Going back to work after having your baby can be nervewracking, especially if it will be the first time you are separated from your little one. If you have chosen to breastfeed your baby, you'll know all about how important it is to be able to continue expressing milk while at work – it will relieve engorgement, help prevent clogged ducts, maintain your milk supply and allow you to build your milk stash at home!
New Zealand employment regulations give women the right to breastfeed or express milk at work where the circumstances are reasonable and realistic, so before you head back to work, talk with your employer about pumping breaks and the facilities they can provide for you. Figuring out a routine for pumping when you return might seem overwhelming at first, so we at Haakaa are here to answer some common questions about pumping at work to help make #mumlife easier 💕
How do I prepare for pumping at work?
Before you head back into the workplace, it's important that you start creating a stash of breast milk in the freezer for feedings that you will be away for. The night before going back to work, thaw enough milk for your baby in the fridge so that it's ready for the next day, and repeat for the rest of your workweek.
Of course, one of the biggest decisions you'll have to make about pumping at work is which pump you will want to use. For the workplace, you'll need something that's efficient, portable and discreet.
This is where Haakaa's silicone breast pumps shine! We have our Gen. 1, Gen. 2 and Gen. 3 pumps, all of which are made with food grade silicone to help you collect your let-down using the power of natural suction! They're soft, comfortable and silent, with no cords or batteries required - making them ideal for mamas looking to pump at work. Read more about our different pumps here.
What should I pack in my baby bag for pumping at work?
Bringing all the right things in your baby bag can make pumping at work a whole lot easier. Alongside your breast pump, you should also pack breast milk storage containers or bags in your baby bag so you can safely store your liquid gold after expressing.
TOP TIP: Haakaa offers a wide array of storage solutions for your breast milk - we have our Gen. 3 Silicone Storage Containers that work seamlessly with our Gen. 3 Breast Pump, Silicone Breast Milk and Food Containers that stack neatly in your fridge and our brand new Silicone Milk Storage Bags, which are the perfect alternative to plastic milk storage bags!
You may also consider bringing a cooler bag to keep your milk safe, especially if your workplace doesn't have a fridge you can use, or if you have a long commute back home. We recommend our Insulated Storage Bag - it's the perfect size for your pump and storage bags/containers!
To protect yourself against potentially embarrassing milk stains, you might also want to bring disposable nursing pads to absorb any leaks in between pumping sessions, or even an extra shirt in case you need a change of clothes.
How often should I pump when I'm back at work?
It is recommended that you breastfeed your baby in the morning before you head off to work – completely emptying your breasts if you have the time. Once you get to work, aim to pump around every three hours. If you go for any longer than four hours without pumping, your breasts might become too full and engorged, which can be a little embarrassing!
Make sure you are fully draining your breasts every time you pump. Even if you're having a super busy day with lots of things on your to-do list, it's important not to skip any pumping sessions!
You might find that it's a lot more difficult to kickstart your let-down when you're away from your baby. This is totally normal! The key to these situations is trying your best to relax. Take a few deep breaths, listen to soothing music, meditate - whatever works for you. Once you are relaxed, encourage your let-down by finding something that reminds you of your baby. It could be looking at a photo of them, watching a video on your phone and listening to them make those adorable baby sounds, or sniffing a piece of their unwashed clothing. Stimulating the senses with reminders of your baby can do wonders to start the flow of your let-down! You can also try massaging your breasts or using a warm compress to promote milk production. Over time, as you continue pumping at work, your let-down reflex will start to become conditioned to express milk without those cues, making the process faster and more efficient!
How do I store pumped milk at work?
If your workplace has a fridge that you can access, store your milk in there. Of course, every workplace is different - if this isn't possible for you, then you can bring multiple ice packs to keep your milk cool for the whole day to prevent it from spoiling. Once you get home, stash the milk you pumped at work in the freezer.
How can I multi-task while pumping?
Some days at work you might find you're busier than usual and that you'll need to multi-task while pumping to get those important things done. In these situations, a hands-free pumping bra can be a lifesaver! It can keep your pump secured and close to your chest, collecting your let-down while you focus on getting other things done.
The Haakaa Hands-Free Breast Pump Bra is perfect for busy, multi-tasking mamas. It gives you the ability to move around while ensuring your breast pump stays in place, allowing you to maintain your productivity without having to skip a pumping session!
No matter how busy you get, remember to stay hydrated and well-nourished throughout the day. Your body is doing so much to produce that precious liquid gold for your baby, so it's important to fuel it right so it can keep doing its amazing work!
To become a mother is such an incredible feat, and the amount of women who work to support their families while being a new mama is nothing short of awe-inspiring. We hope our tips can help all those new mums returning to work - our community will always be here for you as we go through the hectic journey of motherhood together!