Returning to work after having your baby can be a mixed bag of feelings. On the one hand, no one can blame you for feeling a little excited about the prospect of spending time with adults. On the other, you’re definitely going to miss that little bundle of joy while you’re away. If you’re breastfeeding, it can be even more daunting and more emotional. How do you find time during the workday to pump? Will your colleagues be supportive?
Don’t worry. We’ve been there ourselves, and we have five tips that will help you make the transition smoothly.
Know your rights
Thanks to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), most employers are required to provide reasonable break time for nursing mothers to express breast milk. They must also provide a private space that is not a bathroom in which employees can express milk at their discretion. There are some exemptions, which leads to our next tip.
Know your workplace pumping policies
Some workplaces are exempt from the Break Time For Nursing Mothers law. For example, if your workplace has fewer than fifty employees and they can show that following the law would create an undue hardship, they do not have to provide nursing breaks. Talk to your employer early to learn their pumping policies. If they don’t have policies yet, work with them to establish expectations before you return to work.
Prepare ahead of time
Pumping at work is much more common than it once was, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to walk right into the first day without a plan in place. Don’t wait until the last minute. Get all your ducks in a row and your supplies gathered together a month or two before you go back. That gives you plenty of time to check and double-check to make sure you’ve got everything you need, including flanges and freezer bags. Around the same time, start building up a stash of frozen breast milk to make sure you’ve got backup if your first few weeks are more hectic than you anticipated.
Start practicing now
Part of being prepared is practicing, so start pumping a month or more before you go back to work to get the hang of it. Then, practice pumping in your work clothes to make sure you’re at ease when you return to the workplace.
Pick a pump that works for workplaces
The right breast pump makes all the difference when it comes to returning to work, and one of our personal favorites is also covered by insurance. The Elvie Stride was created by working mothers to work for working mothers. The hands-free bra is worn under clothing and collects milk in-bra, plus it’s ultra-quiet, which makes it super discreet. You can literally pump at your desk on in the cab of a truck with the Stride! That makes returning to work so much easier.
If you’re a mom trying to balance work with nursing, the working moms at Milk N Mamas Baby are on your side. Never hesitate to reach out to us if you need a little extra support and encouragement.