Updated: Nov 18, 2020
It's hard to believe how fast 8 weeks can fly by. That's how much time I was able to spend with my baby girl during my maternity leave. I'm not going to lie, the week before I dreaded the idea of leaving my baby for 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week, 160+ hours a month, 2000+ hours a year....
Ok. Ok. Ok. I know. I need to stop doing math. I mean its not even my thing, yet I found my self counting the hours I would be away from my baby girl.
That final week, I just had to slow myself down and enjoy the waking hours I had to spend with my daughter. But I also had to start planning what life was going to be like once I returned to work. So many questions ran through my head:
- Will I be able to produce enough milk for her while I am away?
- Will work be ok with me pumping during the day?
- Will she still want to nurse when I am with her?
- Will she remember me and know I am her mom?
Alright, the last question was extreme - I know. But I am sure every working mom has had that thought. But I always reminded myself this: So many moms before me had babies and worked and they were able to provide and their children always know who is there mother.
Once I got my mind straight that being a working mom is possible, I started to pack my pump bag to prepare for the work week:
Take a look into my working mom pump bag:
✅Pump tubes (2)
✅All parts to the pump shield (some pumps have on part, some have two)
✅Bottles for 2-3 sessions (4 - 8 bottles total)
✅Backup milk storage bags (I never pumped enough to use the bags, but I always keep them in my bag in case I forgot bottles.)
✅Pump wipes (I use the Medela brand.)
✅Bag for pump shield (after each pump I put the shields in the bag to keep them in the fridge in between sessions. This is a good solution if you don't have a sink to wash them after every session and are only able to wipe them out with the pump wipes and flush it with water.)
✅Pump bra (this is a must have if you want to multi-task at the office --> pump and work at the same time.)
✅Manual hand pump (you’ll be happy you have this in case you ever forget a pump part and don’t have time to go home.)
✅Ice pack and bottle bag for storage and transportation.
✅Nipple cream (I used it in the beginning, but not so much after 1 month of pumping unless I had a clogged duct and your ta-ta's got sore.)
✅Snacks (I always keep nuts or granola bar in my bag for a snack during each pump session. Its good to eat a little something when you are pumping.)
✅Water bottle (hydration is a super important to help keep your milk supply up.)
✅A picture of my baby (having a picture of her with me would lift my spirits when I was down or missed her. I would also run a slideshow of my daughter on my cell phone while pumping.)
Here is a sneak peak at my survival guide to pumping:
Block out 30min on your calendar as a reoccurring meeting every day. Do this on day 1 when you return from your maternity leave. Try not to skip pump sessions and try not to push them far back (especially in the beginning) to avoid getting a clogged duct (this happened to me 2x when I skipped my sessions).
My little one stayed home with my husband in the beginning, so I would FaceTime him from time to time to say hi to my little girl. Seeing your baby can help give your milk flow a boost.
When you are finished your pump session, wipe down the shield parts with the pump wipes. I didn't have access to a sink, so I would flush it out with water from my water bottle into the trash can. And then I would put the parts in the fridge so they are ready for the next use.
ere is a look into my working mom schedule:
In the beginning I would nurse my little one at 4:00 AM and then at 7:30 AM before I left.
By 7 months she started to sleep in, so I would pump at 6:30 AM and nurse her for 10min at 8:00 AM.
At 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM I would pump for 30 minutes in the mothers pump room at the office. During this time I would always work while pumping, thanks to the magic of a pump bra!
I would leave the office around 5:00 PM and would nurse my little one at 5:30 PM, 7:45 PM and sometimes in the middle of the night when she was older.
It sounds like a lot, but once you get into your groove the routine will be set and it will become a regular part of your day and not a chore.
My BIGGEST advice to new working mom's is to always double check your pump bag and check list!