Expressing at work: tips and tricks for moms
Even if you have secured the support of your superiors, expressing breast milk at the workplace may cause some concern. How will your colleagues relate to your frequent breaks? Will you have the opportunity to retire? But do not worry: if everything is well planned and coordinated, pumping at work will not cause any problems for you, the employer or the baby.
We offer ten top tips for pumping at work.
1. Know your rights
In many countries, the law provides you with the right to express breast milk at work, and your employer must schedule regular breaks for you.
2. Get ready
You must have everything you need to express, store and transport breast milk. First of all, you need to prepare a breast pump. It’s most convenient to take a double electronic one: it allows you to quickly express more milk. 1 It may be worth buying two breast pumps and leaving one at work so as not to carry it with you every day. Other useful accessories include:
breast milk bottles or breast milk storage bags;
cooler bag for transporting milk;
microwave sterilization bags;
pads for a bra and a spare top in case of leakage of milk;
clothes that make it easy to open the chest.
3. Talk with colleagues
You do not have to tell your colleagues that you express breast milk, but if they are aware of the situation, it will be easier for them to understand you. You can arrange mutual assistance with a colleague who also expresses milk so that you can support each other.
4. Find a convenient place
The employer can provide you with a separate room for decantation (not a toilet). It can be a medical office, meeting room or any other room where it will be convenient for you to express milk and where no one will interfere with you.
5. Take care of storage
Find a safe, cool place to store breast milk. If it’s a shared refrigerator, sign your bottles or bags of breast milk.
6. Keep milk in the cold
With expressed milk, you can feed your baby the next day, so there is usually no need to freeze it. When stored in a refrigerator (and transported in a cooler bag), breast milk is safe to drink for three days, and in perfectly clean conditions, even up to five days.2,3 More information can be found in our article on storing breast milk.
7. Choose a time
Express milk at the same time as the baby was previously applied to the breast. This way you will receive sufficient volume for feeding and will be able to support milk production.
Arrange to go to work for one day and test the pumping in real conditions. Or start working on Friday to get comfortable with expressing and transporting milk before a full-time work week begins.
9. Feed in between
If you gave the child to a nursery near work, instead of pumping, you can take breaks to feed him right there.
10. Take care of yourself
Combining work, parenting and breastfeeding is not easy, especially if you are just getting used to a new role or your baby is still waking up at night. Do not rush to dive into the work with your head, take care of yourself and remember that over time it will certainly become easier, because the baby will grow up and you will both get used to the new regime.
Expression at work: stories of real mothers
Each of these mothers had their own experience in pumping at work, but they all found a way to fit it into their daily lives.
“I always had a cooler bag with me.”
“Three months before leaving maternity leave, I warned my supervisor that I would express breast milk at work. The door of my office is locked with a key, but he ordered an additional installation of blinds on a transparent window in the door so that no one could look inside.
I manually pumped milk into a bottle in my office and stored it in a signed bag in the refrigerator in the kitchen. If I worked on the road, I found secluded places for decantation. I always had a bottle and a cooler bag with me.
If I couldn’t manage to pump enough milk during the working day, I additionally decanted at home so that my son would have enough for the whole day in a manger. ” Lily, mother of two children from the UK
“My company supported me very much”
“It turned out to be easy to express at work, because my company provided all the conditions for this and supported me very much. Enough time was allotted to me.
As for the organization of the process, I had to take care of maintaining cleanliness every day and carry the breast pump with me. Now my company has a clinical breast pump for use by several mothers in the mother and child’s room, and all nursing mothers are given an individual pumping kit for free, so carrying your own equipment is no longer required.