I’ve been back at work for two years now and I still remember what it was like to go back to work after having a child. Many moms worry about that new phase of life as a working mom but both times I was excited. It’s not that I wouldn’t miss being around for the first steps or the first words but I was also eager to get back to the corporate world, challenge my mind and pee in peace.
While some moms are able to fully wean their child before heading back to the corporate working world, there’s quite a few who have to think about that additional step. Going back to work while still breast feeding can be quite the challenge and having seen friends who have had to return to their jobs as early as three months post-delivery, I have been privy to their journey.
Disclosure: I am part of the PTPA Brand Ambassador Program with Philips Avent and I received compensation as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog, as always, are TOTALLY ours.
Trust me, working in a male driven environment, I know how hard and awkward it can be to talk about breast milk at work, let alone publicly announce that you have to leave a meeting to go and pump! As embarrassing (though it really shouldn’t be) and challenging as it may be to be a breastfeeding working mom, be proud of your decision because it is no easy road. If you are able to breastfeed and want to continue doing so, you most definitely can!
Breastfeeding and Pumping After Returning to Work
Figure Out A Routine : Does it help to breastfeed for the morning and night feeds and pump during the day? Or are you able to take a full lunch break and maybe breastfeed your child or have someone bring them closer to your office ? Once you figure out the options that work for you and your family, it’ll make life easier for you.
Schedule Sessions in Your Calendar : Working days are just appointments and meetings melting into one another so scheduling things into your calendar will allow your co-workers to know that you’re busy during those time slots and will also give you the much needed reminder to head to your pumping or breastfeeding spot. While I hope that spot isn’t the office washroom, I know in some cases it might very well be!
Use a trust worthy Pump : Everyone has different needs – be it double, single, manual or electric. There’s something out there for everyone and having tested quite a few, I believe the quietest one wins in this situation! Couple years ago we reviewed the Philips Avent comfort manual breast pump and I said it was the best travel breast pump. For the same reasons, it’s the one I would have taken to work as I was weaning Baby Boy ever so slowly. The BPA free pump comes with a Natural Philips AVENT bottle, a Natural newborn nipple, a soft, textured massage cushion that encourages natural milk flow and an ergonomic handle for easy operation with just one hand. ONE HAND… so you can do something else, like eat or type that email, with the other. Not only does it make NO NOISE but it also fits in your purse, making it very convenient to transport. All components are also dishwasher safe so that’s another plus.
Keep Microwave Sanitizing Bags Nearby : Most offices have microwaves so it’s easy to sanitize items, especially if something accidentally slips out of your hand as you’re rushing from pumping spot to fridge! If you’re only pumping at work, you may opt to keep all the gadgets needed at your workplace versus taking it home daily so you’ll definitely want to sanitize and clean the parts well. This is another reason I like the Philips Avent Manual Pump, the parts are VERY easy to wash and it had fewer parts than my double electric pump also. One thing to note is that after each pumping session you can drop the pump and parts into a ziplock bag (and in your cooler bag) and toss it in the work fridge, that way you don’t need to wash the parts between each pumping session.
Keep Breast Pads Handy : You never know when something is going to trigger off those hormones! If you walk around with notebook all day, try slipping a thin set of breast pads in there for emergencies. You want to be able to dash towards the closest spot where you can slip those pads in before the milk oozes onto your clothes. The Philips Avent Manual breast pump comes with day and night pads, clearly another reason it has won the Parent Tested Parent Approved Seal of Approval!
Stock up on Bottles and a Cooler : You’ll be transporting the precious liquid from work to home on a daily basis if you choose to pump so be sure to not only have your bottles clearly marked with your name (can you IMAGINE someone mistaking your liquid gold for regular milk!!?) but also purchase a good cooler that will keep the milk cold during your commute. Pumping into my Avent bottles made my life easy but I can definitely see how the milk bags would make it easier to travel with ( I was a klutz who kept spilling milk out of the bags!).
It’s all going to be trial and error at the start. You’ll forget bottles and parts on some days and then MacGuyver your way into solving the problems (trust me, you WILL figure it out). The setbacks at the start are absolutely normal and you will soon figure things out and get into a rhythm. My biggest tip as you return to work is to start back on a Wednesday or Thursday if you can (yes, I say this to anyone returning from vacation too). It takes a couple days to determine what works best for you and to get in tune with the new schedules, having a shorter week will make it all go by so much quicker!
Don’t forget you can enter for a chance to win 1 of 2 Philips Avent Sterilizer Gift Sets – perfect for breast and bottle feeding parents!