Going back to work after having a baby is filled with a ton of emotions, especially for all you breastfeeding teachers who are nervous about how and where you are going to pump at work!
I was actually a teacher for a year and a half. I taught a phlebotomy course at a local school and it was seriously the most exhausting job I’ve ever had. I no longer work there, but I learned to have the utmost respect for teachers because holy wow, y’all put in some serious work. It saddens me that you work SO HARD and you run into some of the biggest barriers to pumping at work compared to other professions. All too often, I hear of teachers not being provided with an adequate space in overcrowded schools or not being given enough time to adequately pump. Breaks are few and far between, it can be difficult to get someone to get your class, and when do you even have time to pee with all that?!
To all the pumping teachers out there, this post for you. I reached out to our Facebook community and asked REAL teachers to give me allllll the tips and tricks.
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1. Correct Pump Parts
Setting yourself up for success includes making sure you have the right tools. In this case, your pump! You may be somewhat limited on what pump to get depending on your insurance or finances but you can make sure you’re using the correct flange. Did you know around 40% of women are not using the correct size? Not using the right size can lead to pain and discomfort and it can greatly impact your ability to express your milk and your milk supply. If you’re not sure, you can get a quick, same day pump fitting.
2. Have Extra Pump Parts
We’re all guilty of forgetting things and forgetting one piece at home could make it difficult or impossible to use. Some women keep extra parts or sometimes even an extra pump at work. If you don't have space for your extra pump parts at work, you could leave extras in your pump bag, too! Parts such as flanges, membranes, and tubes are often covered through your insurance as durable medical equipment so let them foot the bill!
3. Get a Car Adapter
If you can’t find enough time during your schedule to pump, you can add in extra sessions by buying a car adapter to plug your pump into. Make sure you have a hands-free pumping bra and you can pump out some of that magic milk on your way to and from work!
4. Reach Out to Your Union
If you are struggling with getting adequate time and space due to management, some women find going to their union helpful. While salaried teaching positions do not have the same federal protections for pumping at work that hourly positions have, it’s always helpful to have another person fighting for you in your corner. Just because the law isn’t on your side, it doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to fight for your breastfeeding goals.
5. Make it a Priority
This is one of my favorite pieces of advice. It may not sound like a lot, but you have to make it a priority if it’s something you want to do. Don’t cut your pumping session short or skip it altogether so you can get back to work at your desk. Not only are you dismissing your breastfeeding goals, your boobs could punish you with engorgement or even worse, mastitis. You're busy enough at is, don't add another problem to your plate. Nobody else will make it a priority, except for you. You deserve to accomplish your goal.
6. Make a Schedule
Make a schedule of when you’re taking breaks to pump and stick to it. Don’t just hope you have time or assume you’ll squeeze it in at different points in the day. This also helps with #6, making it a priority. It can also be helpful to notify others of your schedule. Some women make their pumping times known at work, reminding colleagues of when they will be unavailable, so to politely say DO NOT BOTHER ME WHILE I’M TOPLESS AND PUMPING. Ideally, your schedule will have you pumping as often as your baby eats while away.
7. Back to Work Workshop
Did you know there’s a whole online class that teaches you how to build your milk stash, master your breast pump, and even how to get your baby to take a bottle?! At Successful Breastfeeding, the back to work workshop includes all of this AND a pump fitting and text support with our lactation experts for the first two weeks back! Run into a problem during your first week? NOT A PROBLEM, because you’d have two lactation consultants in your back pocket! Because you deserve it, you can get the teacher appreciation special (ahem- that runs all year, not just during teacher appreciation week) for $30 off our workshop with 30 days of support. Get your Back to Work Teacher Special.
Now you have it, all of the best tips for breastfeeding teachers going back to work. I sincerely hope you have a good year and meet your breastfeeding goals.
Now it's time to hear from YOU!
I'd love to hear from you! Which of these tips did you find the most helpful? What else would you like other teachers to know?
Tell us now in the comments.
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My name is Kaitlyn and I'm one of the team members at Successful Breastfeeding. Before I had my son, I signed up for the prenatal class and got SO MUCH HELP as a client. Then I fell in love with the community, saw all of the moms and babies Successful Breastfeeding was able to help, and practically begged to work for them. Now I'm the keeper of the things, professional commiserater, AND working on becoming a certified lactation counselor. For real though, I love working for this company because I get to work from home, be with my son, AND help women with their breastfeeding journey. Get virtual breastfeeding support when you need it and your back to work support when it's time to go back. Your breastfeeding journey is the #1 priority here.
Kelly Maher, CLC, CLE
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