Not too long ago, it was almost unheard of for a mom to breastfeed and work full time. Formula feeding was the standard for working moms but now many moms are breastfeeding and working full time. Choosing to breastfeed no longer means sacrificing your career. Breast pumps are more affordable and easier to purchase. You can purchase a breast pump for as little as $40 that is suitable for using at work. With more and more women choosing to breastfeed and work, the tide is turning in the workplace. More companies are accommodating moms and even providing nursing stations for their employees to pump while at work (1a).
To figure out how much breast milk your baby needs multiply your baby’s weight times 3 oz. This will tell you approximately how much breast milk your baby needs over a 24-hour period. You can start pumping as soon as your milk comes in. You probably want to wait for a week or so until you are no longer producing colostrums. Don’t be surprised if the first time you pump you produce nothing or very little. Milk production works by supply and demand. It takes several days before your body will get the signal to make more milk for your pumping session. The best advice would be to pump around the same time each day, preferably in the morning when your body’s milk production is the best. Once you have been pumping consistently you should start to produce milk for your freezer stash (1b).
Before you return to work you should talk to your employer and tour your workplace. You will want to have a place where you can pump that is clean and private. Talk to your employer about possibly places that you can pump. Be confident and don’t worry about what your boss will think. Most of the time this is no big deal. You may spend time unnecessarily worrying about this and your boss may not think anything about it. Usually this goes over better than expected. Sometimes moms settle for pumping in the bathroom without even having a conversation with their employer. Pumping in the bathroom is not a good solution. Once you have found a few options for places to pump talk it over with your employer and see how it goes. If for some reason your direct supervisor is not cooperative, check with your company’s human resource manager or state labor department for options. Most employers are cooperative with breastfeeding moms (1c).