Welcome to the place where you can easily access TONS of FREE Breastfeeding information and GAIN valuable insight on best tips, how-to’s and “ need to know” about all things breastfeeding related.Please enjoy this All About Breastfeeding podcast with Lori Isenstadt, IBCLC Going back to work part 4
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Episode 68 Tips and Tricks to Help you Navigate Pumping in the Workplace or School
Welcome to AAB The place where the girls hang out. This is Episode # 68 Where I will share tips and tricks to help you navigate pumping in the Workplace or School. This show is filled with lots of great tips on getting yourself ready for leaving your baby for that first day of work and school. I know from working with lots of moms, that what makes this transition easiest is to be incredibly organized and this planning takes place a few weeks before you go back to work and the next most important time is the night before. Putting all your stuff together and being organized. It can seem like a lot when I start going through all this, however, I give you lots of little tips and tricks that you just don’t find in the books. And to make this even easier, I have given you 3 fabulous checklists… 3… that will help you get and stay organized. There will be links to these checklists in the show notes.
I am always learning and adding and changing things up to make things work better and better for moms. If you have a helpful hint that you would like for me to share with the AAB community, just leave me a note at allaboutbreastfeeding.biz/contact
I would like to start out by congratulating you on the decision to continue providing milk for your baby. Pumping and storing your milk before your return and pumping while you are away from you baby….. well, ask any mother, it takes a lot of work. You have to be highly motivated and very dedicated. Mothers will also tell you that it is well worth it and they prove this by pumping for subsequent babies also.
We have spent 3 shows together talking you through how to get to this point. Here is a quick review:
Part 1 – Episode # 62 The calendar says it is time to get busy – What you need to know to get started pumping and storing your milk.
Part 2 – Episode 64 Tips and Tricks to Make pumping as easy and convenient as possible
Part 3 – Episode #66 – Last week’s episode we talked about Bottles, bottle feeding and daycare
Today, in Part 4 we will be focusing on pumping in the workplace. Everything that I am going to talk about applies to employees in the work place as well as students in school
In case this is the first show you are listening to, I will warn you that you will hear a few sirens throughout the show. This is me, quirky Lori just experimenting and having a little fun with the show. There are times when I want to highlight something of importance and will hear the siren first to let you know to really pay attention here.
Aaaah,,, I snuck the first siren in the beginning of the show. This is because I know a lot of listeners are doing other things while listening to the show and they tend to get a little crazy when they hear good info that they want to write down so they can remember it. I just wanted to let you know that this show
This is a great show for you to listen to and one to share with your friends.It is going to be chock full of information, However, do not worry if you are driving and can’t remember everything. Once you get a chance, just go to the show notes which you will find at allaboutbreastfeeding.biz/podcast
You can read the notes from the show, and you can download the handy checklists I have made for you.
Let’s get into the details of the working and pumping mom.
This might sound a bit strange to you, however, you can get started well before you even have your baby. Yes, during your pregnancy you can already begin your preparation for the time you go back to work or school.
The #1 thing you can do ahead of time is to be knowledgeable about your legal rights as a pumping mom in the workplace. This is research you can easily do while pregnany.
.1. Whether it is work or school – take a look around. Notice any New mothers who have back from maternity leave? Introduce yourself. Get into a conversation with them about how pumping has been for them? They may have some good “need to know” info for you.
2. Discuss your plans with your employer or teacher. You want to be sure they have the proper accommodations for expressing milk at your job or school.
If no one has pumped at work before, you can discuss with them what you will need: Which is:
private lactation room specifically for this purpose,
If there is none yet, you can be flexible as long as the space offered as long as it is a private space where you will not be interrupted and is convenient to your workspace.
Clean private office, conference room not in use, small closet converted into a lactation room. Some workplaces can get pretty creative. In retail, perhaps a dressing room in retail store, if you work in a hotel they can designate one room in the hotel for pumping moms. There are construction sites that have pods that are specifically designed for pumping moms. Where there is a will, there is a way.
3. Google or Facebook search for a support group of working women who breastfeed. If there is not one close to you, feel free to start one of your own.
This is a wonderful way to meet others in your community. Moms are always happy to share their tips and tricks also.
4. If you are going to need childcare, now is a good time to start thinking about it. Three common choices are: on-site daycare, in -home daycare, or a daycare center.
