Many women think that it is not possible to breastfeed once they are ready to return to work after having baby. Pumping is a way to keep up your milk supply and express milk during the day so that your baby always has a bottle of breast milk even when you’re away. Your baby will still be getting all of the nutrients he needs and the health benefits of breast milk. Nicole Zoellner, inventor of Nizo Wear nursing bras, shares 5 tips that she found helpful for breast pumping after returning to work.
Nicole says, “I went back to work three months after I had my son. Lucky for me, it was only part-time (two-three days a week). It was quite a transition for my body to go from breastfeeding one day and the next pumping. Pumping breast milk can sometimes be a challenge but hopefully these tips will help.”
1. Get into a pumping routine.
Liz Pevytoe RN, IBCLC recommends starting and ending your workday empty (before you clock in and after you clock out, pump). Either way you choose to do it is fine, but the most important thing to remember is to stay on a schedule! Make sure you do not try to skip a pumping session as it could be detrimental to your supply or health.
“I used to pump on my two 15 minute breaks (one morning, one afternoon) and at my lunch break. Every time I tried to skip a pumping I got a plugged duct and let me tell you that was not fun! I learned quickly the importance of a regular schedule!” shares Nicole.
2. Invest in a good pump
According to Pevytoe, a cheap pump can cause injury, low supply, and mastitis from lack of emptying so invest in a good pump.
“My pump was a manual express by Medela. Since I was just part-time I felt like it was ok, but it would have been quicker and nicer with an electric one. I would definitely suggest an electric pump for full-timers,” says Nicole.
Whatever pump you choose, make sure you are using the correct size flanges and if you are unsure then you should ask a lactation consultant for help.
3. Make sure your bra fits properly!
This is critical because if not, you can get plugged ducts. A great fitting bra shouldn’t dig, pull, poke or otherwise cause discomfort. If it does, it’s not the right size (or bra) for you. Make sure it feels comfortable when you are moving around. There shouldn’t be any breast tissue spillage at the top, side or bottom of the cups. If there is, your cup size is too small. Try sizing up for a better fit. Your bra should feel comfortable and supportive. You shouldn’t have to settle for a so-so fit. Sometimes you will have to go up a cup size or two. Don’t let it concern you — sizes do vary among brands. Finding the perfect bra takes time and patience, but the way you will look (and feel) once you have found it will be worth all of your effort.
4. If you find you need to increase your milk supply, talk to a lactation consultant or your doctor for advice.
A galactogogue is a milk stimulating herb that can work well to increase your supply. Typically only works if you are frequently expressing breast milk. Also, it can make you sick if you tend to skip out on pumping sessions/emptying.
Nicole says, “I have found Motherlove’s products to work wonderfully and Liz recommends these.”
- Nature’s Way Fenugreek Seed
- More Milk Special Blend by Motherlove
- Nature’s Way Blessed Thistle
- Organic Mother’s Milk Tea 16 Bags
5. Store your breast milk.
You can keep your milk in a cooler with ice packs so that you do not forget your expressed breast milk at work!
Most important thing to remember is to keep your local lactation consultant’s number on hand for quick questions. They are an amazing resource!