How to Pump When You're Back at Work

Planning on breastfeeding when you go back to work? Here's how to fit the whole pumping thing into your already busy schedule.
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Updated June 11, 2018
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Breast pumps are pretty cool inventions. They keep the milk flowing, allowing you to maintain your milk supply and feed baby if you aren’t at home. Keep in mind, however, that pumps aren’t perfect. Some women have an easy time pumping, while others find it pretty challenging. For this reason, you’ll want to give your pump a test run before you head back to work, suggests Andi Silverman, author of Mama Knows Breast. Know how to set it up, clean the parts and store your milk.

If you’re going back full-time, buy an electric pump that does both breasts at the same. This speeds up the whole process. And if you want to multi-task while you’re pumping, buy a hands-free pumping bra. Just tuck the cups into the bra, turn the pump on and get right back to your email.

In an ideal situation, you would pump at work at the same times of day that baby eats. That way you’ll have a consistent supply for him or her when you aren’t home. You should also pump any time you feel your breasts are very full or engorged. This will help prevent blocked duct or infection.

If you don’t have a lot of control over your work schedule, do the best you can. It can help to tell your employer that you need to pump and that you need a private place to do so. Also, keep it simple: Leave your pump at work if you can, and just tote a cooler of pumped milk home at the end of the day.

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