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7 Responses to Breastfeeding and the Working Mom

  1. Alicia @ Lactation Narration  

    I work in a hospital (but not in patient care). I have pumped at work for both of my kids. Here are my answers:

    Where will you pump? Do you need a private room other then your office?
    I cannot pump at my desk, because it is in neither a private area nor a clean area (I am not supposed to eat at my desk either), so I needed another place. With my first, my boss found me empty offices which I kept getting kicked out of for various reasons, and eventually I used the rooms where the on-call docs sleep, which worked out well. With my second, I used the newly created lactation room. (My story about lobbying for the lactation room is here: http://lactationnarration.com/index.php/2010/09/happy-birthday-lactation-room/ )

    How long will it take you to pump and how many times a day will you need to?
    I pumped twice per day for about 20 minutes each, and visited my baby over my lunch break to nurse.

    Will you be expected to carry on your same workload? What accommodations may you need from your employer in order to complete those duties?
    I am able to mostly work around my own schedule as long as I get my work done. So I didn’t require any special accommodations in that regard.

    Where will you store your expressed milk?
    I used the cooler portion of my pump bag to store my milk at work.

  2. Shannon R  

    @Alicia those are great suggestions. I’m glad that you persevered through getting displaced from your pumping room. I’ve on occasion had to find other places to pump as well. It can be very taxing to run to another room, set-up, pump, clean up, run back etc. Pumping is something I felt very strongly about so I had to summon my extra energy to keep up with it. It helped to have someone to talk to about it. Tomorrow will be 15 months of breastfeeding and 8 months of pumping at work!

  3. Abbie  

    Great post Shannon! I pumped at work until my son’s first birthday and was so happy to meet that milestone! I am not a fan of pumping but made it September to March before transitioning my son to cow’s milk. Now my pump is put away (yay!) but we still nurse frequently afternoons, weekends annd throughout the night. I was surprised how my supply adjusted so easily and I’m so happy to have made it all work! I’d tell moms who are just going back to work that it’s hard but you can do it!

  4. Shannon R  

    @Abbie – you are so right! I just started to transition myself to not pump while at work and it is going rather well. I’ve been pumping on the way there and the way home though. But I always felt he was worth any effort I could muster to keep going.

  5. Kimberly

    I am late to this post but have a back-to-work question. I returned to work two days a week three weeks ago. I pump three times while I am at work (9AM, Noon, 2 or 2:30 PM). My supply goes down each day that I work, by my 2PM pump I get about 2 ounces, my baby usually nurses 4 ounces at that time. My daughter has been eating VERY light during the day with her care provider (7 ounces all day). By the time I get home at 5:30 PM she is famished and my milk supply is nearly nil. She then nurses all night to ramp things back up. My fear is I will lose my supply even though I am pumping. I am also taking the herbal supplement “More Milk Plus.” Thoughts? Advice? Help….

    • Shannon R

      Hi Kimberly – you’re never late to the Internet! My first thought is to ask you about your fluid and caloric intake during the day. Have you been able to drink and eat enough during the day since returning to work. I know when I’m home with my boys, I graze constantly. At work though it is easy for me to get distracted and forget to eat or drink my water.
      As far as your daughter’s nursing habits changing, that is normal as well. Nursing provides more then just nutrition and she is probably looking to reconnect with you after being apart for so long. She may also be making up during the nights what she normally would have taken directly from you before returning to work during the day. I’ve experienced this as well. Once I allowed my son to nurse freely at night, it helped me maintain and reestablish my supply. I did my own research and found a comfortable and safe cosleeping arrangement so that I could still get rest at night and my son could nurse and get his nutritional needs met. I’m not sure what your arrangement is currently but you might consider a sidecar arrangement or at least moving her into your room so your ups and downs during the night are shorter. I hope some of these suggestions are helpful to you. Also remember that there isn’t a pump out there that is as efficient as a baby directly suckling and that the more she nurses from you, the more you will make.

      • Kimberly

        Shannon, Thank you so much for the feedback and for the experience-sharing. My daughter does sleep in our room and I am able to side nurse her often during the night. We may transition to co-sleeping, we have a unit we can use to keep her safe. I think the caloric intake is something I need to be more vigilant about. I have decided to look for a supplemental beverage with extra calories and nutrition because I don’t have time to eat more that I’m eating while at work. My daughter is gluten and dairy intolerant so I’ll see what’s out there. Thank you again for the response. I’ve increased my water from 3-4 quarts per 24 hours to 5 and it seems to be helping my supply. Thanks again