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Breastfeeding Strategies for the Working Mom

It's no secret that breastfeeding while working adds another dimension to the challenge of nursing. We could go into all the benefits of breastfeeding for your baby and you, but you're probably already acutely aware of them—so we’ll cut to the pumping chase. These tips and tricks are based on interviews held with some amazing women in demanding jobs, bringing home the bacon and the milk!

  1. Prepare, prepare, prepare: As in most things in life, the more you can do to prepare beforehand the easier it will be.  Preparations can start as early as one month before you go back to work. Here is a basic list of things to do:

  • 1 month before: Start to sort out your child care arrangements for while you are at work.  Finding the right fit can take a while, so avoid the additional stress and start early.  

  • 3 weeks before: Start building your milk supply.  It can take a while to produce that extra milk so plan in those extra pumping sessions early and don’t be discouraged if the first couple of sessions aren’t successful.  Your body needs some time to get in the flow :)

  • 2 weeks before: Make sure your baby is comfortable with the bottle.  The last thing you want to be worrying about while you are at work is that your baby isn’t eating.

  • 1 week before: Test it out.  Run a trial day to make sure you have a good routine to get to work on time and that your baby is comfortable with the new child care arrangements.

  • Talk to your employer: It’s helpful to get your employer on board before-hand about your plans to pump while at work.  Hopefully, your company is already well-equipped for the nursing mom, but if they aren’t, knowing beforehand can help get things in order.  Also it helps for them to understand how important this is for you and your baby's health.  This isn’t and shouldn’t be viewed as a “perk” of the job, but as a requirement.  Setting that tone early can help to avoid issues in the future.

  • Strategize your breastfeeding sessions: Get in as many breastfeeding sessions with your baby as possible.  Unfortunately, no pump is as efficient as your baby and long term pumping can have a negative effect on your milk supply.  Try to nurse before you leave for the day and as soon as you get home to keep that milk supply up.  Also, pushing for telecommuting options or on-site day care are good options as well.

  • Plan your pumping time at work: It’s recommended that you pump every 3 hours to  maintain your milk supply.  Block off your calendar for the times you will be pumping and try to make it consistent.  Also there are certain work tasks which are more conducive to pumping like answering email.  Save those tasks for your pumping sessions to be most productive.  One fellow mama used to get her team to help too by making sure they were aware of her pumping times and having them send/print any documents in advance so she could tackle them during this time.

  • Get the right equipment: We all want to spend the least amount of time in that lactation room, so make it as easy as possible by getting the right equipment.  This can also make a big difference with keeping your motivation up.  A good strong pump is a must.  Pumping bras with padding are also great for hands free nursing and the least amount of wardrobe changes. And finally, make sure you are wearing nursing friendly clothing.  We designed MAIA MODA clothes specifically for this purpose which we hope you’ll take advantage of but there are many standard clothes that can fit the bill

  • Take care of yourself: Adding pumping into the mix of work in addition to the stress of being a new mom can be overwhelming.  Suddenly there is a lot less time for work.  Resist the instinct to cut yourself short.  You still need to drink lots of water, eat a good lunch and don’t forget some snacks, because that breastfeeding appetite is strong for a reason.  In the grand scheme of things the time you will be pumping at work is quite short, if that means you need to take it a little easier than usual be kind to yourself and let it be.

  • Leave the guilt trip at home! : Guilty for being at home, guilty for being at work, we all feel it, but we need to take a step back and know we are doing the best we can. No solution is perfect, but you evaluated the benefits and drawbacks of each one and made the decision that was best for you and your family.  So embrace that choice and make the most of your time at home and your time at work.  I would suggest you take a cue from my husband; when our son Henry cries before he has to go to work, instead of feeling guilty he instead feels happy that his son loves him that much :)

Hope you guys found this helpful.  We would love to hear from you about your strategies and what worked for you!  Please share your tips!


MAIA MODA Co-Founder


This article was originally published on the MommyBites Boston Website.

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