Pumping Tips: Making It Work at Work
You’ve packed your pump and are heading to work. Here are some tips for pumping breastmilk at work:
Congratulations! You’re a mom who packs up her pump when you head to work so your baby can continue to have the very best nourishment. You’re also ensuring breastfeeding security when the two of you are together.
Whether you’re just returning to work or simply need a refresher, here are some tips to make it a win-win-win: for you, your baby and your employer.
Make a connection. Every breastfeeding mother has a story about what worked for her when she returned to work. If you know other women who have pumped breastmilk at work, talk to them about their experiences and solutions to any challenges they may have had. You can also connect with other mothers on breastfeeding message boards.
Find time to pump. Plan your pumping schedule to replicate your baby’s nursing times so that your body gets the necessary signals to continue producing milk. Avoid skipping sessions as this signals your body to produce less milk. It is important to explain this to your employer so they understand your need to have regularly scheduled pumping sessions.
Be flexible if possible and consider your employer’s needs as well as your own. Even if you only have a few minutes, still pump. Stimulation is more important for your body’s response than pumping time. However, a drained breast will replenish more milk so ideally pump until empty.
Set aside time if your schedule is unpredictable, or be creative about when you pump. For instance, it's possible to read or eat lunch while pumping.
Find a private place to pump. It’s important to pump without disruption the necessary hormones are released for let-down. A lactation room is ideal, but other options are a private office or storage room that can lock. Avoid using the bathroom as it is not a sanitary place to pump.
Discuss with your employer. If you work for a company with many women of child-bearing age, you may be able to convince your employer of the need for a lactation room. See some helpful facts below to help make your case.
Know your facts. Hopefully you won’t run into any obstacles with your employer. But if you do, the following facts can help you make a convincing argument to gain their support.
- Lactation programs are cost-effective, showing a $3:1 return on investment.
- One-day absences to care for sick children occur more than twice as often for mothers of formula fed infants.
- Breastfeeding lowers insurance claims for businesses. One study showed that for every 1,000 babies not breastfed, there were over 2,000 extra physician visits, 212 extra hospitalization days, and 609 extra prescriptions to treat just three common childhood illnesses.
- By supporting lactation at work, employers can reduce turnover, lower recruitment and training costs, cut rates of absenteeism, boost morale and productivity, and reduce health care costs
The Affordable Care Act is on your side! This healthcare law stipulates that an employer must provide the time and space (specifically pointing out this should not be a bathroom) for pumping moms. For more details, you can visit The Dept of Labor website. Many insurances now cover pumps - find out if your insurance covers a Lansinoh pump!
We know that pumping breastmilk at work takes extra effort, but it’s worth it! Contact one of our Certified Lactation Counselors if you have any questions.