can arrange with your daycare provider to make feeding times close to pickup so you can breastfeed asap.

Thank you for taking the time out of your busy mama day! For more information about breastfeeding and returning to work, follow us on Pinterest for how to’s and sanity-saving breastfeeding and work-life tips. 

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Emily Sylvester

Emily Sylvester is the Founder & CEO of Mother of Fact. As a Licensed Registered Dietitian, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, and Mom of 3, she's helped thousands of families in many low/middle income communities feel confident and supported in their feeding journey. Her mission is to eliminate the deficit of equitable breastfeeding & formula feeding help for all households & healthcare systems.
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