Working Mama: Breastfeeding Part 1 – At Work

First and foremost, breastfeeding is a personal decision that often has to do with many factors.  At the end of the day, in my opinion, the most important part of parenting is love. Period.  So if you cannot breastfeed or have chosen not to, this post is about my decision to breastfeed my daughter and the “technical” aspects related to working and breastfeeding.

1. Daily Scheduling
In my experience trying to stick to a schedule was one of the most key aspects of breastfeeding. Honor it like a meeting and go have “Mommy Time”. If a meeting prior to Mommy Time runs over bring a heavy sweater or a suit jacket. You will most likely ‘bleed’ through. So anticipate those kind of events. It’s embarrassing. Then go have your Mommy Time.

2. How to Increase Your Production
As Sweetpea grew, so did her need for nourishment. Our lovely little lady started childcare of sorts at 9 weeks. I remember the triumph of 3 ounces! Which quickly became a need for more. As I was discussing this with a co-worker who had just weaned her little girl…the trick for me was to start a second (or third) pumping if you’re able. During the first week of adding in another pumping session, you may get nothing for a week. Do not give up! Come the following week or so, I found that my body started producing more and soon it became 8 ounces or whatnot.

3. How to Let Down
Once you’ve gotten to your Mommy time and spot, I found it difficult to relax mid-day. I found little videos of Sweetpea and pictures helped but were not the solution. This was a bit rough for me. Sometimes you just don’t feel like you have 30 minutes.

4. Some Products I Used
a. Double Electric Pump
b. Lansinoh Bags for milk storage
c. Madela breastmilk bottles as back up to the bags
d. A freezer pack for traveling from work to home. My commute at the time was around 1-1.5 hours one way
e. Cleaning option I’m not sure how amazing these are health wise but they really seemed to clean the plastic detachable parts for the pump (read the instructions on your pump prior to using)
f. A pen to label

I talk a little bit more about what I did not use in my Urban Baby post.

5. What to Do With Your Gold During the Day
a. If multiple people are using the same fridge for any purposes…label your bags or bottles.
b. I stored it in the refrigerator during the day in a small insulated bag.
c. Adhere to the CDC rules about storage and use:

6. Storage At Home
I essentially printed the chart on this page and followed the recommendations.

I did put the milk in the bottom of our freezer and put an ice back below, on the sides and above the milk. I made sure each bag had the date and amount so I could ensure it was good.

7. Nipple Confusion Concerns
This is relative I believe per person and child, but for us we used a 0-3 month nipple the entire time she was using a bottle. As to the selection of what bottle to use. I was nervous and bought every single nipple on the market. She liked none. Eventually she settled for the Nuk bottles/bottle nipples. I would recommend purchasing 8 ounce or larger bottles from the start. I had to buy the small ones and then a larger set when she was older (since she was eating more).

8. Using a Bottle during the Day and Breastfeeding in the Evening
For us, that is what we did. Bottle at daycare and breastfeeding with Mommy.

9. Wear Sweaters
You will leak! Or atleast I would say most moms have atleast one incident. That meeting is running long, you’re about to explode and bam….your body doesn’t wait. Sweaters and such were a blessing.

10. How to talk to your Co-Workers
I had some co-workers that just didn’t understand what “Mommy Time” was. They would ask if Sweetpea was downstairs and such details. I just shrugged them off and eventually just told them yup that’s right! Most of my co-workers respected “Mommy Time”. For me, it was about setting expectations. I left at 10am and 2pm, period. It’s hard to do, but I think if you push back and make it clear this is an appointment you must attend, people get used to it.

11. My Decision at 1 Year Old
I was losing weight and stressed. George and I traded pneumonia when she was about 9-10 months old and my production went to zero (I just kept pumping and everything balanced and came back). Sweetpea was starting to eat solids…I made the decision to stop pumping at work and only breastfeed at home with our little lady. For some ladies this is virtually impossible because they have an oversupply. For me, this worked. We kept this up until 23 months old.

12. Bras and Nursing Tops and/or Covers
Personally, I did not use them. I chose stretchy shirts that I could put her under. But again, that is a very personal decision.

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Wholesome Living: Finding Balance

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