As a mother who has spent almost two years of my life managing my job and a pumping schedule, I have learned a few things along the way that have made this second round of pumping at work much less stressful and more successful.
My first ingredient to pumping preparedness is PLANNING AHEAD!
Your first day back at work without your baby will come with a plethora of emotions and probably like a million emails. Do not wait to figure out where you can pump until the day you have to start pumping.
If possible, talk to someone before you go on maternity leave so you walk into the office with a plan, not just questions and concerns. Come up with a schedule of what you think will work best for both your pumping needs and your professional needs. The key here is staying flexible and changing that plan as you need to or as you can.
Tour your pumping place and take inventory of what is in the room, and what isn’t in the room so you can fill in the blanks as need be. Remember, preparedness is the key to pumping happiness.
Does your pumping room have a…
How many people will you be sharing this room with?
Does the door lock?
Is there a do not enter sign?
WHEW! Ok, now it is day one back at work. Before you even think about walking out the door make sure you have invested in a quality nursing and pumping combo bra. I tried to get something cheap, used an old sports bra I cut holes into, attempted the whole "hair tie trick" and all I can say is, spend the dang money on a good bra that does it all! Bonus if its pretty! I love the lacy number I got, because I get to feel a little more like a woman and a little less like a cow.
Unless you thoroughly enjoy feeling like one of those Grand Canyon pack mules get yourself ONE BIG BAG! There was nothing more frustrating to me than walking into the office like a pretty pack mule. Lunch bag, water bottle, purse, pump bag, cooler, car keys, work badge… heck to the NO! Get yourself a weekender bag and just lug that one piece of luggage around in effortless style. Best idea ever!
Time saving game changer: if you can keep your pump parts in the refrigerator between uses, you don’t need to sanitize all the parts every time you pump! It's true! You can always wash your pump parts in an available sink or use one of those cool bags to sanitize in the microwave when necessary, but this can save you soooo much time everyday!
If washing is a necessity, clean sinks are in short supply and you don’t think sanitizing in the microwave with 2 year old spaghetti splatter is an option, try Medela’s Quick Clean Pump and Accessory Sanitizer. I swear by the stuff and use the spray on my flanges between every pump (cold boobies are stingy with milk, so don’t but your flanges aka breast shields in the fridge).
My last piece of advice: plan on people walking in on you. Yeah the door may be locked, you may have a "DO NOT ENTER" sign out, maybe the person even knocked first and you yelled "OCCUPIED!!!!"..... but in reality: somebody has a key to that lock. Nobody pays attention to warning signs. And why is it that people knock as they walk in??? (PSA: Proper etiquette requires you to knock. Wait. Then enter.) If the thought of a team of construction workers catching a glimpse of your knockers is unsettling (yes, that really happened to me), it is always a good idea to throw a nursing cover or light blanket into your big bag so you know you're covered! Or if you have become seamless as I have after two births and two years of nursing, just do your thing, girl. You can always send out, "sorry you saw my boobs" apology cards to any traumatized co-workers.