As if the first weeks of motherhood aren't enough of a learning curve, once you go back to work things can tend to feel even crazier. Add pumping on the job to the list of your newly acquired skills and you're basically supermom. But no mom should have to learn this skill on her own, and thanks to moms who have gone before you may not have to. There are some invaluable tips for pumping at the office that will make all the difference if you're struggling to balance this time-consuming, energy zapping addition to the already exhausting role of motherhood.
I've breastfed two babies in the past two years, and while I've certainly learned a lot, I've never pumped at an office. Since my expertise only reaches so far, I asked several other pumping mamas for their best tips, and trust me, their advice is top notch.
Some of the tips may seem obvious, but when you're sleep deprived and stressed, the last thing you need is to navigate pumping at the office on your own. It really does take a village and whether or not you have support at your job, these tips are sure to give you a solid place to start.
1Buy A High Quality Pump
"When the milk I was pumping was not sufficient enough to meet her demand, which seemed like only a week after I returned to work, we started supplementing with formula. I also thought that maybe the pump wasn't the greatest. So, I looked into a hospital-grade pump. I was able to go to my hospital and rent a pump for a couple of months for a monthly fee. It was the best thing I did, in my opinion. That pump was so much better and I was able to produce more milk with it." — Kim
2Eat And Drink Enough
"Make sure you're eating and drinking enough! I never took this seriously the first time and it was such a struggle to produce. I would have to pump five times a day to make 12 oz of milk. Now, I drink, eat, and snack and typically pump 14 to 19 oz pumping only three times a day." - Kristen
3Trust Your Body
"My biggest piece of advice would be to relax and trust your body. I would always be so worried I wasn't producing enough to make a bottle for my baby to take while I was gone. I modified my pumping schedule to make it work rather than stressing that I wasn't doing enough." — Lindsay
"How many times will you need to pump at work and for how long? How will you make sure you bring the supplies you need each day? Where will you pump and store your milk? Addressing these questions about a week before you arrive back to work will allow you to have a solid plan to integrate pumping into your day." — Veronika, Veronika's Blushing
5Know Your Rights
"Before going back to work, call HR and know what your rights are. I love my job, but ensuring my family is getting what they need is my first priority." — Kristen
6Pump First Thing In The Morning
"Try to pump first thing in the morning in addition to while you're at work if you struggle with a lower supply. It's helped me tremendously." — Lindsay
"I take fenugreek (only started taking it at four months ) with Ainsley. I take nine pills a day. With Oakland I took nine pills everyday for 11 months." — Brittany, The Ashmores
"Breastfeeding and pumping can be really demanding and it's really easy to get down on yourself. Set small goals [like], nursing for three months, six months, etc. Take it one month or week at a time." — Kristen
"Some days, what got me through was talking to co-workers and friends who pumped. Their stories and words of encouragement motivated me. If you’re a mom who pumped at work, offer encouragement to moms returning to work. Sometimes a simple 'You’re doing a great job' can make someone’s day." — Veronika, Veronika's Blushing
10Stick To Your Routine
"Try and pump at the same time every day at work if possible. If your schedule or days change, try to pump at the same intervals, like every three hours. This way your body will be used to pumping and should produce about the same amount of milk each day." — Kristen
11Ask For Help
"If you need to help, ask. See a lactation consultant, ask your friends and family. I reached out to so many women to get tips and tricks or just a shoulder to cry and complain on." — Kristen