4 Tips On How To Pump Milk While At Work & Breast Milk Storage
I have been contemplating on how I was able to survive 15 months of breastfeeding and I believe I need to share this beautiful journey to other Moms out there especially those who’ve been struggling.
Before giving birth, you’ll hear lots of stories from other Moms who have been there. You would hear stories of success, difficulties and challenges, how fulfilling as a Mother to be able to provide the best for your child. At first, you would think that it’s just a piece of cake but once you’ve experienced it on your own, you would know that breastfeeding is not only giving the best nourishment for your child but a SACRIFICE that Moms are willing to take just to give the best.
When I gave birth, my goal is to just last up until 6 months as recommended by my OB GYN and I’m very grateful that circumstances allowed be to breastfeed for longer than 6 months until now.
Maternity leave is only for three months and I need to cherish every single moment I had with my son before going back to work. I didn’t stock up on milk early on and I only started on my second month postpartum.
The day before I went back to work, it was extremely hard. Aside from feeling sad and regretful of not being with my son on a daily basis, I was worried that I might not be able to produce enough milk. I will be away from my son for approximately twelve to thirteen hours a day and not being able to latch from me is one factor of decreasing milk. Also, I fear that my son will not latch on me again because he will be accustomed with cups and bottles instead of my breasts. It was an emotional roller-coaster that day but thank God for my husband and other members of the family who has been such great support. They encouraged and assured me that everything will be alright.
I was able to practice this in the workplace for a month before the lockdown happened. At first, it was difficult and as a Filipino trait, I felt like a burden to the team but I’m blessed to have supportive teammates who never made it an issue. Here’s what I did to make it easy for me and for the rest of the team.
Disclaimer: The things that worked-out for me might not be applicable for the other Working Moms out there and there’s also the pandemic which has been a blessing in my breastfeeding journey.
1. REMOVE STRESS FROM THE EQUATION
What I learned from the seminars and research is that we shouldn’t stress out whether we have enough milk for our children. Breastmilk adjusts to the needs of the baby. Even if they don’t directly latch on us, through pumping, our body will understand that more milk should be produced. In addition, try to avoid work stress as it will greatly affect your supply. It will be hard but whenever I felt stressed, I just go on a mini-break and do video calls on my son or watch the videos of him to have a better mood. Work stress will never go away, it’s how we manage it.
2. HAVE A PUMPING PLAN BEFORE YOU GO BACK TO WORK
Do research. Check whether your office has a breastfeeding station. If none, look for places where you can pump. Utilize the allowed pumping time or if not, assert your right as mandated by our law (The Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act). Prepare your pumping & cleaning materials beforehand. Research on the shelf life of our breastmilk and a whole lot more information that can help you in this journey.
3. IT IS BEST TO SCHEDULE YOUR PUMPING SESSION DURING BREAKS OR DOWNTIMES.
So that I wouldn’t be a burden to the team, I made sure to schedule my pumping session during breaks and downtimes. My shift starts at 8:30 and ends at 5:30. I would usually pump by 11:45 am or 1 pm and 4:30 or 5 pm whichever is more convenient. If ever I needed to attend meetings during this time, I would just adjust my hours before or after my meeting. It wouldn’t hurt to wait for a little while. But never squeeze it to just one pumping session within 12-13 hours because your breasts will definitely hurt and your milk supply will decrease significantly. However, this will still depend on your working conditions and what I did might not be applicable to you.
4. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH PEOPLE WHO SUPPORT AND ENCOURAGE YOU
People who support and encourage you are the best motivation you can have when you’re having a difficult time or when you feel like you want to give up. They will push you, remind you that what you’re doing is beautiful and beneficial to your child and to you as well. They will help you overcome whatever challenge you might face and they will give you confidence that you can still exclusively breastfeed your child while working.
Sadly, for a lot of Working Moms, there’s this invisible war whether to continue breastfeeding or not. This is because of a lot of factors such as purchasing expensive pumping materials (especially for first time Moms), work conditions and the physical and psychological aspects of it. It is definitely nerve-wracking to think of going back to work and leave your baby behind but it’s more stressful adding the responsibility of breastfeeding which is why a lot of Moms decide to stop and use alternatives instead. It’s sad that most Moms have no choice but I believe that every Mom should have the opportunity to give their best for their angels.
My ultimate wish is that all employers would recognize that breastfeeding has a vital role in the child’s development and that they can empower women in the workforce by protecting their rights, providing their needs and encouraging them by having flexible work arrangement. It would also be great if employers would raise awareness to lessen discrimination on breastfeeding Working Moms within the workplace and give a stress-free working environment for them.
Milk & Mommy is equipped in supporting working mom and their tools for breastfeeding.
This Pump & Bag Set is sure to help you organized your pumping while at work.
Here's another article that has great tips as well. Just Click HERE