Express Yourself: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know Before you Pump at Work
Going back to work after maternity leave can be a challenging time for many. Making sure you are prepared and have researched your options is essential to making the transition as easy and as stress-free as possible. Luckily we have saved you a stress and provided you with an essential checklist of things to consider before you return to work.
Preparing to Return to Work
The saying goes “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”. Being prepared is essential and you should make sure you’ve got these things covered before you go back to work.
If you need it - get your child care sorted and make sure you’ve got cover arrangements in plenty of time. This can take a while to find the right fit so get on this pronto.
Your body can take a while to adjust to pumping and producing enough milk, so start planning those extra pumping sessions to build your milk supply and don’t get discouraged if the first few sessions aren’t very fruitful. You will also find, getting your baby used to the bottle will get you both comfortable with using it by the time work rolls around.
Choose a Pump
There is an absolute overwhelming amount of pumps on the market, and like just about everything else for us ladies - everyone is different and what works for you will be different to what works for others. It’s important to choose one that feels right for you.
Some things to take into consideration when picking your pump:
Electric, manual or battery powered pump?
Electric pumps are faster and can be more efficient in terms of milk production, however tend to be bulky and can be heavy to transport.
Manual pumps are less efficient and slower but often easier to transport and purse sized.
Battery powered pumps may run out if you are pumping multiple times a day, so considering a plug in may be a better option. However take into account the space you are provided with - does it have a socket?
Single or double breast pump?
Double pumps express from both of your breasts simultaneously and therefore are more efficient, especially when pumping regularly. However these come with the downside of being double the amount in price and to carry into work.
Check your insurance
Many pumps are covered by your provider so check your small print.
Choosing your pump is a highly personal choice that requires a fair amount of research. We will explore more of these options in a more comprehensive post focused on this.
Know your Rights
The Fair Labour Standards Act of 2010 states that employers with 50 or more employees paid on hourly contracts must provide a lactation room other than a restroom for expressing milk up to 1 year after a mothers child is born. However many state laws go way beyond this. It is so important to be up to date on these - take our survey and we will generate which laws apply to you depending on your state.
Knowing your rights generally concerning your workplace and company is equally important, we discussed these in our post: Know Your Rights: Returning to Work after Maternity Leave.
Expressing at Work
Think about where you are going to store your milk after you’ve expressed. Make sure your milk is well labelled if you are putting it in a communal fridge, or ask your employer about supplying you with a small refrigerator for breast milk in your lactation room or space.
Make sure you’ve got access to a wash basin to clean your pump after use - and make sure it is a sanitary basin! Cleaning your pump is an essential part of the hygiene process and you need to do this every time after you express. Make sure you’ve got a clean place to store your pump after it’s use such as a clean bag or air-tight container.
Schedule your day accordingly, especially in the early days. Make sure you have allocated adequate time to express, you could even schedule these out in your calendar as your designated time of day to pump so no one books you into a meeting that clashes.
Pumping at work can seem like a scary or daunting challenge, but with the right preparation it doesn’t have to be! Make sure you get the right support from your employer and remember that communication is key, if you are struggling then speak to your manager about what they can do to support you.
If you need help talking to your employer, or would like a personalised report to send them. Why not fill our two minute survey and we’ll send you everything!
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