5 Ways to Prepare for Pumping Before the Baby Arrives

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Image adapted via iStock

The last few weeks of pregnancy are a flurry of activity. There's the folding of little clothes and the sorting of little socks, the stacking the diapers and the final packing of the hospital bag. During those last few weeks most moms focus on preparing for birth and their baby's newborn period. While there's certainly a lot to do to get ready for your baby's early weeks, if you're a working mom who plans to breastfeed, you should also be preparing to pump. Below are six ways you can get prepared to head back to work before your baby even arrives.

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Image via iStock

Know Your Resources

Sometime after your third trimester begins, you should talk to you care provider about breastfeeding support. Ask if a lactation consultant will visit with you at the hospital or whether the nurses are trained in breastfeeding support. Find out who you can call with breastfeeding questions once you leave the hospital and compile a list of their phone numbers somewhere easy to find. Look into if there is a La Leche League or other breastfeeding support group near you and find some online resources you can bookmark and reference later. Decide if how you'll be getting your pump and – if insurance is supplying it – find out the process. Most moms end up needing some kind of support during their breastfeeding journey and, even if you don't end up using these resources in your babies early weeks, you might find you need them as you transition back to work.

Pregnant woman tying on a keyboard
Image via iStock

Have a Conversation With Your Boss

During your last month of pregnancy, you should sit down with your boss and discuss your return-to-work and pumping plan. You should make your boss aware that you plan to pump and identify how you'll take the time you need (will you block it on your calendar? place a do-not-disturb sign outside your door?), where you'll pump (your office? reserved conference room?) and where you'll store your milk. Having this conversation now will eliminate a lot of logistical headaches you would otherwise encounter (and stress about) on your first day back.

{ MORE: How to Reduce Postpartum Breast Engorgement }

 

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Image via Mindi Stavish

Research potential challenges

This one goes hand in hand with preparing to breastfeed. You don't need to be an expert on everything nursing, but you should know some common issues other moms encounter and what the potential solutions are. Talk to moms who have pumped and find out what was challenging for them and if they have any tips or tricks to share. If you know any moms who work in your office, ask them for any work-place specific challenges. Peruse KellyMom (the most wonderful, comprehensive breastfeeding site ever) to become familiar with some of the breastfeeding terminology you'll come to know in the coming months

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Image via Flickr/ Daniel Lobo

Set a goal

Before you can achieve your breastfeeding and pumping goals, you have to set them. Some people like to set their long term goal (the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for 12 months and many moms set this as a goal) while others like to start small (like one month, three months, or six months) and then reassess once they reach their goal.

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Image via iStock

Identify your cheerleaders

Pumping is going to be hard. There's a good chance you're going to work really hard to overcome some hurdles. Pumping is also totally doable. After you pick your goal, you're going to need to identify your cheerleaders. These are the people you're going to turn to when things get hard. They'll be your listening ear and the push you'll need to keep going. Let them know they're on your team and make them promise help you reach your goal!

{ MORE: How We Talk About Motherhood Matters }

Pumping is hard work but, with planning, hard work and dedication you can do it mama!

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5 Ways to Prepare for Pumping Before the Baby Arrives

Julia Pelly has a master's degree in public health and works full time in the field of positive youth development. Julia loves hiking after work, swimming during the summer and taking long, cuddly afternoon naps with her two sons on the weekends. Julia lives in North Carolina, with her husband and two young boys. You can find more of her work at JuliaPelly.com ... More

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