Pumping At Work

Breastfeeding the Older Baby: 12-18 Months

Breastfeeding the Older Baby: 12-18 Months

Written by Anna Choi, BS, IBCLC

Thank you for joining us for our third and final article in our blog series, Breastfeeding the Older Baby – What to Expect and How to Adjust. I’ve enjoyed writing these articles, as we have explored the evolving breastfeeding relationship between mama and baby, and I hope to have provided some insight for you about what this evolution might look like for you and your little one. In this final article, we will look at months 12 through 18 of your toddler’s life.

Breastfeeding Memoirs: Working as a Resident

Breastfeeding Memoirs: Working as a Resident

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week 2015, we are sharing inspirational stories from breastfeeding/working moms.  

Today’s story was written by Amelia Sorenson.


When I found out I was pregnant as I was about to start a surgical fellow, which can mean a seven day, sixty (sometimes eighty) hour work week with erratic long nights of call, I thought a lot about what it would be like to do the work while pregnant and how to manage maternity leave (six weeks, worked the day I delivered). What I didn't think about was how I would establish a breastfeeding relationship during those first few short weeks and how I would manage to keep breastfeeding when I went back.  

Breastfeeding Memoirs: Returning to Work in the Navy

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week 2015, we are sharing inspirational stories from breastfeeding/working -- moms.  

Today’s story was written by Cinda Brown.


I’m an active duty Navy officer and mother of two girls. My journey to becoming a working, breastfeeding mother started almost 4 years ago with the birth of my first daughter. Breastfeeding was challenging in more ways than I could have imagined. I thought that it would just be easy and natural, not knowing that those two little words can mean so many different things.

Breastfeeding Memoirs: Trusting my Body when Returning to Work

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week 2015, we are sharing inspirational stories from breastfeeding/working moms.  

Today’s story was written by Georgina.


When I had to go back to work I knew I wanted to keep providing my son with the very best I could offer and one of them was his dear breastmilk.  I was very confused with the whole pumping at work idea. I had done some research at work before delivering as to where the lactation room was and what the process was to reserve the room.  I work at a hospital and I thought that just by going to the L&D department everyone would know where our lactation room was and it was going to be very easy to find.  Well to my surprise, no one knew exactly what I was referring to, all the nurses looked at me with puzzled faces and confused as to why an 8 month pregnant employee was asking about this room and they didn't even know where it was!  When I finally found it, it was a rather disappointing, sad room that looked like a utility closet, but at least it was clean and it had the necessities: a chair, a desk and a fridge.  

Breastfeeding Memoirs: My Three Bs

Breastfeeding Memoirs: My Three Bs

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week 2015, we are sharing inspirational stories from breastfeeding/working moms.  

Today’s story was written by Louanne Ferro.


Prior to May 27th, 2014, the word baby meant something very different to me: my baby was my business. At the young age of 17, I entered the world of cosmetology. Knowing I wanted to strive and create greatness in my industry, I focused on building. In 13 year's time, I had nurtured my baby and created a small empire. One of the leading educators for the world's largest professional beauty company, I frequently traveled to teach my craft.  In the heart of North Park, I opened my very own salon. My baby was thriving and I was the proud mother, spending further countless hours tending to make it what it is today.  Then, May 27th, 2014 happened, changing everything I knew about babies.

The test was positive. To my shock, my work "baby" was going to be replaced with a real-life, micro-human! My pregnancy was something my husband and I had been hoping for and we were thrilled!

Work. Pump. Repeat. with Jessica Shortall

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week 2015, we are sharing inspirational stories from breastfeeding/working moms.  Today’s story is a special interview with author, Jessica Shortall.  Jessica is an entrepreneurial mother of two, with a career dedicated to the intersection of business and doing good. She's been a Peace Corps Volunteer, a non-profit co-founder, the first Director of Giving for TOMS Shoes, and an LGBT advocate. She's the author of Work. Pump. Repeat: The New Mom's Survival Guide to Breastfeeding and Going Back to Work.


Jessica, what inspired you to write this book?

When I had my first baby, I was the first woman at the start-up where I worked to have a baby on the job. And my first business trip was a week in rural Nepal when my son was 5 months old. I was totally panicked about how to manage pumping and working, especially with such extreme travel, but I assumed that, as with everything on parenting, there was a book that would tell me exactly how to do it. I couldn't find what I needed: an intensely practical, non-judgmental, and approachable resource. I realized that if I wanted that to exist, I'd have to write it myself. So I set myself on what would become a five-year journey (my baby just turned five!!) of interviewing hundreds of working, breastfeeding moms and sharing their stories, their hacks, their triumphs, and their struggles.

How Can I Pump Enough for my Baby When I’m at Work?

Written by Ashley Treadwell, IBCLC

Going back to work can be a very stressful time for many new moms.  It’s difficult to leave your baby for the first time.  You may feel nervous about returning to a job you’ve been away from for months.  Your schedule/routine may have changed due to child-care arrangements.  Plus, if you’re anything like me, none of your work pre-pregnancy work clothes fit yet!  A concern that often adds to this stress is the fear that you may not be able to pump enough for your baby’s bottles while you’re at work. Some moms find that they are constantly playing a game of catch-up, trying to keep up with their baby’s intake while with the caregiver.  Below are some things you can do to improve your ability to keep up with your baby’s needs.

Help a Mama Out: Tips for Talking with your Boss about Pumping

'Help a Mama Out' Topic of the Week:

Tips for Talking with Your Boss about Pumping

What's your best tip for discussing your pumping rights/schedule with your boss? 

