Inside: Check out these pumping tips for teachers. These tips will help you be successful in pumping breast milk at school. You can also grab our free teacher pumping sign in this blog post.
One of the biggest challenges of being a new mother and a teacher going back to school is pumping breast milk while you’re away from your baby. You survived teaching while pregnant, and you’re finished with your maternity leave. You’re back to work after baby, and part of your motherhood journey is being able to feed your baby. Transitioning from home with your little one to having to pump at work can be challenging. Having these pumping tips for teachers in your bag of tricks can definitely help ease your mind and body.
Know the laws about pumping at school.
Breastfeeding laws may vary per state, but employers are required to provide reasonable break time and a place other than a bathroom for mothers to express breastmilk. If you are an hourly employee, the law may not require your time to be compensated, but know that no employer can deny you from pumping in a safe, private place at work.
Ask for help.
If your schedule makes it difficult for you to pump, ask your fellow teachers or administrators to cover your class for a short period of time. Ask a few colleagues so one teacher isn’t constantly covering. Chances are, many of your coworkers have been there as new parents, and they’ll be more than willing to help. However, they won’t know if you don’t ask! You may also need to ask for help in getting some of your recess duties covered so you can use that time to pump as well.
Go hands free while you pump in your classroom.
As much as you may try to avoid it, you may find yourself eating a snack or lunch or even grading papers while you’re pumping at school. Invest in a hands-free pumping bra in order to save your hands and feel more comfortable. Bras are fully adjustable and work with major breast pump brands.
Bring baby photos to look at while you pump at school.
Some moms struggle to express enough milk during a pumping session, especially when they are back to work and away from baby. Looking at pictures of your child can help with let down. You may find you are able to produce more milk by giving the illusion of proximity to your child.
Store milk with ease.
If you don’t have your own mini fridge in your classroom, use the staff fridge and protect your milk with a small cooler made for bottle sizes. Have your own lunch cooler? Don’t worry about buying something special. Pack the bottles or bags carefully to carry home. If you do not have access to a fridge or freezer, drop in an ice pack to keep them safe for the day.
Remember, fed is best.
When I was pregnant with my first, I did so much research about breastfeeding. I truly believed the mantra “breast is best” and there was NO way I was going to give my baby formula. Then he came… and I had trouble producing enough to feed him. I tried everything. I drank gallons of water, took fenugreek and made lactation cookies. Ultimately, my son was not gaining enough weight and so I ended up supplementing with formula. This was very hard for me, but I had to swallow my pride and do what was best for my son. And guess what? He thrived as soon as we started supplementing.
There is no shame in supplementing with formula or going to formula-fed. You are a working mom, and you’re doing your best to work full-time and raise your child or children. Whether it’s been just six weeks or a year or more, your body produced a miracle! You are amazing! No matter what you are feeding your child, you should do what is best for you and your family. Don’t risk your sanity and health if formula feeding is a good option for your child. Fed is best. Period.
If you are feeling uncomfortable with your schedule or your ability to pump at work, talk to your supervisor or, if needed, human resources or your union rep (if you have one). It is your right to feed your child, and if your choice is to breastfeed, you need to be allowed a reasonable time to pump at work. Your job is not just teacher – it’s mom. You have a right to Stand up for your right to be the best mom you can be with these pumping tips for teachers.
Pumping in the classroom can be a challenge… but you can do it! Following these pumping tips for teachers easier and help you to navigate teaching with a baby. Being a new working parent is a challenge, but you can do it!
If you’re reading this post while you’re still planning your maternity leave, check out these blog posts and resources to help you!