Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Mother Pumper

It's the end of an era. Yesterday, I pumped at work for the last time ever. It was exactly one year to the day from the first time I pumped at work - when I returned to the office at 2 months postpartum. Breastfeeding/pumping isn't the right choice for everyone, but I felt it was the right choice for me, and I am so thankful I work for a supportive employer.

For the first 10 months, I pumped 3x a day at work. That's right, every 3 hours I unplugged my computer, packed all my stuff up, and resigned myself to the milk room mother's closet mother's room, where I spent 20+ minutes attached to that noisy contraption. After Maddie turned 1, I slowly started to phase out pumping sessions. Finally, this week, she is moving up to the toddler classroom at daycare where they don't allow bottles. She was down to just one bottle in the afternoon anyway, which she hadn't always been finishing. So after a long holiday weekend with a wacky schedule, it seemed like a good time to just drop the bottle altogether, and therefore... drop the last pump!!! Three cheers for my newfound freedom from the pump!

After a year of pumping at work, I've learned a few helpful tips and tricks which I'd be happy to share!
  1. Getting out of the house in the morning with a newborn will likely take exponentially longer than it did pre-baby. To help with the struggle, do as much as possible the night before - including getting your pump bag ready. There are so many little pieces to remember, so while you're getting used to the process, use a checklist each night to make sure you have everything you will need to pump the next day.
  2. Speaking of those many little pump parts, I would highly recommend ordering a second (and maybe even third) set of parts. That way, you don't have to wash them every single night. If you're super lazy like me, you can just run the dishwasher every couple days!
  3. And speaking of washing the pump parts, you don't have to do it after every pump. During the day, just put the parts in a Ziploc bag and keep them in the fridge. Take them home at night and wash them then.
  4. Inevitably, you will forget a pump part one day. I learned that Target sells Medela brand parts, or if you have Amazon Prime, you could use Prime Now to get some delivered quickly. It's a great idea to store an extra set of parts in your desk to prevent the panic that is realizing you forgot something.
  5. A hands-free bra is an absolute must if you plan to do any sort of multi-tasking (i.e. work, conference call, facebook scrolling...). Forget it one day, and you'll be forever grateful for that magical garment.
  6. You can still wear dresses! For months I thought my wardrobe was limited to pants and skirts because the thought of pulling a dress all the way up and sitting nearly naked in a room at work made me quite uncomfortable. But hello, a slip! Just wear a slip under the dress! Problem solved.
  7. After your last pump, or if you need to leave early, be sure to take your milk with you rather than leaving it in the mother's room. When you're heading home to your sweet baby, the last thing you want to do is mess with packing up bottles and parts. This is especially key if you're sharing the mother's room with another pumping mom. When daycare calls to say little Maddie has a fever and a runny nose, you're going to want to race to the door. But if someone is in the mother's room, you may have to wait.
  8. It's OK to cry over spilled milk. It will happen, and it will make you so, so unexplainably angry. It may be an ounce or an entire bottle. Either way, you will want to throw things. And cry. Just blame the hormones and resolve to take your time and be more careful.
  9. Treat your pumping sessions like you would any other meeting at work. Block off time in your calendar for pumping and keep to it. Regular pumping is the best way to maintain your supply.
  10. And lastly, the pump is mean. Not only does it look like some sort of creepy torture device, it isn't very gentle either. I recommend Earth Mama Angel Baby's nipple butter to care for your sensitive milk-makers.
And there you have it. Pumping at work is totally doable if you so desire. I'm grateful for the many benefits Maddie and I received... but boy oh boy am I also glad it's over! :)