Talk to the mamas who have gone before you.


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Try to find someone at your company who has pumped before and learn from their experience and schedule.

They know all the ways of navigating your company culture, and your hallways, with your pumping bag in tow.

Get a jump start.

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Many women believe they need to start pumping as soon as the baby is born in order to create this big stockpile of milk, but that is not the case.

If you start pumping two times a day, three weeks before you return to work, you will have approximately 60 to 80 ounces that you can store, 12 to 15 for the first day away and then the rest can go in the freezer for emergency situations.

Block off pumping time.

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Here’s what Motherly’s maternity leave expert, Lori K. Mihalich-Levin, suggests even before you get back to work from leave:

Block breast-pumping time on your calendar now: If you have an Outlook calendar and some control over your schedule, consider blocking out six months or a year of pumping time now. (I blocked three half-hour periods per day.) If you wind up not needing the time, it’s easy to delete the calendar appointments, but it’s hard to get that time back if others schedule you to be elsewhere. By the way, you have a legal right to a clean place to pump your breast milk.

Grab a chic breast pump bag.

I’m a huge fans of Sarah Wells’ breast pump bags, which look like the farthest thing from bags lugging breast milk.

Not only do they look cool, but they also feature:

Space to fit portable pumps (Medela Pump in Style with or without a case and Freestyle, Hygeia, Freemie, Spectra, Ardo and Ameda); thermal pockets on both sides of the bag for breast pump, accessories and pumped milk; and extra space to carry everything from a makeup bag to a laptop and more.

What more could a mama want?

Record an adorable video of baby.

And watch it while you pump.

Lots of mamas swear it’s true, and studies have confirmed that mamas who gaze at images of their babies by while pumping produce more milk than other types of milk-stimulation activities (like listening to relaxing music alone).

So get out that adorable laughing-at-his-own burps video, mamas. It’s pumping time.

Gear up.

A hands-free bra (like this seriously sexy and functional one from The Dairy Fairy) or Freemie Collection cups is a must.

Both allow you to pump hands free so you can stay on email in the pumping room as needed.

(Or get caught up on Scandal. We’ll never tell.)

Learn some tricks of the trade.

You can refrigerate your pump parts between pumping sessions so you don’t have to wash.

Learn hands-on pumping: Using your hands for massage and compression will help you yield more milk.

Make sure your flanges fit correctly. This will help you yield as much milk as possible.

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