Tips for pumping breast milk at work
When you need to pump, you’ve got to pump! Not only will this alleviate your own personal discomfort throughout the day, your baby’s needs must come above anyone else. My advice would be to first speak to your line manager or HR person to find out how this can be managed at work. You could suggest that you could split your lunch hour during the day (i.e. take two half-hour breaks at the times when you physically need to pump around the times that are less busy for the team). You can then prepare your body for this change by pumping at home at these times. Your body will get used to it so that it fits in around your place of work. If you do get any other breaks outside of your lunch hour, grab the pump, go to your private space and pump when you can.
Pack a lunch before you leave each day so you don’t need to spend any time actually going out to buy your lunch – this will give you more time to pump while you eat which may not be ideal, but you are trying to work around everyone to make it less difficult for you in the long run.
You could also pump more at the weekends. It will keep your milk production high and you can also store more milk away.
There is always the option of getting up an hour earlier each morning and pumping at home before you leave each day.
Whatever you decide to do, definitely invest in a pumping bra. Having a hands free pumping bra will enable you to quickly set it up and eat your lunch without any difficulties.
How to store it
When storing it at work, if there is a fridge use it. You can place the bottles inside a container and place it in a plastic bag. Put your name on a label and no one will open it. If there is no fridge, freeze a couple of small bottles of water, buy a cooler bag and place the bottles and one or two small frozen bottles of water in the bag. It should keep it chilled for the day.
Breastfeeding a work policy
When a breastfeeding mum returns to work, she should give her employer notification in writing that she is breastfeeding. The employer should then conduct a specific risk assessment. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recommends employers provide a safe, private and healthy environment for breastfeeding mothers to express and store breast milk. A toilet is not a suitable place to express breast milk. For more guidance, click here.
US Federal law requires employers to provide reasonable break times for employees to express breast milk for one year after the baby’s birth (Section 7 of the FLSA). Employers are required to provide a private suitable place (not a bathroom). Click here for more guidance.