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Preparing for pumping at work: quick tips

Many women are successful at continuing to breastfeed their baby after returning to work after their maternity leave. With today’s breast pumps, you can continue giving your baby breastmilk for as long as you desire. Take a few moments to plan ahead and when you’re ready to return to work, you’ll have a process ready and waiting for you. The lactation specialists at Northpoint Pediatrics have three key tips for pumping at work:

Mom and baby smiling

1. Plan ahead with your employer.

There are some things you can do before you even have the baby to make the transition as smooth as possible when you return. First, schedule a meeting with your immediate boss. Ask if there is a policy in place for pumping at work. If not, ask your boss if you can develop one.

Try to find out if other women in your workplace have pumped before and talk to them about their accommodations. Think through your entire work day and schedule planned times for pumping breaks. Determine where you can pump and make sure the area has everything you need. Present all details clearly and simply so that everything is in place before you start your maternity leave.
Concerned about resistance at work? Be prepared with knowledge about lactation laws and provisions from the Affordable Care Act.
  • Learn more details in this article from the American Academy of Pediatrics: Returning to Work and Breastfeeding
  • The Department of Labor states that the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) requires employers to provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for one year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express the milk. Employers are also required to provide 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. Read the full description and additional supporting documents from the DOL.
Manual breast pump supplies

2. Determine where you can pump at work.

You and your employer will need to talk about how and where your workplace can accommodate your breastfeeding needs. Plan ahead based on the space provided. If you don’t have access to a refrigerator you can place the expressed milk in a cooler with ice packs and put it in the fridge or freezer as soon as you get home. If you don’t have access to a sink, you can clean the parts at home.

3. Make the most of your pumping time.

With a heavy duty, double electric pump you’ll need 15-20 minutes to pump both breasts every 3-4 hours to maintain supply. Bring a picture of your baby to look at and help stimulate your milk flow. Use hand expression and breast massage to get more milk moving. Be patient! It can take some time to find the combination and methods that work best for you and your milk flow but it is possible!
Lactation services from Northpoint
All Northpoint Pediatrics parents have access to our lactation services including a post-hospital newborn comprehensive visit with lactation evaluation and feeding observation. We also offer lactation appointments for moms whenever they have concerns.

Learn more about our lactation support services

Check out our app NP PEDS MD for further information and home care advice.

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Baby girl with pony tail in white