It feels like I am constantly pumping at work to keep up my milk supply and meet Mason's needs. I technically need to pump 3 times a day while I am at work for at least 20 minutes each session to produce about 15oz of breastmilk and even then I still need to supplement his bottles with about 6 oz of formula to meet his 21oz daily requirement. It honestly feels like every second I turn around, I need to pump again - some days I feel like I get nothing done and the days I only pump twice I feel like a horrible mother with more guilt on my shoulders than I can handle.
The act of pumping at work is insane. I go into this little room, strip off the top half of my clothes, hook up to all the gadgets (which seriously needs to be revamped completely - I should be able to push a button at my desk and be pumping by now), then sit there as milk is pumped vigorously out of my body. The fact that I take my shirt off in any form at work is completely inappropriate to begin with, add on top of that expressing milk and storing it in a bag at my desk, even weirder. I have put together some of the best advice I received for pumping at work and that I strictly abide by:
- Don't wear a dress to work - just think about it for a moment - very unpleasant situation.
- Always lock the door to the pumping room.
- Keep your expressed milk in bottles in a cooler (LOVE this little Medela cooler) that you carry around and leave at your desk in your pump bag, leaving milk in the fridge in the pumping room could involve you leaving later than planned if someone is in the pumping room when you are trying to go home. Also leaving milk in the community fridge just seems completely crazy to me and to "out in the open" for my comfort zone..
- Always carry some extra milk bags in case you forget bottles or the caps to the bottles which I always forget somehow.
- Store your pump parts in a mesh bag (I use this one) since they are wet due to being cleaned after each use.
- Buy pumping bras that you wear all day - this has been amazing. Actual bras built for pumping, not that bandeau thing that would require you to also take off your bra as well each time you pump (love this one by Rumina)
- Bring a cardigan or hoodie to wear to cover up everything else while you are pumping to keep warm and to feel a little more covered up while pumping.
Pumping at work is tough and nearly impossible to keep up with. Just make it a priority and you will get into a schedule in no time. Also don't worry if you miss a pump, just try not to miss it 2 days in a row or you will see your milk supply drop as well. I have been taking a lactation boost supplement from Honest Company the past week or so which has seemed to help a little. Hopefully you work at an office that provides adequate if not decent pumping rooms to help make the experience a little easier to bear. It never fails though, that I come home each day with less milk than planned. I hear about women with stock piles of milk in their freezers and that is definitely not me, I barely have 5 oz extra at any given time - if there is an emergency, I'm screwed...