I have been back to work for almost 3 months now and have my milk expression routine set up. When I was pumping for N back in 2008, I had my own room. However, due to space rationalization issues, my employer renovated our office and we are temporarily assigned to another room while our office is still being fixed. In our temporary room, our set-up is an "open office" with no dividers in between. Luckily, we have a pantry which has become my "pumping room".
|Set-up at the pantry|
We also have a refrigerator in the pantry where I store my milk. Meanwhile, my horns go in the plastic box and in the chiller in between pumps. However, there are days that I can't use the pantry and must pump at my desk. Happily, we are a small office (with only 6 employees in the open office set-up) and my back is against the wall. So when necessary, I pump at my desk.
|Pumping at my desk|
What are my pumping essentials? Of course, a good pump - this time, I'm using a Freestyle (which deserves a separate post), a nursing cover, my hands-free band, alcohol (or some other disinfectant), plastic storage case, some paper towels, and of course a refrigerator.
The nursing cover I use is called Pirose made by Reno Rose. It is huge piece of cloth with a hole in the middle where I slip my head through and the fabric fully covers my front and back. I find that this cover is perfect for pumping because I also need to have my back covered, especially when I am trying to wear my hands-free pump band.
With N, I hadn't discovered the hands-free pump band yet. Now, I can't imagine pumping without it! Even during my pumping sessions at home, the hands-free pump band is a must. I am able to multi-task, especially when I am working on my desk. The brand I use is PumpEase and I have both the petite and regular sized bands. The petite is cheaper but covers just about 2/3 of your breasts while the regular sized band is wider - giving more support although more expensive.
Update: Pumping bands are locally available: Pumpease from my online store, Mama.Baby.Love and Simple Wishes from Babymama.
It usually takes me about 12-15 minutes to set-up, pump and pack up. I keep my pumping time to about 10-11 minutes and spent the rest of the time packing up. I store the horns in the chiller until the next session - this saves me time as I don't have to wash or sterilize in between sessions. I also keep my expressed milk in bottles in the refrigerator (not in the freezer) as I have to travel home with the milk and don't want a drastic change in temperature. Also, refrigerated milk is more nutritious than frozen milk so E takes my refrigerated milk the next day.
During the work week, I keep the expressed milk in the refrigerator at home for E's consumption. We only freeze whatever is left on Friday night. The frozen milk is stored for future use - to be mixed in E's food when he starts solids or to be donated (when we run out of freezer space!).
Are you a pumping and working mom as well? What's your schedule and routine like?