You've heard it before: "Breast is best." And most moms agree.
In fact, 74 percent breastfeed their baby initially. But if you
plan to return to work, keeping it up by using a breast pump can be
tricky. Statistics bear that out: Only 43 percent of moms still
nurse or pump by the time their child is 6 months old (50 percent
is the goal, according to Healthy People 2010, the government's
Only 21 percent of moms make it to the year
Having a supportive workplace helps make pumping at work
easier. But that's only the beginning. Read on for more tricks from
moms who've been there and other expert advice that can prime you
for pumping success.
Pumping and working can be challenging, but if you dwell on the
negative, you'll talk yourself out of it. And don't feel guilty
either for being away from your desk. "Most smokers are taking more
breaks than I do," says Hillary Bates, the mom of a 6-month-old,
who has been pumping at work for four months.
"Buy the best, most powerful double pump you can afford. Without
the right equipment, you're almost doomed to fail," says Jeanmarie
Ferrara, the mother of a 10-month-old daughter. Single pumping can
take up to three times as long as double pumping. Pump in a room
with a lock on the door. You'll need privacy to relax. It's a
"Use pumping time to catch up on e-mails or do light
reading so you can keep working, too," says new mom Tracy Baldwin.
"But don't pump while you're on the phone with co-workers. It puts
them in an awkward position: 'What's that noise?'"
A photo of your baby is nice, "but it's the smell that tricks
your body into thinking your baby is nearby, which can help with
let-down," says Dr. Miriam H. Labbok, director of the Center for
Infant and Young Child Feeding and Care at The University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Keep plenty of ice packs on hand or get a small refrigerator for
your office to keep milk cold (and safe for your baby to
consume). And store pump parts properly, too. To play it
safe, if you don't have time to wash breast pump parts between
sessions during the day with soap and water, put them unwashed in a
closed plastic bag such as a Ziploc and store them in the small
refrigerator or in the office fridge in something that isn't
see-through, such as a brown paper bag or a lunch bag if you want
to keep things private. Refrigeration will help prevent the pumping
parts from becoming a bacteria breeding ground.
See more of Sandra's stories here.
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