woman in office

When Should Women Start Pumping Before Returning to Work?

Women’s roles have burgeoned over the years yet her beauty never waned a bit. Juggling household chores, running a business, and taking care of a baby is not an easy feat but moms have always managed to work things out– thanks to her innate organization skills.

Women are efficient with multitasking; and this is not a new concept at all. Interestingly, moms have actually been practicing this skill for centuries. Modern moms have revolutionized this concept by adding tweaks in technology that bolstered innovative ways to get things done.

Baby Steps

On the first few weeks, you have to focus on taking care of your baby; specifically with breastfeeding your newborn. You have to start breastfeeding early and regularly (right at birth). Nurse your baby on cue and as often as he or she needs it (approximately 6x to 8x a day). This will help you produce more milk and also avoid breast tenderness and engorgement which tend to be painful and can even cause mastitis.

Ask for help from your husband, family, and friends. You may be a superwoman, but even heroines need some help from time to time. Ask help with cooking meals or for shopping so you can focus on your baby’s needs. Also, take some time off when the baby is asleep. You can read a good book or relax in a tub so you can reenergize and recuperate from stress or fatigue.

When to Start Pumping

You can start pumping breastmilk around 2 weeks before you get back to working in the office again. The best time to express milk is early in the morning right after breakfast. During the first few days, there could be less milk expressed from your breasts but this is normal. Once your body has adjusted to the pumping mechanism, you’ll be able to fill more bottles for feeding.

Preparation for Getting Back to Work

Allow your baby to get adjusted to sucking from a feeding bottle. You can train a caregiver earlier as well so she can be comfortable with taking care of your baby while you’re at work. Train her on how to prepare and feed pumped milk to your baby. Here are some steps to do so:

  • Express or pump milk every day and label the bottles with dates so you’ll know when to discard them. Any milk leftovers for 24 hours must be discarded immediately.
  • Freeze small amounts of milk in bottles.
  • Thaw these in the fridge at night so they’ll be ready for warming and feeding for baby.

Get to know your caregiver and instruct her on what you expect from the working relationship. Tell her to hold your baby everytime during feedings. Write down instructions to make it clear and can be referred back to at anytime. Try posting instructions on the wall of the baby’s room so she won’t forget schedules and daily routine for taking care of the baby.

Get to know your breast pump. Breast pumps come in several basic types – Electric, Single, Double-sided, Battery-operated, and Manual. The best breast pump for working moms are electric breast pumps because it is made of high-quality and durable materials and can be adjusted depending on desired suction strength and cycling speed. Some of the top picks for breast pumps are the following:

  • Medela Pump-In-Style ($199 at Amazon) which has an optional Natural Expression or let-down mode. This also comes with functional and sophisticated carrying case which includes a cooler compartment and ice packs for storing milk.
  • Ameda Purely Yours ($287 at Amazon) – Durability- and performance-wise, this certainly has the same features with that of Medela Pump-In-Style. Suction strength and cycle speed can also be adjusted. Comes with a carrying case or tote.

Take your breast pump at work so you can express milk at least three times a day even in the workplace. Do it in mid-morning, lunch, and mid-afternoon. Around 15 to 20 minutes of pumping would be enough for each breast. There are specialized lactation lounges in large offices or you can pump milk in your own office (just make sure to keep it locked for privacy).

Breastfeed your baby early in the morning before you prepare for work. You can also let the caregiver bring your baby for office visits in the afternoon. Working part-time or shorter hours during weekdays would be convenient for working moms who choose to breastfeed. Talk to your employer about work options now that you advocate breastfeeding while working.

Today, moms have formed an alliance with breast pumps in the effort to nurse their babies even when working. While on maternity leave, consider every small step that you are doing is a prelude to being a working mom who is devoted to breastfeeding with the aid of breast pumps.