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These days, more and more mothers are working outside the home. Toward the end of pregnancy, there is a swarm of decisions that must be made, from what car seat to purchase to what birth plan to use. One of those decisions is whether or not to breastfeed. If you plan on becoming one of the working moms who breastfeed, then here is a list of must-haves to help your transition.
6 Must-Haves for Working Moms who Breastfeed
I worked full-time when my first child was born. After maternity leave, I asked that my hours decrease, but I was still there long enough to require pumping.
Leaving your baby with a sitter and pumping at work is hard. Pumping at work instead of the comfort of your own home isn’t that fantastic at first, either.
After a while, though, I did discover several must-haves I was so grateful to use. Here they are.
A top of the line, dual breast pump
I’m a bit of a cheapskate, but I’m so glad someone talked me into buying a Medela Advanced Breast Pump. My transition into joining the working moms who breastfeed was so much easier than it could have been because of that breast pump.
For more information on quality baby items like the Medela, read here.
A full water bottle
The minute I began pumping, I got thirsty. It would drive me mad not to have water nearby. Keep a quality water bottle freshly stocked at all times – especially when you pump.
A breastfeeding cover
Even if you have total privacy when you pump – and you should – having a breastfeeding cover like this one is a must-have at all times. It’s like have a spare diaper and some wipes on hand. You just never know where you’ll end up when you need them.
Besides, if you’re tense when you pump, you produce less milk and the process takes longer. That can be incredibly frustrating. Invest in something that will help you feel at ease.
Something to do
Pumping at work takes time, and you just sit there. Even though your hands are somewhat tied up, be sure to bring something along to entertain yourself. You could listen to music, an audio book, or a podcast. Or you could read (it can be done).
Or you could count ceiling tiles when you forget to bring something. ::sigh:: I’ve been there.
Breast milk storage bags were also crucial to my success as one of the working moms who breastfeed. They’re designed to hold enough for a single serving and hold up well in a freezer. You’re able to write the date on each one which makes sure your baby gets milk before it expires.
These storage bags were my favorite because they could be attached directly to my Medela breast pump – with the correct accessory. That saved SO much time with a lot less clean up.
A firm understanding of your rights
The biggest thing I’d want working moms who breastfeed to understand is their rights in the working place. They are legally permitted to take breaks to pump as often as necessary. Employers are required to provide a private room, other than a bathroom, during these break times.
Obviously, harassment from co-workers or their unwillingness to comply with regulations is illegal.
Breastfeeding is a wonderful gift you can give your baby. Know your rights. Click here for more information.
Would you add any must-haves for working moms who breastfeed to this list?
Image Credit: William Iven (UnSplash)
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Three of my friends are either pregnant or recently had their first babies. 18 months in for me, and they’re looking to me for support and advice. Though I hardly feel like I’m an expert, new moms like to talk, read and connect with other moms regardless of their ”expertise”.
Being a mom is, without a doubt, the hardest thing you will ever do. It will challenge you emotionally, physically and spiritually in ways you didn’t know possible. I don’t want to sound like I am excluding fathers from this but being a mom is different. The relationship your child has with you, will be different then the relationship they have with their father. Not good or bad, just different. Mom is mom and the challenges that face us are different. We will also face challenges united, as a parenting team, but you as a mom will face challenges with your child that the father will never truly understand (reciprocal is also true).
Take Care of Your Emotions
The relationship you form with your child is quick and intense. You grew this baby inside you for nine months. For me, after she was born, there was an awkward adjustment period of getting over the fact that I was no longer pregnant and nurturing this baby inside me. Sure she was now on the outside, which is all I wanted, and I was caring for her, but it took me a week or so of getting over not being pregnant. I can see how easily some women could fall into postpartum depression, for me it was weird and sort of sad. I was not at all prepared for the emotional changes that took place in the first day or so.
I can say without a doubt that breastfeeding helped me keep these emotions in check. I know there are circumstances preventing some women from being able to breastfeed, but if you can, do it. Breastfeeding is a hard skill to master but once you get a hang of it, it is an amazing experience. Once you can relax it becomes almost meditative. Breastfeeding is what helped me bond with my baby and move past the ”I’m no longer pregnant” emotions.
Nurture Your Marriage
Give your spouse attention. Married or not they need attention. The first year or marriage is a cakewalk compared to the first year with your first child. Talk about it all you want but until you become parents you have no idea what the other person will be like as a parent. My husband continues to surprise me and I’ve known him almost 15 years.
