This article will be a lifesaver for a lot of pumping mamas out there. Kristen Dillon is an amazing mother of 4, and boy does she know her stuff.
Please share with your friends who pump!
by Kristen Dillon | guest writer The Snap Mom
I was a full-time working mom with 3 of my 4 kids. With my first, pumping was not an easy road, and sadly only lasted 8 months due to lack of support from my employer. With my 2nd and 3rd babies, I pumped full-time for a year and breastfed them for 14 and 25 months. With my 4th, I was lucky enough to be a stay at home mom. I would love to share what worked for me in hopes to encourage all the pumping moms, whether you are working or not.
1. A comfortable room
Having a room you can be comfortable in is important. With my first, I used my manager’s office. While the room worked, it was freezing! I worked at a grocery store, and there was no control over the temperature. With my 2nd and 3rd, I used a conference room and brought a space heater from home. I was never asked to pump in a bathroom; I made it clear I would not do that from the beginning.
2. Know your state laws
It is important to know what the laws are in your state regarding pumping in the workplace. Not all employers know about it. I was questioned with my first baby, and I wasn’t too familiar with the laws. They did not allow me the time I needed to pump. I made sure I knew with the rest of my kids.
In Florida the law is: SEC. 4207. REASONABLE BREAK TIME FOR NURSING MOTHERS. Section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 207) is amended by adding at the end the following: (1) An employer shall provide-(A) a reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for 1 year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express the milk; and(B) a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk. (2) An employer shall not be required to compensate an employee receiving reasonable break time under paragraph (1) for any work time spent for such purpose. (3) An employer that employs less than 50 employees shall not be subject to the requirements of this subsection, if such requirements would impose an undue hardship by causing the employer significant difficulty or expense when considered in relation to the size, financial resources, nature, or structure of the employer’s business. (4) Nothing in this subsection shall preempt a State law that provides greater protections to employees than the protections provided for under this subsection.
3. Bring something familiar
Having an item that reminds you of your baby can really help. A lot of women use a picture to look at their baby. I used to bring a onesie my baby wore the day before and close my eyes and smell it while picturing my baby nursing. I know it sounds weird, but smelling my baby and picturing them would help me get the best letdowns.
4. Drink plenty of water
I know you hear it all the time, to make sure you stay hydrated, but drinking lots of water can really help keep your supply up! It’s easy to get caught up in work and forget, but make sure you are drinking enough. Set reminders on your phone. At a minimum, drink a tall glass of water each time you pump or nurse.
Make sure you have support in your choices to pump at work. Tell your coworkers that it is important to you to have their support. With my 2nd and 3rd baby, it got to the point my coworkers would remind me I needed to go pump — and I worked with all men!
6. Get a good pump
If you are going to be pumping often, it is so important to have a great pump. A double electric is definitely worth the money! Check with your insurance company first, because a lot of them will pay for it for you. I used a Medela double electric.
7. Create a schedule
Keep an eye on your baby’s nursing patterns, and try pumping to those same patterns. My kids would nurse every 2-3 hours, so I always pumped every 2-3 hours. Pump for 15 minutes in each side (that’s why a double pump is key!). I found for myself, pumping every 2-3 hours for 10-15 min is what worked for me. But every woman and baby is different, so find what schedule works for you.
8. A pumping bra
While it is not an absolute necessity, wearing a pumping bra makes pumping 100X easier!
9. Breast Compressions
This is easiest to do if you are wearing a pumping bra… Many moms find this is the best way to completely empty their breasts each time. Many moms do this while nursing too! It is a little tricky to explain, so it is best to look up a YouTube video. Make sure to get all sides… Sometimes you’ll find a “sweet spot,” and the milk will come pouring out.
10. Don’t give up
Pumping is probably one of the most challenging things I faced as a mother. It is not a baby. You can’t love it, it sounds odd, and it just doesn’t feel the same. You will also usually never get the same amount of milk pumping as you would nursing a baby. But by doing the tips above, it can help you to relax and make it a little easier. I started pumping when my kids were about 3 weeks old to get used to the pump and to try to build a supply. Reach out to local support groups, like The Snap Mom Community and others; they are all there to encourage you!
Best of luck on your pumping journey, mama! It is a wonderful thing you are doing for your babe!