- Know your rights - Ensure you understand your rights when you return to work in regards to your time to pump. Your employer might already have guidelines and protection for employees to grant them time. Also, because of federal health reform, an employer is required to provide appropriate time to women to express milk (may be unpaid) up to one year. Some states have even more legislation protecting these women. Check it out here: Breastfeeding State Laws
- Plan ahead - Talk to your manager or HR about your plans to pump once you return to work. Where will you be permitted to pump? Your employer may have a space dedicated for nursing mothers. If not, what accommodations will be made to allow you the privacy you need. Keep in mind, under the revisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, a bathroom is not considered a "permissible" location under the Act.
- Invest in a pump - Try to make room in your budget for one that will work for you, whether you are planning to buy or rent one. Since you are returning to work, you might prefer an double electric pump for efficiency. Check reviews, check manufacturing warranties, ask your friends. Your pump will become your new best friend!
- Manage your time - Since you will be taking additional time out of your day to save some milky goodness for your little one, make sure you are managing your time wisely. Be sure to schedule time on your calendar or with your job tasks that allows you to get the time that you need to do this without going crazy. Work this out with your supervisor ahead of time so it's one less thing you have to worry about when you return.
- Minimize stress - Since stress can be a killer for your milk supply, try to minimize your stress levels [yeah, yeah, I know...you now have a newborn and possibly other children and now you have to work....stress might be inevitable]. Once you get to where you will be pumping, try to relax! Read a book, close your eyes, look at pictures of your little one, take your time - anything to help you relax! [I love taking my phone with me and watching a video of my lil' man that I have saved on it. It helps me relax, brings a smile to my face and even helps with my milk let down!]
- Seek help - Returning to work and pumping can wreak havoc on your milk supply. If problems arise, seek help early to get things back on track. Check to see if there is a La Leche League in your area or other breastfeeding resources available.
- Keep it up! - It takes extra time and added work to your already busy schedule, but keep up the good work! You are giving your baby the best and you should be proud of yourself! The same is true for anyone who decides to breastfeed, make sure you have family and friends around that are supporting of your decision. They may be the ones to help you when the road gets rocky!
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Pumping at Work
Returning to work after maternity leave can be a big step. You just had a baby and have spent time off recovering and cuddling up to your little one. Now you are expected to jump back into the routine of things. You still want to breastfeed to give your little one the benefits of your milk so you have to tackle pumping and work. Here are some of my suggestions for returning to work.