9 Hacks For Breastfeeding Working Mums

It's time to get organised...

You're going back to work. Your maternity leave is officially over. If you're planning on being a breastfeeding working mum, take a bow. Hats off to you. You are truly winning, whether it feels like it or not. Going back to work after you've had a baby is tough enough, but pumping while you're at it? You're a hero.

I worked through my maternity leave, but I was also lucky enough to work from home, so I was hooking up to my hospital-grade Medela pump pretty much around the clock. It sat beside my desk all day, plugged in, ready to groan... (It's funny how you'll never forget that sound!)

Make Sure Your Baby Takes A Bottle By 2 Weeks

The Blissful Baby Expert Lisa Clegg recommends getting your baby used to taking a bottle within the first two weeks after birth. This is because leaving it any later than that can risk nipple confusion and bottle refusal.

Some new mums worry about the prospect of introducing a bottle early, but Clegg reassures us that "a breastfed baby will never prefer a bottle rather than the breast, and will certainly never go off the breast completely." Not only does the odd bottle feed allow dads and older siblings to get involved, it means once you do have to go back to work, you'll already have found yourself in a good pumping routine.

Choosing A Pump

Hopefully, if you're returning to work and planning on breastfeeding and pumping, you can invest in something more discreet than Medela's hospital finest. There are many hand pumps on the market, and of course, the Elvie electric breast pump and now Medela's new Freestyle Hands Free pump are well worth a look, too, depending on your budget.

Once you've chosen your pump, ensure you're fully acquainted with it before returning to work. I had to order different funnel sizes, as I could never seem to get the right fit - too much nipple sucked down the hole, or not enough... ouch.

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Invest In A New Backpack

Breastfeeding working mums will need a decent backpack to stash their pump, storage bags and a stay-cool insulated lunchbox to keep milk fresh and safe on the commute. You might also need to bring a charger or batteries, depending on the pump you choose.

Speak To Your Boss

Have that conversation about when you'll need to pump and where you can do it before your first day back to reduce those first-day nerves. You'll want a quiet, private space where you won't be interrupted. Don't forget - if you're using the Elvie, you can do it anywhere, even at your desk or on the train, and if you're commuting, this option may well be worth the investment.

Think About Your Bra and Your Clothes

A nursing bra and easy-access top are a must if you're pumping at work. You'll want to ensure easy and discreet access at all times. I preferred wearing a padded nursing bra to protect against any surprise leaks.

Set Your Alarm

Being back at work will feel overwhelming at first, and you'll need to get into a routine of pumping at work. Don’t forget to set your alarm to remind you when you need to pump. Plan meetings around pump times so you can pump without the panic!

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Pack Snacks and Plenty Of Water

Breastfeeding is hungry and thirsty work, so make sure you’ve packed lots of healthy snacks to keep up your energy levels.

Think nuts, dried fruit, hard-boiled eggs, apples with peanut butter, dark choc and raspberries - all these are ideal quick and nourishing snacks that will help you maintain your milk supply without causing unnecessary sugar highs.

Work From Home

Working from home and hybrid working has become much more acceptable since Covid, so do have this conversation with your boss and find out what's possible to make life easier. And find out about flexible working as soon as you can so you can be prepared and make plans accordingly.

Don't Be Too Hard On Yourself

Being a mum is hard. Being a working mum is really hard. Being a working breastfeeding mum is really, really hard. You're doing great.

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