I went back to work when my son was about 3 months old. It was very difficult transition for me so I wanted to share some tips that I wish I’d known before going back to work. These tips are all about breast pumping and making life easier.
I didn’t want people to know how difficult it was for me to return to work, actually. I felt my son was so little and I was really enjoying our time. But finances dictated that I return to work. If I had it my way I would have stayed home with him for at least 6 months, and a year would have been even better!
Sometimes returning to work is a personal choice. Some moms are ready to get back to work sooner than others. I really enjoyed motherhood and felt it was something that came very natural to me. I realize that I’m blessed to feel this way, because it can be more challenging for other people.
Even so I had challenges of my own. After returning to work I started pumping. It wasn’t something I did a lot until I returned to work. So today I wanted to talk about a couple of tips that are related mostly to pumping that I wish I would have known. So here goes!
- Build up a freezer stock before returning to work. As I said I didn’t make much freezer stocks because I didn’t do much pumping before I returned to work. This made any kind of change in my production a little bit more stressful for me personally. Had I had a bigger freezer stock I think I would have felt a little more at ease. Also, having a freezer stash could mean that my husband and I could go on a date and I would have something for him at home. Not having much in the freezer made me feel a little bit like I couldn’t leave him, even if I wanted to, for a few hours.
- Get extra pump parts and have a back up at work! No matter how on top of it you feel there will be the day when you forget to bring one piece of your pumping equipment to work. This happened to me when I had forgotten to get the little silicone seals. Hey pretty much rendered my pump useless. Lucky for me the local Target did sell these pieces and in fact you can find breast pump parts at local stores. But it was a huge disruption for my day. From that point forward I packed one complete extra set of pumping materials left it at my desk drawer at work. I will tell you several times I have needed to use my backup kit.
- Don’t wash your pump parts with soap and water each and every time. This was something I did when I first started returning to work. One it was a little awkward because we have a community kitchen and here I am washing my pump parts and inevitably someone would come into the kitchen. I got a few awkward comments and after that I was done! You can simply rinse with water or better yet, just wrap them up in a cloth and put them in a ziplock bag and stick them in the fridge. This is what I ended up doing. This way I’d just clean them at home in the privacy of my own kitchen without awkward comments.
- Do yourself a favor and get enough bottles. When I first started my pumping routine I had only six bottles. It might sound like a lot but I was providing three or four to daycare each day. So I was constantly washing dishes every single night. It got overwhelming I spent all this time just watching these specific dishes. I eventually ended up getting nine bottles. I was sending three a day to daycare. This rotation worked for me because I could put them in the dishwasher and with all the home cooking I regularly did we were running a dishwasher every 2 to 3 days. I always had clean bottles and I didn’t have to stress about hand washing each and every time.
- Experiment with the breast shields. I thought I found the size that works for me, but when a girlfriend of mine gave me her old pump parts because she wasn’t using them anymore I found a much better fit. Not only was it more comfortable but I actually was much more efficient at pumping. It took less time. That was a relief! Since I was pumping three times a day, anything to make those sessions shorter for me was beneficial.