For those of us who faithfully carry our pump bags to and fro in the name of love you know as well as I the few small things that could make expressing milk at the workplace more comfortable. The very existence of a lactation room, or the more gentle reference, ‘Serenity Room’, is a gift unto itself for those blessed to have one on the job. But before you begin to break in your Serenity Room, real or imagined, I’d like to share a few tips on items that might be helpful to have in place your 1st day back to work if you are planning to pump:
1) Confirm location of the room and secure the key BEFORE you return from maternity leave. This will lessen the possibility of you ending up in the conference room crouching behind a ficus plant for cover your 1st day back.
2) Consider investing in those pricey wipes so that you can be a mobile unit. You may have a kitchen space or of course the bathroom option as a water source and you may not care if anyone sees you cleaning your various parts but I have to say, for some of us it can mean one less trip in an already busy day. Also, should you find yourself pumping in a stall at Port Authority Bus Terminal complete with a homeless woman having a meltdown at the sink area…those wipes will serve well in your attempt to express food for your baby in dire surroundings.
3) Bring your own pump and back-up parts (horns, tubing and most importantly membranes) even if your work place says they will rent or provide one. An unfamiliar pump still in the box on the shelf at Babies ‘R Us is no use to you. If one is guaranteed to be provided still bring your own the 1st day in case there are any problems with the on-site equipment.
4) If the room is separate from your workspace or office, make sure it has a chair…a chair actually in the room and useable and not a comfortable thought in someone’s mind or mummified in bubble wrap in the mail room.
5) Include mini cooler totes and blue ice packs (already frozen) in your bag.
6) Bring extra storage bags and bottles.
7) Add a wash cloth to protect your lap or to protect your pump parts (also helpful when putting yourself back together).
8) Pack both batteries and the charger for your pump in case the outlet is not in ideal spot.
9) Consider bringing your hand pump as an emergency back-up, for me it’s just one piece and takes up no more room than a power bar.
10) A nursing cover because there is no plant on display in the average office that will serve you as well.