My experience is that my husband felt sort of useless the first few months. I was breastfeeding which meant me doing all the feedings and since I was off on maternity leave for the year, I was doing almost all of the child care duties (diapers etc). He was working full-time and supported us in other ways (breaks, even just for a shower, helping with meals, laundry) but not being directly involved with the child duties, especially feeding in a breastfeeding relationship, is tough on dad.
Dad needs reassurance that you’re still his wife. He will see you flourish as a mom but he also needs to be reminded that your his wife too. Don’t let your marriage (or relationship) get put on the back burner when you become a mom. Get a babysitter, even for an hour during a nap and be with each other, without baby. It’s hard at first but you both need it. Trust me.
Roll With The Punches
Before becoming a mom, I would admire all the mothers in my life and think, how do they do it? How do they have all the answers and know so much? I’ve learned very quickly that there’s a lot of rolling with the punches, making it up as you go and most importantly, being in tune with your child.
Only you as parents will really know the exact distinction between cries and understand their non-verbal language. You see a baby crying in a store and all you hear is crying. A mom knows the difference between pain, frustration, overtired or want/need something. This innate skill is what makes parents look so informed.
Being a parent is hard but so rewarding. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Breastfeeding was something that was very important to me. Though I respect women who chose not to for whatever reason, for me and my family, breastfeeding was the answer. As soon as I found out I was pregnant I started reading anything and everything I could about pregnancy and raising a child. Especially looking for as much information I could about breastfeeding and what to expect since it was so important to me.
Get Help Early
There are a ton of resources out there, too many actually. It is very easy to get overwhelmed. Though there is a lot of valuable information out there but here is a lot of misleading and downright terrible advice as well. If breastfeeding is something you want to master, and don’t think for one second this isn’t a learned skill, establish it in the hospital. If you have a home birth, make sure you have a Douala, midwife or your doctor help you before they leave. The first few hours and days are crucial to establishing good breastfeeding techniques. The nurses at our hospital were amazing and really helped us. When we were sent home, we had access to public health nurses who specialized in lactation and breastfeeding which was another great resource. Ask and accept all the professional help you can in the early days!
The First Three Months
The first 10-12 weeks we’re anything but easy for me. It hurt, a lot, and was exhausting. Through help (in my case, nurses and a temporary shield) I was able to get through it. I remember my daughter going through a growth spurt around eight weeks and doing nothing but nursing for almost 36 hours. She literally nursed non-stop for three days. I was exhausted and wanted to cry, actually I did cry, multiple times. My husband was frustrated because he couldn’t help me with it and I was milliseconds away from telling him to go to the store and buy formula.
I’m so glad I persevered though. I stuck with it, through the pain and frustration and made it through those dreadful first three months. I know not everyone’s experience will be the same but most women I chat with, who have breastfed, agree that the first 10-12 weeks are the most difficult. So my advice is that if you can stick with it, nursing on demand as much as they want it gets easier after the first few weeks.
Get Over It
I got over nursing in public early on. I realized that if I was going to have any sort of life, breastfeeding in public was going to be apart of my life. I nursed while grocery shopping, at restaurants and in many other public places. I always chose to use a cover or nurse in my sling for my own modesty, but do whatever you feel comfortable with. In today’s age of Miley Cyrus public performances and barely there women’s clothing, breastfeeding should be a total non issue.
Even through the hard times, breastfeeding has been one of, if not my favorite part of being a mom. The closeness that we shared because of it was amazing. There is nothing like secluding yourself and your baby away to cuddle and nurse.
I chose to let my daughter self ween but do what works for you and your family. I’m fortunate being in Canada and getting a year maternity leave so it was easy for me to make it to the critical one year mark. She weened herself about five weeks later, just lost interest. Probably because she got use to being away from me at daycare and was slowly nursing less. I could tell she was ready.
Breastfeeding is an amazing experience, it can be very difficult but us women are equipped to do it, power though the tough times, it’s so worth it!
What tips and tricks did you use to get through breastfeeding?
356 days is how long I was able to breastfeed. Nine days short of baby girls first birthday. Try as I might I don’t think she’ll be able to get one more ounce out of me. With returning to work full-time just two weeks ago, I’ve noticed a big dip in my supply, combined with the fact that baby girl seems to be loosing interest in the whole thing. I will try breastfeeding one more day, but I think my breastfeeding days with this baby are over.