Some areas have daycare centers with long wait lists. So, if this is something you are going to require, this is probably the one sure thing you should being to look into during your pregnancy. I can tell you that the first 6 weeks after giving birth, searching and visiting daycare centers are going to be the last thing you want to be doing. While this show is not really about finding good daycare, you do want to be sure they are breastfeeding friendly.
5. Some things to check into: You may need to pump before leaving in the morning or when you come to pick your baby up. You may need to breastfeed your baby in the morning or afternoon. Do they have accommodations for this? Are they familiar with breastfed babies that are not on a schedule. Breastfed babies who eat until they are full, not until they drink the whole bottle. Some providers work hard to get babies to finish the whole bottle. I call them members of the clean plate club. Are they very stuck on routines OR are they willing to hold off your baby until you get there? The reason for this is you might prefer to have your baby held off for 20 minutes until you get there so you can breastfeed rather than have them give the baby a bottle.
The next thing you can do is familiarize yourself with the laws related to pumping at work. What are your rights? What are the responsibilities of your employer?
This show is heard all around the world. The laws will vary from place to place. I am definitely not an authority on state, federal and laws of other countries. so the best place I have for you to start is to look up the breastfeeding laws in your local or statewide department of health websites, breastfeeding coalition, whatever is equivalent to that in your country. In the United States, my favorite site to go is:
Usbreastfeeding.org where you can find information on state coalitions and information on pumping in the workplace.
One of my favorite websites for working and the breastfeeding and pumping mom is:
The United States Breastfeeding Committee has a fabulous Workplace Guide which discusses Federal Workplace Support. Covers topics such as:
Who is covered by the law
What are the laws in your state
How to talk to your employer about pumping or nursing breaks
What are the space requirements
What can you do if your employer refuses to comply
This is packed with great information and way too much for me to share in this show. It is a MUST read site for any pumping mom
Womenshealth.gov is another MUST read website for pumping moms in the workplace. The information is good for you to know, PLUS the reason I am really charged up is because they have a program is called the Business Case for Breastfeeding and it is a comprehensive program designed to educate employers about the value of supporting breastfeeding employees in the workplace. The program highlights how important employers support is to the new mother. The Business Case for Breastfeeding offers tools to help employers provide worksite lactation support and privacy for breastfeeding mothers to express milk. The program also offers guidance to employees on breastfeeding and working .
They have a 16 page Outreach Marketing Guide and this guide has Chapter Titles such as:
How Employment Affects Breastfeeding which talks about how employment plans play a role in a woman’s infant feeding decision. We know that mothers sometimes decide not to continue breastfeeding or pumping because the workplace and their schedule makes it just too difficult. This Guide addresses this very issue, with chapters such as:
Successful Strategies for Supporting Working Mothers – where the focus is on solutions for combining employment with breastfeeding. Things such as a place to express milk in privacy and flexible breaks and work options, education about breastfeeding and support from supervisors and co-workers. How many times I have heard mothers who take pumping breaks are ridiculed or co-workers complain that these mothers are getting more break time, more time off.
A mom leaving to pump her milk for her baby, should never, ever be compared to the employee who is leaving their desk for a smoke break!
I am so excited for this because even as much as 10 years ago and 5 years ago, figuring out how to combine pumping and working was madness for moms. The stress associated with lack of support from their employers created a huge drop off of moms continuing to breastfeed and pump their milk for their babies. I am not saying working and pumping is easy by any means, however, we have seen a huge surge in support from employers, corporations big and small, that has made it easier for moms to be successful.
So far today we have discussed the various activities you can during your pregnancy to prepare for your return to work.
Now you wait, enjoy your pregnancy, have your baby, enjoy your time postpartum as a new mom.
You listen to the shows that come before this Part 1-3, and now I want to shift your mindset to the day or two before you actually return to work or school
The first day that you will be separated from your baby and he or she will be lovingly cared for and fed by someone else.
Here is how you prepare for that day:
I hope you are a person who likes to be organized and who likes to prepare.
If you are not, me thinks you better get started because honestly, preparation is really going to be your key to success.:
We are going to talk about a proposed routine. One that I suggest and one that you will change around to fit your needs and lifestyle.
But it is nice to have a place to start.
