Do you drive a lot for your job? Does the thought of going back to work after maternity leave stress you out? Are you scratching your head about how you're going to find a place and the time to pump? And what will the truckers think??? I've been collaborating with a former "car-pumper" who is eager to share what she's learned from her days on the road. Luckily for her employees, she "gets it" and is proactively helping her pumping employees who travel to get things figured out ahead of time (while on maternity leave) so the first days back to work run smoothly. Here are a few of her tips:
1.) If you're headed to a destination, call the HR department or a receptionist ahead of time to see if there is an on-site lactation room you can use. Go a little early to use this room so you can focus on your site meeting.
2.) Scope out sparsely-populated parking lots or rest areas to pump. You'll feel awkward at first, but over time it does get easier. Give yourself a moment to assess how safe you are; if you don't feel safe, find another spot. Hotels and grocery store parking lots are great places to pump anonymously. If you are traveling near a mall or airport or train station, you may find dedicated nursing/pumping rooms. Check out www.mamava.com/find-mamava for those free, amazing pods meant JUST for you.
3.) If driving while pumping, make sure to ALWAYS keep both hands on the wheel at all times. Pull over if you ever need to touch the pump motor or bottles. Safety first! You can always make more milk, but you cannot replace mama. Consider the Elvie or Willow Pump for hands-free pumping. It's expensive, but if you provide even 2 month's worth of milk, you'll have gotten your money's worth by not having to buy formula.
4.) If pumping in the summer, your cooler may not be cold enough to store your milk safely because the inside temperature of the car can quickly rise. Be prepared to bring your milk inside with you when you reach your destination. If needed, most drive-through restaurants will provide you with a cup of ice to keep things cold if you're cold packs are prematurely melting.
Want to hear more tips for preparing to pump while traveling? Check out our online course, Work.Pump.Balance. When you sign up, you will get not only 3 hours of video content about how to pump at work, but also our helpful checklist with tips on how to make it work while you drive for your job (this helpful checklist outlines:
*the MUST-HAVE supplies
*the CLEANING supplies
*what BACKUP supplies you need
*the best SNACKS and DRINKS to keep you energized
*and INSPIRATION to help keep you going
Because let's be honest....this type of commitment requires a big "Why" to keep the motivation high. Finding your own personal "Why" is critical, and will make this all much more palatable. In the course, Mita and I give you advice on how to stay on your game even when you have to travel by plane (for days) away from baby. I know, it's not a fun topic, but the more you are prepared, the sweeter that reunion will be when you can nurse your little nugget and be reunited with something only she and you can do together.
It IS do-able. It IS figure-out-able. You've GOT this. (p.s., many progressive, family-friendly employers are covering the cost of this course, so don't be afraid to ask for what you need to succeed at work!). I'm happy to advocate for you by talking to your employer if needed--just email or call me and I'll be there for you!