At Tommee Tippee, we understand that the idea of juggling your job as well as expressing breastmilk at work is something that feels daunting to most new moms.
But with many moms choosing to continue their breastfeeding journey when they return to work, it’s both commonplace and very manageable with the right preparation and support.
Yes, I did just say breast
Have a conversation with your line manager before you return to work to let them know that you intend to express during the working day. It’s likely that you’ll be following in the footsteps of others before you, so it will just be a case of agreeing how it will work for you and your specific role. Your employer should do everything in their power to help. Be ready to offer ideas on how to make it work and explain what you will need.
Are you sitting comfortably?
You will need somewhere clean, warm, and private to express with a comfortable chair. A bathroom is not a suitable place.
Some workplaces may have a dedicated expressing or wellness room, but if this is not the case you may need to be creative e.g., an empty meeting room or office where you can put a sign on the door. It should have an electric outlet for your breast pump if needed, and a clean surface for you to lay out your equipment. You will also need washing facilities nearby so you can clean your hands and your pump.
Keep it cool
The ideal expressing area should have a refrigerator so you can store your breastmilk until you go home. If this is not possible, then you can either store it in a shared refrigerator elsewhere in the building or, if you prefer, in a cooler with ice packs.
Don't cry over spilt milk
Expressing straight into pre-sterilised pouches means there is no need to decant and less risk of spilling your milk. These are also super handy for passing over to your caregiver.
Your personal expressing timetable
You’ll need to express as often as your baby feeds – ideally that’s 2-3 times in the working day. With each session probably taking around 30 minutes, including prep, you might like to think about ways to fit these in. Some moms use authorised breaks, others come in early and stay a little late. Some even take work with them… the ultimate lesson in multi-tasking!
Connect with others
Chances are you won’t be the only nursing mom in your workplace! Seek out others and share experiences, tips, even expressing sessions if you’d like the company.
It may feel strange to begin with, but you’ll soon get into the swing of things and will be an expressing-pro in no time.
Finally, here are some top tips from moms who have already got their ‘expressing-at-work pro’ badges!
"At work, double up on the pump parts that need to be washed. That way, when you're in a rush, you'll have backups for your next session."
"Protect expressing time by blocking it off on your schedule."
"Accidents will happen. Laugh them off."
"Keep photos of your baby in your expressing bag to help stimulate milk production. Or watch a video of your baby on your phone."