The night before your first day back at work: I usually joke about this and say: It is all in the Bag:
You have to get your milk bag ready
You have to get your pump bag ready
You have to get your diaper bag ready
You have to get your personal bag ready
download music or mediation so you can listen to while pumping
hands free bra
Let’s start with your milk bag:
Freezer packs in the freezer
Milk in the fridge
Milk storage bag to carry milk in
Some pumps come with a cooler bag.
If yours does not, choose one that you already like.
If you don’t have a favorite look into the Fridge to go cooler bag or Coleman cooler bag
Anyone of these bags that will keep your milk cool up to 8 hours.
Day care will keep your milk in their refrigerator.
At work, you might elect to keep your milk in their refrigerator.
I still find it is helpful to have your own just in case.
How many times have you tried to put your lunch in the workplace fridge only to find out that it is really yukky dirty… or that it is filled to the brim and you have move th ings around in order to squeeze your lunch in.
So, I just like for you to be prepared.
Now your pump bag. This can be a larger bag that you put the pump motor in, along with the parts, and any containers you are pumping into.
Having a second set of parts to pump into ( keep this in your non-perishable bag in the car), microwavable steam bags to clean parts, picture of your
Baby… laminated to keep from getting wet.
Depending on the pump you have, this might be an all in one bag with motor and parts and a cooler.
Ziploc bag to keep your parts in. extra nursing pads
Your diaper bag –
include everything daycare will need for your baby
twice as much as you think you need.
diapers, wipes, change of clothes, blankets
Your bag – leave in car if getting to your car is easy
Extra clothing, breast pads, bra, hand pump sounds like a lot, but remember the diaper bag is going to be left with your baby.
Your personal bag that you typically would take to work.
Has your pocketbook items, your lunch bag, earphones, phone usic
In the morning, you can start a routine, using a checklist.
Put the freezer packs in your cooler bag, along with the days milk
Put your diaper bag, which you put all together by the door
Put your pump bag by the door.
Your personal bag with extras of everything that is not perishable was put in the car last night
Your work bag where you will probably have your pocketbook, hands free bra, iphone and earbuds – take with you when you pump., lunch
Hint: If you are a forgetful person, I suggest you download my checklist which you will find in the show notes.
You can make copies of this list and put it with your keys and pocketbook and check off everything before you go out the door.
At work and need to pump. Try hard not to let too many hours go by without pumping. You will need to pump as many times a day, as your baby is taking bottles.
So, if your baby is taking 4 bottles while you are gone, it will be important for you to p ump 4 times.
This may change in a few weeks as you get your bearings and learn of any patterns that your baby has.
Helpful hints when pumping:
If you are able to easily relax and you experience let down fairly easily and quickly, then you are doing fine and may not need any of the tips I am going to mention.
It may take time to adjust pumping breast milk in a work environment. For easier pumping, try these tips for before pumping:
Relax as much as you can
Massage your breasts
Gently rub your nipples
Visualize the milk flowing down
Think about your baby — bring a photo of your baby, or a blanket or item of clothing that smells like your baby
Put in the earbuds and listen to music that helps you to relax
Quick meditation to help you relax
It may take a few days of pumping at work for you to begin to relax. Just give yourself a little time and pretty quickly this will become part of your routine.
You may want to put a reminder on your phone to take home your pumped milk, your pump bag, etc.
Keep in touch with your babies provider and find out if he/she is close to a feeding time. You may want them to hold off a bottle until you can get there and in a relaxed fashion sit and reconnect and breastfeed your baby.
This is a big transition for most mothers and babies. If at all possible, keep things calm and relaxed at home in the evenings particularly that first week back at work.
Give yourself a chance to get into a routine before you start making too many plans in the evening.
Perhaps have a few frozen meals put away or plan on getting tak out food a few nights, just to help ease yourself into this transition.
I look forward to Part 5 of this series where I am going to be troubleshooting. Answering your questions Live on Facebook Live. I hope you can be there for the LIVE Q & A, but if not, there is always a replay to listen to. This is going to be held on June 22nd at 12:00 to 12:30 Pacific Time. You will want to go ahead and Like my Facebook Page. It is All About Breastfeeding. I will be posting updates about the Facebook Live and make a note if anything changes. You can also post your questions there.
Bonus Material: As mentioned in the show I have created 3 very special checklists to help you get going
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