You really can have it all" was definitely something said by a man.
That being said, it really can be possible to return to work, pump and still breastfeed your baby, it just takes mastering this art so you don't drive yourself crazy.
I'm sharing a couple of tips I learned both as a working and pumping mama, as well as a doula who has worked with mamas to make their goals a reality.
Tip 1 - Invest in Mobility
At some point, you're going to find yourself in a position where you need to pump and there are no outlets available. It will happen, but if you're prepared, this event will be a lot less stressful.
You can prepare to be outlet-less in one of three ways: purchase a pump that is chargeable and doesn't require an outlet to run, invest in a car adapter, or buy a quality hand pump you feel comfortable with.
Knowing you have a back-up option will do wonders if you need to pump in an odd location, are out and about, need to pump in the car or just forgot your plug-in at home.
Tip 2 - Make Your Pump Pieces Work Overtime
I'm a firm believer in in life-hacking my way to success, so I'm a big fan in using your pump pieces in multiple ways.
No one wants to spill their freshly pumped breastmilk, it's definitely something worth crying over. Instead, use your flange as a funnel when combing your breastmilk into one bottle. You can also use the flange to help funnel milk into your pumping bags as well, not wasting a single drop.
If you forgot your ice pack, use one of your pumping bottles or bags as a make-shift option. Fill a bottle or bag with cold water or ice to help get you through until you get home.
Tip 3 - Avoid Unnecessary Cleaning
First, rope your partner into cleaning pieces. You're already doing the legwork taking up to an hour and a half each day to pump, get them involved by having them clean and sanitize your pieces at the end of the day.
Don't want to wash your pump pieces at work in-between pumps? Place your pieces in a gallon bag, then into a lunch box and place them in the fridge. This tactic helps you avoid that awkward moment in the office kitchen and can keeps your pieces sanitary. Plus the cool pieces feel wonderful when pumping.
Being a working and pumping mom is hard work! My last tip is a big one: be kind to yourself.
Remember you're doing a really great job providing for your family in more ways than one.
Try to move on from spilled milk. Don't start measuring your worth by how much you pump. Remember your baby loves you and is thankful for what you're doing.
Need additional support? I offer breastfeeding support to moms in Minneapolis, St. Paul and the greater Twin Cities area. Learn more about my Working Mom Wellness & Success Support package for some extra help.