Being a new mom is already a new adventure, but adding in work and pumping is the next level. As a working and nursing mom, adding breastfeeding to your schedule is a task you can’t ignore. And, you shouldn’t stop because you don’t think you can handle it all.
Returning to work from maternity leave (if you get it!), is already a huge thing. And, you might be overwhelmed or going a bit crazy thinking of all the things you have to do. Your schedule is going to be different. You’re going to be taking on new things while trying to return to the person you were at work before baby. It can seem daunting.
But, it’s an amazing experience. I breastfed until June 2020 — Cannon was twenty-months-old when we finally stopped nursing. Nonetheless, I loved the bond and providing for my child. And, I was not going to give that up just because I had to go to work. I was going to make it work and in the end, I made it work. From a job with an amazing lactation room to another workplace with an old supply closet that became the lactation room.
As a working mom, you’re already doing amazing but providing for your child. And, adding pumping to your schedule is another amazing thing that you’ve added to your plate. With your plate full, here are some tips for your nursing journey at work.
Create a work pump schedule
Honestly, I wish I had done this when I first returned to work. Creating a schedule will make it easier for you to plan out meetings, lunch, and snack time. With a schedule that is ongoing and set, you’ll have times blocked off so you can nurse. It makes it easy to pump and not worry about having to run from a meeting with a full chest. Utilize your calendar so you can plan what is best for you. People will plan around you and accommodate you, especially if you have things planned in advance. Take it from me, set a constant meeting and you’ll never have to worry — make sure you have multiple meetings. I would pump twice, although I should have pumped three times a day while at work. A schedule helped me stay on top of everything and made it easier to plan other meetings.
Prepare your supplies the night before
The best thing you can do for yourself is preparing your nursing supplies the night before. From experience, I didn’t forget anything when I packed my bag the night before. It gives you a sense of peace by being overly prepared. I never regretted packing the night before compared to packing the morning of. You never know when you’ll be rushing around in the morning and that morning might be the morning you forget something. Yes, I’ve forgotten pump pieces because I packed in the morning. Be ahead of everything by washing your supplies, and packing what is needed once when the baby is asleep.
Locate the Mother’s Room
Honestly, this is important. I worked at two different jobs and while it was easy to pinpoint the mother’s room in one place, the other job was hard. Take the time out of your morning to find maps and locate the room that you need to be in. Some require that you schedule time through Outlook while others just let you walk up with hopes that no one is in there. This was my experience with my last job before COVID. The Mother’s Room might not be the prettiest place, but if you have a dedicated room take advantage. From experience, I’ve gone from an amazing Mother’s Room to a Lactation Room that was an old supply closet and an emergency closet. Do yourself a favor and figure out where you need to be.
Pack a back-up manual pump
I can’t begin to tell you how many times I forgot a piece to my pump and needed my back-up pump, which is manual. The first time I forgot my pump, I had to leave the room and rush to Target to get a manual one. It was in the early stages of nursing, so there was no way that I could pass on a pump. Thankfully, Target is stocked with manual pumps from Medela and Lansinoh. I have both manual pumps as my Medela gave out one day and I needed the Lansinoh. Nonetheless, the point is to always have a back-up plan. There might be a day where you forget the power cord or a piece to your pump. The manual pump will come in handy.
Hydrate throughout the day
From the start you are told to hydrate and you must never let up! Just kidding with the exclamation. But, staying hydrated is important. You can tell when you’re slacking and when you’re not by output (at least, I could). Whether you pack multiple bottles of water or you have a refillable water bottle, keep on fueling your body. There have been days where I really slacked and I could tell by barely pumping three ounces compared to days where I’m guzzling water and getting a good ten ounces when I’m at work. Fuel your body. If you have to throw in a Body Armor or Pedialyte in the mix, go for it.
Bring extra snacks
Listen, breastfeeding is work. I read somewhere that you burn 500 calories by breastfeeding — I can’t confirm if it’s 100% true, but that’s a lot. You need to replenish what you’re burning especially at a time where you’re working on getting back to your old body. The choice of your snack is up to you. For myself, I packed tons of granola bars — things that would feed me and revitalize me. When I was pumping twice a day, I had a late morning snack and an afternoon snack. My morning snack usually consisted of fruit like grapes or yogurt with granola and strawberries, while my afternoon snack was probably something salty. The point that I’m making is that you should bring extra snacks because you don’t know how much you’re burning and you want to keep your body fueled. Especially at work where you don’t want to drag around.
Being a mom is a job. There is no denying it. You add it to the list with your current job and you’re working 2 jobs, plus breastfeeding which is another job itself. Momming is a lot.
And, you want to make sure that you’re taking care of yourself and preparing for the workday as a working mom.
Hopefully, this tips are helpful to someone out there. If I have another kid, I know they will be used for me as I’m now an experienced mom.
Also, you can have both despite what other people might say. You can be a mom and a career woman. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise and don’t let anyone take that from you. End of story, you’re amazing and you’re doing it.
What are some of your nursing tips for the working gals?