The reality for many mums these days is returning to work before our babies are weaned from milk. Unless you consider formula, that means expressing with a breast pump which also gives you and your baby the benefits of breast milk.
We know the benefits of breast milk to be:
- Improved resistance to disease and infection for the baby
- Reduced likelihood of juvenile diabetes, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, and juvenile cancers
- Reduced incidence of osteoporosis for you later in life
- Losing weight (gained during pregnancy) more easily
- Lower risk of breast, uterine and ovarian cancer for you
But the thought of expressing at work can seem daunting right? We’ve compiled some tips that might make the transition to a juggling, working Super Mum a little bit easier.
When to Pump
- If you’ve got time to pump before work do so. If you miss one of your pumping sessions at work you’ve still got milk to fall back on.
- Similarly, pumping twice on the weekend might be enough to take the pressure off one of your work days
- Pumping in the morning is often when you have more milk and you can get it done before immersing yourself in a time consuming project
- Did you know, your employer has to make reasonable arrangements for you to breastfeed during your work breaks
How to Make the Milk Flow
- Carry a photo of your baby to look at or watch a video of them on your phone while you pump. It can help you relax and also keep your goals in perspective if the whole idea of expressing at work seems stressful.
- The smell of a clean cloth nappy also reminds some mums of their baby and helps with clean-up afterwards.
- If you have a private office – check your email or read the paper online as it can help the time pass and take your focus off the expressing which can help the milk flow.
Where to Pump
- It is against the law to discriminate against a breastfeeding mother in the workplace.
- Employers are obligated by national legislation to take reasonable measures to accommodate your need to express. Click here for more info on breastfeeding mothers’ rights.
- It is reasonable for you to expect a room that is comfortable with a locking door to express milk at work, rather than using a bathroom.
- A double pump will get the job done in half the time
- Having extra kit parts and bottles on hand will also avoid having to wash up at work
- Lunch bag freezable blocks are a good size for keeping expressed milk chilled
- Keeping a hand pump in the car can get you out of trouble with full breasts if you forget your electric pump one day
- Keep a spare bra and blouse at work in case of leaks
- Needless, to say, if you’re expressing at work you want the most efficient pump so a hospital-grade pump is your best way to go.
Whilst all these tips can help, you will find the right individual system that works for you when you start back at work. Don’t be afraid to discuss your needs with your employer as it is their responsibility to meet your needs in a reasonable way.