As part two of the Modern Motherhood series with Mitera Collection, I wanted to discuss a topic that so many modern moms have to deal with: pumping at work. I think we can all agree that pumping is the worst. And pumping in your place of work just takes this up another level. Since I’m a stay-at-home, work-at-home mom and I don’t personally have experience pumping at work, I’ve asked my friend Madison from Espresso and Cream to share a bit about it—including 5 tips to make it less frustrating.
In February my husband and I welcomed our daughter, Ainsley, into the world. I was entirely unprepared for how time consuming breastfeeding and pumping would be, and there were many times during my daughter’s first 12 weeks of life when I thought about throwing in the towel.
I returned to my job in food marketing when Ainsley was 12 weeks old and have been pumping at work for a couple of weeks now. My first day back I was all nerves; I was leaving my baby with our nanny for the first time, returning to the working world and trying to figure out the logistics of pumping at work.
Thankfully my company is incredibly supportive of working mommas and provides a number of “mother’s rooms” that can be booked online weeks in advance. Although I’m sure it varies by company, the rooms provided at my work include a comfortable chair, mini fridge, sink with soap and a bottle brush and a stack of magazines.
Pumping at work is, without a doubt, a commitment of time and physical energy. Since I’ve returned I’ve made it my goal to pump before I leave for work, twice while at work and then again in the car on the way home. For me, pumping twice during the workday has been a manageable and realistic goal. Although I now supplement with formula a bit each day to account for the drop in supply I’ve experienced, I feel good knowing I’m continuing to provide my little girl with the benefits of breast milk. Here are a few of my favorite tips for making pumping at work a better and less stressful experience:
1. Think About Attire
This one is up to your discernment, but thinking about pumping when getting dressed really helps streamline the process. Nursing-specific dresses are great, and layers are your best friend. I wear a lot of tanks with blazers and looser, scoop neck-style tops.
2. Make Freemies Your Friend
I’m so thankful someone turned me onto the Freemie pumping system early on. The cups are much easier to use and more discreet than the traditional pumping systems. The Freemie design is a natural cup-like shape you put directly into your existing bra; the milk collects in the cups and then can be transferred into bottles or milk storage bags. (NOTE FROM NATALIE: The Freemie is available on Amazon with free shipping.)
3. Bring the Right Supplies
Make sure you have the following: A small cooler with ice pack, bottles or milk storage bags to keep expressed milk, a mini bottle of dish soap, a gallon-sized Ziplock bag (in case you don’t have time/resources to wash your pumping supplies), and breast pads. Also, it’s smart to have an extra set of clothes on hand just in case you need them. Always better to be over-prepared!
4. Remember the 5 Minute Rule
Keeping up your supply when you return back to work can be a challenge, especially when you get caught in a business meeting and need to sneak away to pump. A nurse in my new momma class told us that it’s better to pump for 5 minutes than to not pump at all, so keep that in mind when time gets tight! Just try to make up for the missed session as time allows later in the day.
5. Give Yourself Grace
Be kind to yourself and don’t hold yourself to standard that is unrealistic. Adjust and modify your pumping goals and schedule as you go. It’s a lot of work to pump and transition back to work! If you find that you’re stressing out over a rigid pumping schedule and a dwindling supply, give yourself the grace to supplement with formula as needed and reduce some of your stress.
*Use the code ‘MOTHER’ to save 25% until October 20th.
A LITTLE NOTE ABOUT TAILORING AND INVESTMENT PIECES: The dress I’m wearing has been hemmed by my tailor for my perfect fit. This dress is made longer (on my 5’4″ body it hit right at the knees) for maximum versatility. It can be worn during and after pregnancy, and also easily worn by taller women or anyone looking for a more modest dress. I like my dresses on the shorter side, so I tailored mine, but it’s worth noting that the dress won’t look exactly like mine when it arrives on your doorstep. As far as pricing goes, this dress is undeniably an investment piece. It’s not for everyone, but it is absolutely a worthy purchase for fellow minimalists who are interested in quality over quantity. It’s ideal for those of you who are pregnant (or plan to be!), work in a professional environment and need to pump during the day, or non-pregnant, non breastfeeding moms who just want to wear high quality pretty dresses that they can wear and throw in a washing machine. (That’s right—this dress is machine washable!) Get all the deets about the Ellen Dress here.
(This post was created in partnership with Mitera Collection, a brand whose mission I love and support. For every dress they sell, Mitera helps support the work of organizations dedicated to improving maternal and newborn health! Thanks for supporting the brands that make Thoughts By Natalie possible!)