I’m disappointed I didn’t make my one year goal. I know nine days isn’t a lot, but I really wanted to make that one year mark. I know I should be proud of what we accomplished but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was a little bummed. One year was my first goal. I planned on going as long as she self-weaned which I hoped would be later but I think it’s here now.
Breastfeeding has been the single most difficult thing I’ve had to do as a mom. I’m so thankful I’m in Canada and allowed a 52 week maternity leave. I know there is no way we would have made it this long if I had to return to work in the early weeks. I commend women who are able to work full-time, raise a family and do everything required to maintain a milk supply for their baby. Given my job it would be incredibly hard so I’m thankful I was able to be home with her to nurse on demand.
My daughter went through growth spurts textbook style. I would spend what felt like days, nursing. The first grow spurt was frustrating, I was stuck inside during the beautiful summer doing nothing but nursing. By the second growth spurt I had grown to love our time together. She wanted and needed me, for that I loved our time together.
I’ll miss those sweet moments of just the two of us. The way she’d look at me and the way she’d place her hands and feet on me. I’ll miss the special cuddles only she and I shared and how calm she was. I will especially miss not having to figure out why she was upset because I had the answer to whatever it was. I enjoyed breastfeeding so much more than I could have ever imagined. The bond it helped create is beyond words.
My husband is constantly reminding me that she’s healthy, happy and growing and as parents that’s all we can ask for. As much as we’d like, we can’t keep them small forever. It’s our responsibility to help the grow and navigate life. As she continues to grow and enters her second year of life, we will figure out new ways to bond and have many new experiences together.
I knew my breastfeeding days would eventually come to and end I just didn’t know how hard it would be on me. I just need to remind myself that I am so thankful I was able to breastfeed at all since I know it’s not always possible.
Recently in our local news, a restaurant owner was chastised for breastfeeding her son while at work. The local health department came in and handed her a letter of complaint after a restaurant- goer complained that she was breastfeeding at work, specifically while helping clear a table after someones meal had finished. Not because of any actual health hazard or issues with her kitchen, but because she was breastfeeding at work.
Let me explain that here in Nova Scotia it is a human right to breastfeed where ever and whenever a woman chooses to (although it makes me sad when stories like this continue to arise). This human right is not only backed and supported by our health department, but very much publicly encouraged; this is where an even bigger issue presents itself. One sector of our health department is telling her, and all women, to breastfeed anywhere and everywhere while another sector is conflicting telling her to breastfeed privately and not at her place on employment, a restaurant.
As a mother who has exclusively breastfed my baby for over six months now I have to commend this woman for continuing to breastfeed her son at eight months while working full-time, running a successful restaurant. Breastfeeding on demand is no easy task especially if you have work to get done. Breastfeeding mothers will tell you they very quickly learn to become excellent multitaskers. If we were forced to sit and hide in private every time our child needed FOOD we’d spend more than half our child’s waking hours cooped up in our houses, getting nothing accomplished.
In terms of this particular article- she was clearing a table at the restaurant she owns while breastfeeding her son. WHY DO WE CARE?!
Someone argued that it would be weird to have their groceries rang in buy a cashier who was breastfeeding at the same time. This isn’t even remotely close to the same thing. She is the owner of a restaurant who comes and goes throughout the day. She happened to have her son with her, he happened to be hungry, and she, at the same time, saw an opportunity to help her employees by clearing a table for them. It’s not like she was waitressing while breastfeeding juggling her pad of paper in one hand and baby in the other. She was lending a hand, multitasking, while popping into her restaurant.Source: Ali and the World
In a society where it is perfectly acceptable to have nearly naked women displayed in our shopping malls, on billboards and on TV, I have a hard time accepting that there is still any issue with breastfeeding in public places. When a baby is latched on and nursing, you see less breast than most popular low-cut women’s shirts yet it is still labeled as disgusting or thought it should be done in the privacy of your home only.
As a fellow breastfeeding mom, I can testify that we find ourselves doing so many things while breastfeeding our child literally becomes an extension of our own bodies, we get to a point where we don’t even notice them. I am certain that this was the case here.
The issue I have isn’t so much that the health department went to her restaurant, they have a public responsibility to check all complaints, the issue is that a complaint was even made.
What are your thoughts?