Re: When I return to work at 8 weeks pp, I will be working 12 hour shifts 3-4 days a week. Will my body know when in the day I need to pump? Should I try to just pump a couple of days before I return to work to practice?” --beth_lukehart
Breast pumps are pretty cool inventions. They keep the milk flowing, allowing you to maintain your milk supply and feed your baby if you aren’t at home. Keep in mind, however, that pumps aren’t perfect. You will never be able to pump as much milk as your baby can suck. Also, some women have an easy time pumping; others find it pretty challenging. For this reason, you’ll want to give your pump a test run before you head back to work. Make sure you know how set it up, clean the parts and store your milk.
You should also consider buying an electric pump that does both breasts at the same. This speeds up the whole process. And if you want to multi-task while you’re pumping, buy a hands-free pumping bra. Just tuck the cups into the bra, turn the pump on and get right back to your email.
In an ideal situation, you would pump at work at the same times of day that your baby eats. That way you’ll have a consistent supply for her when you aren’t home. You should also pump if you feel that your breasts are very full or engorged. This will help protect your breasts from getting a blocked duct or infection. If you don’t have a lot of control over your work schedule, just do the best you can do. It can help to tell your employer that you need to pump and that you’d like a private place to do so. Also, consider leaving your pump at work each night and just toting a cooler of pumped milk home at the end of the day.