Build a solid breast pumping strategy at work
Are you returning to work after your maternity leave? Here's a 7-step blueprint to ensure that you breastfeed comfortably in the workplace.
Returning to the office should never hinder moms from continuing to breastfeed.
The key is to find a breast pumping strategy at work that works (pun intended) for you, as well your boss and team. It may be challenging at first, but your commitment and efforts will be worthwhile.
Here are seven tips to a successful breast pumping strategy at work that include insights from moms who have survived and thrived as breast pumping working moms.
According to the Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act (Republic Act 10028) establishments and institutions, workplaces included, should provide an adequate lactation station where moms can express milk. It must be fitted with appropriate facilities such as:
- A lavatory for washing hands
- A refrigerator or cooling facility for storing milk
- Electrical outlets for pumps
- Tables and comfortable seats
Mommy blogger Didi Tiu Tang says, “With pumps nowadays that are fairly silent and hands-free, you can even pump in the confines of your office. As long as you have a nursing cover, you are good to go!”
1. Work out a schedule with your boss
In order to keep your milk supply flowing, aim to pump as often as you would breastfeed your baby at home.
Part of your breast pumping strategy at work should be agreeing on a manageable schedule with your boss, which was something designer Arvi Ferrer-Tito did when she returned to work.
Because she was allowed to plan her workflow around her pumping schedule, Arvi was able to make sure that her meetings and tasks would not conflict with her lactation breaks.
Mommy Celerhina Aubrey reminds moms that Republic Act 10028 also states that breastfeeding moms should be granted lactation break intervals totaling no less than 40 minutes to express milk, in addition to the regular time-off for meals.
2. Pick your pump wisely
Your choice of breast pump could make or break your breast pumping strategy at work. Investing on a high-quality pump is important. For mom of two, Margarita Florendo, the Medela Pump In Style worked best.
Here are some things to consider when buying a breast pump:
- Pump fit – See how well your nipple fits into the part of the pump that pulls it during pumping. Also make sure that the breast shield of the pump you choose is the right size for you.
- Pumping speed – Consider getting one that can pump both breasts at the same time to make expressing milk faster.
- Assembly – Get a pump that you can easily transport, assemble, and pack away after use.
- Warranty – Chances are the warranty period is equivalent to the expected life span of your pump.
Remember that pumps that are cheap but poor in build quality may not work effectively and are prone to breaking down. They could also cause nipple damage.
Read the rest of our tips for creating a successful breast pumping strategy at work on the next page!
3. Don’t forget milk storage
Have breast milk storage bags ready for your liquid gold. Mom blogger Cai Sio suggests that you label your stash with the date and time you expressed its contents, and that you should follow the “first in, first out” rule when giving the milk to your baby.
She also recommends getting a cooler and ice packs. Do not scrimp on these, as you need to have a reliable means to transport your milk home from the office. If you can freeze your milk at work, then you can just pack the frozen bags into your cooler to take home.
4. Make your work wardrobe nursing-friendly
When picking out your post-pregnancy wardrobe, find key pieces that will make pumping in the office more convenient. Start with a good nursing bra that offers support and easy access.
Blouses with crossover or overlapping v-necklines, button-down blouses, and wrap dresses are good options. Have a nursing cover on hand, too, for extra privacy. In place of a nursing cover, mom blogger Glaiza Tominio recommends using a shawl.
Finally, have towels or burp cloths with you to keep milk from dripping onto your lap or down your shirt.
5. Prepare your things the night before
You want to have everything that you need on hand to keep your breast pumping strategy at work going smoothly. Be sure to prepare all your things the night before to lessen the risk of leaving something behind.
Also, if your storage space at work allows, keep an emergency stash of things like an extra set of storage bags, and a clean nursing cover and towels.
6. Enlist support
More workplaces in the Philippines are becoming breastfeeding-friendly. Some moms even offer to share pumps with other nursing moms at work!
Making friends with other breastfeeding moms at your workplace can help in your breast pumping strategy at work. Find out as well if your office has any nursing-friendly programs for moms who pump.
7. Do not stress over pumped milk
You may feel pressured to produce large quantities of milk while at work, and the stress may not be good for your milk supply. Try to find ways to relax as you pump at the office, such as watching a video or listening to music.
Also, remember to eat well and keep yourself hydrated. Staying healthy and stress-free is important in your breast pumping strategy at work, and can help ensure that your much-needed milk keeps on flowing.
Care to share a breast pumping strategy at work that has worked for you?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patricia de Castro-Cuyugan
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