Pumping Breast Milk
Here are some suggestions to make the transition easier:
- Plan ahead. Let your employer/manager know that you plan to continue to breastfeed once you return to work. You can request a private area at work to pump breast milk, each day and explain that you will need to pump at specific times. Ideally, you should have access to an electrical socket for your pump, a refrigerator and access to running water for cleanliness. A comfortable place to sit and a table for your pump or other supplies are also important.
- Identify a sitter or a daycare center that is supportive of breastfeeding mothers.
- Think about clothes for work that will make pumping easier. Such as two-piece outfits and loose-fitting tops.
If possible, begin pumping and freezing breast milk about a month before returning to work so that you build up a supply. Store your breast milk in plastic breast milk storage bags or storage bottles made especially for breast milk. Your milk can be refrigerated for five to seven days and can be frozen for three to six months.
As a new mom, once you return to work you will likely need to pump three times during an eight-hour shift or every three hours that you are away from your baby. If you can't pump that often, do it as frequently as you can during the day, since breastfeeding works on supply and demand. Use the fresh breast milk you pump at work for feedings the next day. Breastfeed as often as possible whenever you are with your baby in order to maintain and build up your milk supply.
When choosing a breast pump, there are three types to consider: hospital-grade electric, personal electric and manual. A hospital-grade electric pump is recommended if you are having difficulty nursing due to medical reasons. Personal electric pumps are faster and more effective at removing breast milk than manual pumps. They are ideal for working moms who pump throughout the day to maintain milk supply. A double electric pump can cut pumping time to 15 minutes by emptying both breasts simultaneously. They are easy to carry to the office and come with all the necessary attachments. Manual pumps are small, lightweight, and easily portable.