Pumping at Work

Pumping at workHeaded back to work after having a baby? Considering it? A big concern for working new mothers is how to continue to breastfeed. If you aren’t lucky enough to have a nanny that can bring your child to work for you to nurse her (wouldn’t that be nice?), you will need to pump.

When you’re selecting a pump that’s going to get some heavy use (if you’re working and still breastfeeding, it will indeed get used), look for a dual electric pump. Many insurance companies and even some Medicaid/WIC programs cover the cost of a pump; check with yours before purchasing.

You need to keep your pumped milk cold; many pumps come with a cooler bag and freezer insert in case you don’t have access to a refrigerator. You also need access to a sink to be able to wash the parts after pumping (I found the microwavable sterilizing bags to be invaluable at work).

Having access to a sink, fridge, and microwave is just the tip of the iceberg. You need a private place to pump, and time to do it. Just like nursing, pumping frequently helps you keep your supply up and provide enough for your baby. If your company doesn’t have a dedicated nursing room, you may have to be creative in finding a place that will work. After my first child, I pumped in the women’s locker room. Don’t hesitate to ask for better conditions, either; your employer may not be required to facilitate nursing breaks and a workable location, but you may be surprised at how amenable they can be. By the time I had my second child, my employer had dedicated a small room for pumping moms.

Also just like if you were nursing, take care of yourself to help keep your supply up. You may find you don’t pump as much milk as you thought you would. Make sure you’re still drinking lots of water, and if you find your supply dipping, check out La Leche League’s trouble-shooting guide.

Pumping at work can be a bit of a hassle, but for me it was worth it. I loved being able to still provide breastmilk for my babies when I had to be away from them.

Meaghan Howard is a mom to two little boys, ages 3 and 6. She’s currently enjoying the expat life in Japan.


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