I return to work in 2 weeks and I will be pumping daily to provide milk for my son to have at daycare. My ultimate goal is to provide breastmilk for each of his feedings. Here are a few tips from my previous experience pumping at work.
1. Buy the expensive pump. It is worth it! With my daughter, I had the cheap pump. I ended up replacing it once because it just stopped working and it was never as efficient as I would have liked. Now I have the $250 Medela pump and I love it! I get as much breastmilk in 5 minutes with this pump as I did in 20 minutes with my cheap pump.
2. Talk with your boss. Find a private place to pump where you will not be disturbed. I pumped in my classroom but since multiple people had keys, I still had people unlock the door and walk in on me every once in a while, even with a DO NOT DISTURB sign on the door. If you're nervous or worried about people walking in on you, you will probably not produce as much milk and the experience will not be pleasant for you. That's why it's important to try to find a place where you are least likely to be disturbed. Many states have laws that require employers to provide a place and time for you to pump. Check with your state laws to find out.
3. Pump a lot before you return to work. I currently pump at least once a day. I have 25-30 bags of breastmilk in my freezer. I occasionally use these if I need to run an errand and the baby will need a bottle while I'm away but I am saving most of them for my return to work. That way, if I find that I am not able to pump enough to satisfy baby's needs, I can pull from my frozen stash.
4. Pump on weekends. Continue to nurse baby as you normally would on weekends, but also pump. The more baby eats and the more you pump, the greater your milk production will be. I found that my milk production decreased when I returned to work but if you continue to nurse as usual when you are home and pump additionally on weekends, you will probably have a pretty good supply of milk.
5. Pump on one side while baby nurses on the other. I do this every single day first thing in the morning. Milk production is usually at it's greatest first thing in the morning, so I always allow my baby to eat on one side and pump on the other. I usually get 4-5 ounces each time I do this. When I return to work, I will probably do this in the evening, as well.
6. Pump when baby would normally eat, if possible. Unfortunately, my schedule does not allow me to do this. As a classroom teacher, the only time I can pump is during my lunch break. This means that I have approximately 20 minutes to eat my lunch and pump. I have to multi-task in order to do this. With my daughter, I was not able to produce enough milk using this method, so I highly suggest you pump at least twice a day, close to the time when baby would normally eat to keep milk production at a maximum.
7. Don't be afraid to supplement. If you are not able to produce enough milk for your baby through breastmilk, don't be afraid to supplement with formula. I really wanted my daughter to be strictly breastfed but I simple wasn't able to pump enough breastmilk for that to happen. She received 1 supplemental bottle of formula per day and I had to be okay with that. As much as I didn't really want her to have formula, she needed the nutrition.
Hopefully these tips were able to help you if you are returning to work soon. What tips do you have?