Don’t let pumping let you down: Returning to Work and Pumping
This guest blog is written by: Sabrina Butler
Just because you are going to work doesn’t mean your breastfeeding goals have to change! I am here to tell you: you can reach your breastfeeding goals even if you are exclusively pumping or returning to work. Here are my tips to be successful at pumping.
Tip #1 Get to know your pump!
Pumping can make or break breastfeeding relationships, so it is important to get comfortable with your pump. I recommend bringing your pump to the hospital or a lactation counselor to ensure you have the correct flange size. Once you have the correct size, pay attention to how to put together and break down the pump. This ensures that you will be confident away from your home to assemble your pump properly ANYWHERE. Be aware of when you are supposed to change your pump parts. Most companies have you change those part between 2 months and 6 months. Please refer to your user manual for an exact date that the pump company recommends.
Tip #2 Chill Out!
Please do not feel you need to purchase a garage freezer and fill it up with frozen breast milk for the zombie apocalypse. You can start small and still feed baby their daily amounts. You should have roughly 2 (or maybe 3) days of milk stored ready for baby. And then the times you are pumping at work will be the milk you use for the following day. Not sure how much your baby eats during the day? Below is the equation used to estimate your baby’s daily intake. (*Please note this is an estimate for an average baby. Please consult your lactation counselor and pediatrician if your baby is not gaining weight properly.) This is the equation used by the Center for Breastfeeding:
(Baby’s weight) X 2.5 = Ounces per day
Tips #3 Skin to Skin.
Even though you are pumping breast milk, skin-to-skin is still vital to maintain your supply. If you can, nurse baby while home as much as possible. Not breastfeeding, no problem. Direct skin-to-skin with the baby each day promotes a healthy breastfeeding relationship and also helps maintain supply. This is the perfect time to wear your Tula Baby Carrier, to keep baby close and comfy. Babies love hearing mama’s heart rate and feeling her warmth.
Tip #4 Location, Location, Location!
Part of successful being successful at pumping breast milk is getting a nice, quiet, and comfortable spot to pump in. When you are relaxed, it is easier to pump, and you are able to pump more effectively. Turn the lights dim or even bring a sound machine, setting the mood gets your body relaxed and you are able to pump and make the most of your time. I know many moms may not have as much time as they like to pump, so creating a space helps you get the most out of your pumping times.
Just remember, YOU GOT THIS!!
Returning to work can bring a mixture of emotions, but do not let the idea of pumping bring you down. A great resource is your local Certified Lactation Counselor. They can answer your questions and help build your confidence at work.
About the author:
Sabrina Butler is a mom of 3 who became cool after having kids. She wanted to try alternative ways to care for her children, but she had no one to show her the way. Sabrina set out to make that change in her community. She is a Certified Lactation Counselor, community advocate, cloth diaper guru, wife to her college crush, and lover of all things natural parenting. When Sabrina is not working as a social media manager, she co-hosts All These Kidz podcast with her friends and works on ways to bring my education to mothers of color in her community.