10 Easy Fixes for Pumping at Work

How to keep feeding Baby breast milk when maternity leave ends.
Pumping at work

Jeffrey Westbrook

You and your baby are in the breastfeeding groove, and you love the bonding each feeding brings. But your life is about to get a lot more hectic with a job in the mix. Whether you plan to express milk to feed your little one while you're at work or to maintain your supply, you'll soon be using a breast pump. When I was a new mom, I found it tricky to find the ideal spot and time to pump. What I craved were solutions, like these, to the perplexing situations pumping can present.

"There's no pumping room available where I work."
The Fix:
Talk to HR. Under the Affordable Care Act (part of the Fair Labor Standards Act), many employers must now give nursing moms a place to express milk and "reasonable" unpaid pumping breaks for one year after the birth of a child. This area can't be the bathroom, it should be available when you need it, and you should be shielded from view. If your office does have a lactation room, scope it out pre-baby. "I assumed that I could just go in and use our 'mothers' room' whenever," says Annie Grant, of Newburyport, Massachusetts. "But I had to be added to a special calendar, have my security badge re-coded to gain access, and schedule times with another woman. It worked out, but for a few hours, when I was bursting at the seams, I couldn't do what I needed to do."

"A pump is too expensive!"
The Fix:
Priced at $200 to $400, a high-quality electric pump is an investment, but it's still much less than the formula you'd buy if you weren't nursing, says Maeve Howett, Ph.D., R.N., a board-certified lactation consultant in Atlanta. Just one month of formula can run well over $200, more if you purchase the ready-to-feed kind. And a double electric pump allows you to efficiently pump both breasts at the same time, so you can express enough milk for a full feeding in 10 minutes. If you're making the purchase, check with your health insurance company; because of the new health-care law, your plan might cover all or part of the cost. Breast-feeding pumps and accessories can also be paid for with funds set aside in flexible spending accounts.

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