Four years ago I was in the middle of my maternity leave and pumping like crazy to prepare for my return to work the first week of February. I was nervous; anxious even. How would I pump enough? How would I emotionally handle being away from my baby? How would I balance work and motherhood?
Truly, if I learned anything, it was to take things one day at a time. Nursing is an ever-evolving relationship, trying to plan 6 months in the future isn’t realistic. 6 weeks is even a stretch. Planning for tomorrow, now that’s doable. Ample support is a must too. Knowing you’re not alone and that other mamas are transversing the road of working away from home while nurturing a breastfeeding relationship is the breath of fresh air many of us need.
I collaborated with a few wise mamas who have, or who are currently, juggling a breastfed little one and working hours. Here are their tips!
- The best thing I did was having a quiet, peaceful place at work to pump, no interruptions. – Diane
- My husband comes to have lunch with me so I can nurse! -Pamalee
- With my first I worked outside of the house 3 days a week, but I kept my hours to 6 hours a day. These shorter hours are the only way I was able to have him drink mama’s milk exclusively to one year. It was hard to keep up! Double pumping bra and a car charger adapter were my best friends, just throw a towel over the boobers or the truckers will stare 🙂 -Oonagh
- I put in my schedule my pump times so people know NO meetings. I have her picture all over the place. I use Joy essential oil (YL) and that really helps when I’m having a hard day. My hubby is home with her so he has brought her in on my lunch break to nurse. – Katiedawn
- My little won’t take a bottle. So we nurse all night which I think helps my supply. I work four 10s so I try to pump 2 to 3 times a day [to maintain my supply]. – Jeanette
- I had a sign made for our mothers room door so nobody will bother me. I watch the newest video I took of her a few times to trigger letdown, then I try to relax. But I also nurse all night on demand and eat lots of foods that help with production… Beans, lentils, beets, basil, barley beer (wow, lots of Bs) and drink lots of water. -Kati
- I started pumping the day my milk came in (both times) and started my freezer stock right away. I would nurse at drop-off and at pick-up and pump once during my lunch break. I nursed my firstborn for 31 months and am still nursing my second (21 months now). The thing that helped me most was keeping a schedule. – Brittany
- Preparation! I switched to co-sleeping at night so I could nurse a lot and keep up milk supply while still getting lots of sleep. A double electric breastmilk pump is a must, along with a small cooler to schlep milk home, a tupperware container for storing pump parts in the fridge between pump sessions (so you don’t have to wash), and a nice, bigger purse for carrying everything around in a stylish manner (I got Mat & Nat diaper bag and its perfect). I leave my electric pump at work and if I need to, I use a my hand pump at home. Oh yes, and a hands-free pumping bra! I work on my laptop while pumping. – Laura
Other great resources to browse …
- Foods to help you boost supply – here’s a post with lots of ideas!
- And, my favorite milk-boosting cookie recipe 🙂
- How Can We Preserve the Nursing Relationship When Returning To Work Earlier Than Expected?
- If you’ve experienced breastfeeding loss in any way, this post will help heal your heart for sure.
- 35 Tips and Tricks For Pumping Mamas
P.S. I’m sure many of you are wondering about my necklace in the photo above … it’s a favorite of mine from Archer + Hare!
Are you inspired? Feeling a part of an awesome community of mamas who are in the same boat as you? What tips would you add from your experience?