Pumping breast  milk at work

Did you know that breastmilk is also known as “liquid gold?” Breast milk has various benefits for babies including antibodies (for immunity), water (for hydration), melatonin and histidine (for sleeping) and anti-itch properties both for babies and mothers. As a first-time mom, I want to give my best to my baby. So, continuing my breastfeeding is a must. The challenge, however, is I’m a working mom — I need to go to work after my maternity leave and that means my baby cannot drink breast milk directly from me.

Breast pumping or extracting one’s breast milk using manual or electric breast pumps is the key to solve this dilemma. Lactating mother who doesn’t pump at work may experience breast engorgement, a painful condition that comes with swelling, tightness and an increase in size of the breasts. It can also lead to infection and other medical complications

Here are some basic pumping accessories a working mom needs:
Breast pumps. This mechanical device collects milk from breasts either by a manual pump or electric, wired or wearable. A pair of wearable electric breast pumps offers ease and convenience due to its hands-free design. You can place the pumps on your breasts while wearing a bra on top. The devise allows you to work and pump at the same time. On the other hand, a manual breast pump is a good backup in case your electric pumps fail. The disadvantage, however, you need to use both hands together in order for it to work.

Baby milk bottles. Baby milk bottles in plastic with sealing discs offer a more environment-friendly milk storage than plastic sealable milk bags. They can be used repeatedly, but they are a bit pricier than the milk bags. Another plus factor is you can use it directly to bottle feed your baby after warming it.

Photograph courtesy of Jake Bayawa
Baby milk bottles in plastic with sealing discs offer a more environment-friendly milk storage than plastic sealable milk bags.

Breastmilk Storage Bags or Milk Bags. A more popular choice for lactating mothers, milk bags consume less space in the freezer, allowing you to store more milk for as long as you can for months. Before buying, check if they are freezer-safe, BPA-free and food-grade, with double to triple seal lock and with enough space to write important details like name, date and volume. After filling the milk bag, remember to remove the bubbles before sealing to avoid any contamination.

Insulated bag, reusable ice bricks or ice packs. This special bag with ice bricks or ice packs can help preserve freshly pumped breast milk for 24 hours — according to mayoclinic.org — while traveling or in transit.

Muslin cloth or any covering cloth. If your office doesn’t have a lactation room or lounge for breastfeeding moms, you can use a wide, thick cloth or muslin cloth to cover yourself.

Breast pump bra. Use a good pair of breast pump bra that has built-in holes if you are using wired electric breast pumps.

Our government also has a lactation law — Republic Act 10028 — that allows nursing mothers to express their milk 40 minutes in a day.