Pumping is one of the toughest parts about being a breastfeeding and working mom. Cleaning your parts, remembering your parts, the actual act of pumping — it's all a total pain on top of your million other responsibilities. But there are a few things to do every morning to make pumping at work go smoothly and, I promise, they aren't too difficult to fit in your routine.
I know what you're thinking: mornings are already chaotic. Although there's a lot of work you can do the night before, like making sure your pump parts are cleaned and put back in your bag, the morning is when you put everything in order for the day. So get your coffee maker programmed, put your coffee cup next to it, and then make sure your pumping bag isn't far away. By implementing these seven things into your morning routine, you can make sure that your day of working and pumping won't be quite as stressful as usual. No more panicking because you have to pump and your boss scheduled a conference call. No more worrying if you miss a pumping session during the day because you don't know how much milk you have at home and no more running around like a crazy person, leaving behind bottles that are imperative to your day. Change up your morning routine with these tips to make pumping at work go smoothly.
1. Wake Up On Time
Seriously, it's hard AF, I know, but this is essential. How can you make sure your bag is packed and ready to go if you're waking up ten minutes before you have to leave? Wake up on time so that you're not in a rush and causing yourself a ton of stress. International Board Certified Lactation Consultant Kristin Gourley of Lactation Link tells Romper, "being relaxed can help with milk let-down because oxytocin doesn't release as easy if mom has high stress and thus cortisol levels." So save yourself some anxiety in the morning and don't hit snooze. (OK, don't hit it more than once.)
2. Consult Your Checklist
Amy O'Malley, director of education and clinical services at Medela, tells Romper that a checklist is imperative to successfully pumping at work. By keeping a checklist of all the things you need, like bottles, breast pump parts, breast pads, and other essentials, you can be sure every morning that you aren't forgetting something on your way out the door.
3. Count Your Bottles & Bags
There are few things worse than realizing you're out of bags or bottles, so when you're looking at your checklist, count to make sure you have enough for all your pumping breaks during the day. If you know you'll be pumping at least three times, be sure there's enough storage items so you can get your milk safely home.
4. Check Your Schedule For The Day
O'Malley recommends scheduling your pump time into your schedule so your other co-workers know when you'll be busy, but that isn't always possible depending on your job. What does work is checking your schedule for the day to make sure your pumping will go smoothly. Do you have a longer day than usual? Then you might need to work in another pumping session. Do you usually pump at 2 p.m., but now you have a meeting? Then re-work some of the day's earlier events so you can get that pump time in. Being prepared and planning your day around your pumping schedule can make it a lot easier on you.
5. Nurse Your Baby Before You Leave For Work
One last nursing session before you go out the door means you don't have to pump as soon as you get into the office or workplace. It also gives you a chance to bond a little bit more with your baby and to "top them off" a bit before they take bottles throughout the day.
6. Figure OUt How Many Bottles Your Baby Will Have During The Day
IBCLC Briana Violand of Northcoast Lactation Services tells Romper that every time your baby gets a bottle, you should be pumping to keep up your milk supply and production. So before you head out for the day, do a quick count and see how many bottles your baby will get while you're gone. If they're going to have three, then you know you need to set aside time to pump at least three times. This can help you schedule your day and make it a little easier to handle.
7. Snag A Piece Of Baby Clothing From The Laundry
O'Malley says that having a piece of your baby's clothing with you can actually help you pump easier while at work. The Leaky Boob noted that smelling your baby's clothing can actually trigger the let-down reflex and get your milk flowing quicker than usual. Perfect workplace hack and, hey, now you have an excuse for that load of laundry hanging out by the washer.