Returning to the workplace while continuing to breastfeed can be a challenge. First and foremost, it means women will have to pump breast milk to store and then use with a bottle. It also means you have to be a little organized and plan ahead.
Breastfeeding for working moms
Here are the top 10 things you will need for pumping breast milk when you go back to work:
- Breast pump and parts: To maintain a milk supply for any length of time (the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends one to two years of breast milk), you will need a quality breast pump. The Affordable Care Act requires that all women have access to pumps through their insurance plans.
- Storage bags: You will need the ones specially made for breast milk, and not zip-close bags as they are too porous and can leak bacteria into the milk.
- Pumping bra: You can purchase one or make one out of a sports bra.
- Nursing covers: These will help in case you wish to cover up your breasts while you pump. You can purchase or make these on your own.
- Extension cord: It’s good to have these on hand in the event that there are not convenient outlets where you will be pumping.
- Water bottle: It is important that you drink enough fluids to maintain your supply.
- Snacks: You need 500 more calories per day than the average women while lactating, so bring healthy snacks to eat during the day.
- Cooler bag (with freezer gel pack): This is needed to store and transport your milk home from work, and in case you do not have access to a refrigerator.
- Washbasin: You may need this in case there is no proper place to wash your pump parts.
- Dish soap/steam bag: If you do not have access to dish soap, you will need this to wash your parts in, or you can purchase steam bags to clean them in the microwave.
Best of luck with your baby! Be proud! You are doing an amazing job by offering breast milk to your baby!
Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin has board-certified lactation consultants who support breastfeeding mothers. Our lactation consultants focus on supporting mothers in providing breast milk to their babies through breastfeeding and expression (removing milk from their breasts). They also provide educational and support services to families and staff.
Learn more about Linda McNamara, RN, BS, IBCLC.