Pumping at work is like being trapped in a candy store against your will: you’d rather not be held captive anywhere, but if it’s gotta happen, that’s a pretty great place to be. There is not much in this world quite like having to strip half-naked, attach a plastic medieval-looking contraption to your bosom, while fearing that one of your bull-in-a-china-shop male coworkers could ignore your privacy sign and walk in at any moment.
Pumping at work is an opportunity to steal away for twenty (or so) minutes and be with Baby, even though you’re not actually with them. Ideally, of course, you’d be nursing him or her yourself, but pumping in the back room, the office, or the ladies room, works as a lovely little reminder of the time you and Baby get to spend with one another.
So what do you tell your boss? If they’re male, this is probably one of the last conversations they want to have with you. Don’t ask them, like it’s an option. Inform them that this is something you need to do and you have found the most convenient times of day in which to do it. Pumping is a requirement for you, if you plan on continuing to breastfeed. Don’t apologize for feeding your baby. If your boss is female, they’ve either pumped before, know someone who has, or have no idea why you do it. Regardless, don’t ask – inform – nicely.
How often should you pump? As often as you want. You may become uncomfortable for having a back-up of un-expressed milk and want to do it for that reason, or you may be worried that your supply will dwindle, so you’ll want to do it more. To give you a general idea, some women in a 9-5 job will pump two to three times while at work.
It’s inconvenient and awkward, but it’s necessary and you’ll get the hang of it. Think of it this way – it’s a perfect opportunity to sit and do nothing for a few minutes, and with a baby at home, that’s a rarity.