Tips for working moms
I sit here on a Sunday during nap time and think back on the (collective) 30 months I have breastfed. It's a long time. And I'm still going. While I am now on a venture with a new product, while still working my full time corporate job, managing my household and of course, momming two toddlers - I feel like I should share some of the things I've learned along the way. So here goes... Blog post #1.
First, let me tell you - Breastfeeding is hard. Breastfeeding when you also work full time is harder. But you are tough, so you've got this.
The best plan of action is a well thought out one, and my experience may not be suitable to your circumstances, but let's talk through it anyway. My job requires a lot of desk time at a cubicle, windshield time in my car and face to face meetings with vendors and co-workers.
1. Let your employer know ahead of time that you will need pumping breaks, and be sure to know the law where you live. (In Michigan, if the employer has more than 50 employees, they must provide a private space other than a bathroom for pumping).
2. Plan out your day (if possible). I needed to pump every 3 hrs with my son, and every 2 hrs with my daughter for the first few weeks back to work. I put these times on my outlook calendar so I wouldn't get busy and forget. This is how my day looked with nursling #1:
5am: Shower, pump while getting ready.
6am: Baby wakes up - nurse & get her ready.
7am: Drop baby off to daycare & pump during 40 minute drive to office.
9:30am: pump during conference call
12 noon: pump during lunch break
3pm: pump while doing emails
5pm: pump on drive home
Exhausting, right? My tiny monster was eating 20 oz of breast milk while at daycare, and this is the only way I could get it for her. With my son it was a little easier, as I was able to work from home much more often.
If I had to travel or attend a meeting, I would stretch the times between pumping as much as possible, to allow for pumping while I was in the car. However, it is SO important in the early months to stick to your schedule as much as possible, as you are regulating your supply.
3. Be prepared. Bring a cooler with you and extra storage bags for milk, as well as zip locks for your parts. I also used these medela steam bags for quick sanitation of my pump parts.
4. Know your rights. Not only with your employer, but also if you are traveling elsewhere. Flying with breastmilk? It's awesome. TSA may need to screen your milk, but you are allowed to bring it on a plane, even without your baby with you.
5. All of the tips on encouraging let down and increasing milk supply are even more important when you are pumping more often than nursing. (Making note to do a future blog post on this!) Take a video of your baby nursing or playing or laughing or whatever brings instant joy to your face and watch it while you pump. It will help!
Hope this helps you! <3