Reader Tina wanted advice on how to manage pumping at work. You know how I love to dole out advice. So, here are a few tips for the business lady lactator:
1. Invest in button down shirts. If you are a lady wearing an untucked button down shirt and carrying a black boxy shoulder bag, you’re a certified Type-A pumper. Not only can you get to the girls quickly, you don’t have to worry about messing up your hair or getting lipstick on your collar.
I know, I know. You love dresses. But if you are wearing a dress, each time you pump you get to sit in a cold room naked as coworkers and strangers loiter just beyond the door that you pray to all things holy you actually remembered to lock. When you wear a collared shirt, your boobs may be exposed and hooked to a machine, but at least you’ve got sleeves on.
The downside is that about 80% of the time, you’ll leave at least one button on the shirt unbuttoned. You’ll usually discover this right after you make some really smart and savvy comment in a meeting. You’ll cross your arms and sit back in your chair, basking in the business lady rockstar moment, when a colleague will turn to you and not-at-all whisper, “missed one!”
2. Pump in a room with a lock on the door. If you don’t feel relaxed and comfortable, your production could suffer. Or the anxiety of being walked in on may make you stop pumping all together. I don’t care if it is a closet, find a locked door. There’s really nothing worse than hearing approaching co-worker voices/footsteps when you are wearing this:
Although, it is a great pumping bra.
Just promise me you’ll never do this unless your are 100% positive there is no way some random guy from finance can accidentally walk in. The party cardi does you no favors here:
3. Block out time to pump on your office calendar. Create a re-occuring calendar appointment for how ever many times a day you need to pump. And don’t be discrete because no one respects a calendar block labeled “Hold.” Nothing says “unavailable for your pointless meeting about a meeting” like a one hour, color-coded block of time labeled “PUMPING.” Ain’t no body messin’ with that.
Confession: even after I stopped pumping at work, I kept the holds on my calendar. Those two hours a day were my most productive hours–milk or no milk.
4. Buy two pumps or borrow one from a friend. My friend Beth suggested this so I would not have to lug my pump through the DC Metro system twice a day. My friend Erin let me borrow her pump so that I could keep hers at work and leave mine at home. It was fabulous.
5. Do not skip lunch. Everyone respects a pregnant lady’s appetite–because if they don’t, she might punch them in the face–but no one seems to care that a breastfeeding momma needs to consume a ton of calories each day to produce milk.
When you’re already giving up two to three hours of your workday to pump, you may be tempted/pressured to skip lunch to make up for that time. DO NOT DO THAT. Your production will go down, and you’ll start stressing. And stress may slow your flow. Geez, lady. Just block off “FEEDING MYSELF SO I MAY FEED MY INFANT” on your schedule and track down the grilled cheese food truck already. I don’t care if you eat at your desk, just eat.
6. Beware the company fridge. I have traumatic memories of trotting up to the company fridge to proudly store the four ounces of liquid gold I managed to eek out, only to be greeted a colleague’s breastmilk keg. (sigh). I’d end up Sad Charlie Brown walking back to my desk twice a day.
Don’t be like I was. Be proud of the fact that you are creating food for your baby WHILE YOU ARE AT WORK. I know you’re an over achiever and what not, but every ounce of breastmilk is a gift! I’m proud of you. Be proud of yourself.
If you have other Type-A Pumping Tips to share, please add them in the comments!