Are you planning to pump at work? If so, I’m sure you’ve done your research and have learned about ways to keep your milk supply up, what pump to use, and all the supplies you’ll need. But when you're managing work, babies, and all the things, it's more important to look at ways to keep yourself sane during this time.
I want to give you 7 tips to increase your satisfaction and decrease the stress (those that are much less obvious) as a working-nursing mom and how to make the MOST out of this challenging journey.
Don’t obsess over milk supply fluctuations.
The number one thing you’ll worry about is your milk supply. No doubt. When you have visibility into how much your pumping each day, you’ll naturally catch yourself watching trends… pumping more or less than the previous day. While it’s important to be in-tune with your body and pay attention to things that may be causing your supply to take drastically decrease, don’t become obsessed with some fluctuation. It’s more important to take care of yourself, your mental health and make sure you are keeping yourself healthy.
Place pumping “holds” on your calendar (and NEVER move them).
Just like your hair appointments are non-negotiable, same goes for pumping “appointments”. Set three-30 minutes holds on my work calendar each day (or however many sessions you’ll need) and make it known to your colleagues that these are NOT to be booked over. Same goes for back to back meetings — if it’s time to pump, but you’re stuck in a meeting, WALK OUT. Set expectations with your supervisor / colleagues ahead of time that pumping is a priority.
Keep your expectations LOW.
Pumping at work is an experience. See it as that and know that it will be challenging, you will learn a lot, and it’s only a short period of time in the bigger picture. Walk into this part of your journey with the expectation that it will probably be hard. you are about to launch into something that can definitely being wearing –both physically and emotionally. Embrace this part of your journey, because in the grand scheme of things, it’s very short.
Nursing wardrobe sucks — don’t feel obligated to wear it.
Just because you’re a nursing mom doesn’t mean you can’t wear normal clothes. Sure, it might be awkward if you’re wearing a dress while nursing, but you’re the only one who’s going to see (hopefully). If there’s any time or place that you can start feeling more like yourself again, take the opportunity! And wearing clothes that make you feel great is no exception!
Use pumping sessions as a time to slow down.
Your work day is probably already busy enough, and throwing pumping sessions on top of that has you running around like a crazed women. It’s important to use these times to decompress. Listen to music, chat with your spouse, or watch an inspiring video — but whatever you do, DON’T work! Since you can’t be with your baby, honor this time as the next best thing.
It helps to have things organized (obviously). Get yourself bags and containers that fit well together so you can carry all your pumping accessories and milk in an effective and efficient manner. Keep one big that can hold smaller bags with all your pumping “stuff” including a separate cooler for milk. This eliminates the needs to carry (and possibly forget) a bunch of different bags. Total life-saver.
Listen up, sister. You are doing something that is NOT for the faint of heart. Give yourself a HUGE pat on the back for at least giving this a try. It’s important to celebrate the wins in mom-hood and milking yourself in a professional setting is DEFINITELY a WIN!