For working moms, one of the most difficult postpartum steps to take is going back to work. Pumping can make that transition even more difficult, especially while trying to balance between breastfeeding and pumping at the office. Luckily, there are a few things to do at night to make pumping at work less of a chore for you and a simpler process every day.
The amount of preparation required for a breastfeeding mom to go into work seems overwhelming. Just the thought of putting together your breast pump bag, cleaning all the parts, and making sure you have enough breastmilk stored in the freezer can be stressful. And it seems the brunt of that stressfulness hits in the morning when you're trying to rush out the door.
By taking the time to prepare before you get into bed at night, you can help relieve some of that morning chaos and ensure pumping at work goes as smoothly as possible. Instead of getting to work and feeling like you're already behind, adopt these seven tips into your nightly routine to help alleviate the stress that comes with pumping in the office and ensure you’re starting off the work day as smoothly as possible.
1. Preset Your Coffee Maker
A simple trick to skip the little time-suckers in the morning is to prep them the night before. Preset your coffee maker and grab your cup as you head out. Apply this idea to your wardrobe by picking it out ahead of time or to breakfast with an overnight crockpot recipe or pre-prepped frozen smoothy mix. If you're prepping these little to-dos at night, you can ensure you show up to work on time, less stressed and more prepared. Falling behind can be the quickest way to make breastfeeding more stressful at the office.
2. Make Your Alarm Work For You
You'd be floored by how many people forget to set their alarm or change their alarm to accommodate the type of morning person they are. Don't forget to check your alarm and consider dropping the habit of hitting snooze. Set your alarm for the time you need to get up. The New Yorker points out "snoozers are losers" because pressing snooze is actually making the wake-up process harder on you. And if you're waking up late or showing up drowsy to the office, it makes having to pump at work that much more of a chore and can make you feel rushed if you fall behind.
3. Clean & Prepare Your Pump
Cleaning the pump pieces and putting them back together is easily one of the most tedious chores associated with pumping. As much as you may want to fall in bed and worry about it later, taking the extra few minutes at night to prepare the pump will be your most time-saving action come morning.
4. Do A Bedtime Nursing
In my experience, taking advantage of nighttime nursing can help you wake up less engorged and speed along the morning routine. Although another nursing session in the morning is a great idea to prevent pumping the second you get to work, nursing at night can shorten the morning feeding and give you a smoother start to your work day.
5. Count Your Pump Pieces
There's nothing worse for a breastfeeding mom than getting to work, taking your first break to pump, and digging in your bag only to realize you left behind a storage cup or pumping essential. Take the extra few seconds to double check all the pumping supplies are there at night.
6. Schedule Pump Times
The International Lactation Consultant Association recommends having a set schedule as a pumping strategy. Even if you're not spacing out pump sessions evenly, it's still a good idea to check your work schedule and make note of the times you'll take during the work day to pump.
7. Pack Snacks
Keeping your body properly fueled is a simple way to strengthen supply and avoid pump slumps. If you're feeling hungrier than normal or having a difficult time pumping, Mayo Clinic noted that you might need to eat an additional 400 to 500 calories a day to keep up energy.
To keep the pumping process going smoothly at work, you can also try keeping a photo of your baby on your phone or desk to jump start your milk let-down. It's also a good idea to keep back up batteries in your desk in case there's ever a power outage, and your pump doesn't have enough juice to make it through the day. If you start incorporating these tips into your routine, you can reduce much of the stress and extra time it takes to pump in the office.