Monday, July 29, 2013

Return to Work

So today is my first day back at work after 20 weeks of maternity leave.  I am very sad to be leaving my two little girls, but I do like my job so that helps.  I am very fortunate that I work for a very flexible company that allows me to work part time (3 days a week) and still maintain full benefits.  I work with a great team and have a boss that is very supportive of my career and personal choices, so it doesn't really get much better than that!

One of the aspects of returning to work that I do not enjoy is pumping milk for my baby.  I really enjoy nursing her and we have a great nursing relationship, but pumping is not fun!  I am lucky that I actually have 3 different pumps to choose from (I'll get into this later) and in the next few weeks I am planning on doing a trial of each one and reporting the results here, so stay tuned.  Because I pumped at work for 6 months for my older daughter and now I am back at it again, I figured I would provide some tips and tricks that have worked well for me.

1.  One of the most important things to maintain your supply while pumping (because the pump is less efficient than your baby) is to pump frequently.  I am gone from my baby for 10 hours, so I pump 3 times in that period.  Ideally you would pump every 2.5-3 hours.
2.  The law currently requires most employers to provide a desginated room to pump in that is not a bathroom.  Locate this room before you return to work to ensure that you have access and know where it is.  Also make sure that this room has an outlet and check on any other amenities it may have (a sink is the best!)
3.  I really like having a Pumping Bra so that I can do other things while I pump (these never seem to be work related things, but rather playing on Facebook, etc.)
4.  One of my favorite breastfeeding related aps is the Medela iBreastfeed ap.  I use it for when I actually nurse my baby and I also use the pumping function to time how long I have been puming and record how much I pumped.
5. One of the first mistakes I made while pumping at work was that I didn't bring anything with me to wipe up with and I ended up with milk everywhere.  I started brining papertowels in my pump bag so that I had a clean place to lay my pump parts and wipe everything down.  I also like to bring the cloth wipes I use for my daughter for this purpose.
6. Once I am done pumping, I store my milk and pump parts in the fridge until my next session.  One of the most confusing parts for me initially was what to do with all of the pump parts.  Do I wash them?  Where do I store them? The questions went on an on.  What I finally decided to do was get a dark colored bag (the one I use was a waterproof bag that came with a forumla sample) and store my pump parts there.  I wipe them, as mentioned above, first and then put the bag in the refigerator (very discrete).  Sometimes I also rinse them, but it can be uncomfortable to stand at the comunal sink and rinse this stuff.  I figure as any residual milk is refigerated that it is safe to reuse.  At the end of the day I take all of these items home and wash with hot soapy water. 

Good luck and happy pumping :)

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