Shelly Hovies Rogers: Be assertive with your rights, but be flexible and willing to work with your boss and coworkers.  I found my workplace to be quite accommodating to me when I nicely, but matter of fact, told them what I needed.  Also, although I didn’t have to quote the state law, I familiarized myself with it, just in case I needed to use it. 

Kelly Reyes: Before I left for maternity leave, I discussed my need to pump with my boss and then HR, just to make sure we were all on the same page.  When I had issues with the way the ‘wellness room’ schedule was being managed, my boss went to bat for me and fixed the problem that day! 

Marie Bishop: My best advice is to know the law and stand up for yourself and your baby.  In states, such as California, it is required by law that your employer provides a non-restroom space that is private for you to pump.

Meggin Dueckman: We just talked about it!  We’re all pretty close at work, so it was no problem.  I was the first of our staff to want/need to pump at work.  Mind you, here in Canada we get a year of maternity leave, so it’s not as common for people to want to pump as frequently when they return to work.  I only pumped 1 times a day at work, more for my own comfort!

Jamie Howell Swope: As a teacher at a school, it wasn’t an easy process, but I went in knowing the law and advised my principal ahead of time why I wanted to meet with her.  That way she had time to think about how to make it work, too.

Kat Picson Berling: I was really lucky in that 2 of my coworkers were pumping moms, so they had paved the way.  I told my boss that I was going to take 2 pumping breaks at x and y time and I will be in this office and it will take 15 minutes.  He was fine with it.  I’m not going to lie…. Because I had a cubicle at work, it was sometimes difficult to find a place to pump.  Even our HR coordinator wasn’t sympathetic for me.  Just make sure to know the law. 

Chantel McComber: My advice would be to put your fears aside.  Sometimes it’s hard as a working mom to ask for things because not everyone has them.  Remember that you are doing this for your health and your baby’s health and those are two things that should always come first.

Jennifer Haak: When I discussed my date of return, I told my boss that I needed a lock installed on my office door and I explained why.

Andrea Blanco: First, know your right.  Be sure that your company falls under those rights.  Then file that information away and try *not* to use it as it can be perceived as a threat (and no one likes to be threatened.)  Second, have a plan in place.  I find that if you’re willing to have the conversation in advance, go into it as sweet as possible, and have it all planned out as to how it will work for you (with consideration given to work environment/demands/pumping law.)  Then, it is much harder for your employer to say no. 

For the United States Lactation Accommodation laws, check out Break Time for Nursing Mothers

So, You're Going Back To Work?

A few months ago, this spunky, firecracker mama started attending our weekly breastfeeding support group and I knew from the start that she was amazing!  Over these past months, Jessica has warmed the hearts of all of the moms in the group, as well as lifted their spirits with her quick wit and sass.  Well, Miss Jessica landed this fabulous new job a few weeks ago and ended her maternity leave a little sooner than she had planned for.  I have missed her parenting insight, so I thought I would interview her about her return to work, as a breastfeeding and pumping mama.  Well, as you can see, her insight prevails!

Thanks, Jessica for your candor and advice for those breastfeeding mamas returning to work!


First day back at work

What did you do to prepare for going back to work?

Finding a good childcare provider was a huge part of overcoming my fear of returning. I don't have family here and my partner works full-time as well. I probably went to a dozen home daycares and a handful of corporate ones. You have to find someone who has a philosophy similar to your own and you feel comfortable with. As I went to providers, I discovered there were alarm bells for me: if the television was on the entire time I was there, if the provider interacted with a child in a way that I didn't like, if the terms of the contract were suspicious. I went with my gut. In the end, I found a nanny I could trust.

Breastfeeding was the surprise stressor. I was depressed I wouldn't get to breastfeed Ellie during the day and I was worried about pumping. To get used to pumping, I started pumping at home. It helped me stockpile a supply. Since I was starting a brand-new job, I made sure to thoroughly read their policies on pumping. Read the laws and understand your rights. You don't have to go in waving a boob flag or anything but you can gently inform and educate employers. Be ready to offer options like suggestions for places to pump. My employer did not know I was pumping when I was made the offer and I didn't ask any questions until I had accepted. After that, when I ran into a snag, I made sure to ask the HR rep.


What worked? Would you do anything differently?

Ask about your work schedule! The biggest surprise to me was that my employer let me have a flexible schedule. I found that getting to work by 6:30am worked very well for my family. My daughter wakes at 5AM, I nurse her and put her back down to sleep. Then I get ready and leave. My partner then takes over the morning routine until the nanny get there. My daughter doesn't have an emotional separation from me in the morning and neither do I! Then, I come home early so we can hang out most of the afternoon.

I also can't say enough about BabyConnect. It's an app on my smart phone. It tracks feeding, sleeping, diapers, medication, etc. I used it religiously before I went back to work and my nanny has the app on his smartphone as well. There is something very comforting about glancing at my phone and seeing that she went down for her nap. It tracks how much breast milk she's taking by bottle so I know if what I am pumping at work is on par with what she's eating.


What advice can you offer to a breastfeeding mom going back to work?

For breastfeeding moms, whether they plan to go back to work or not, I recommend finding a way to have a relationship with your pump. In the same vein, let your child take a bottle once in a while. You may want to leave the house one day. You might not think so in the beginning, but eventually, you will. And the more practice you and your baby have, the less stressed both of you will be.

I had a very negative relationship with the pump because of some difficulties when I first started breastfeeding but I had to get over it. I started by letting myself eat chocolate while pumping, then moved to trashy magazines. At work, I run through my to-do list for the week or look at pictures of my daughter. My point is the pump is a tool to help you continue breastfeeding.

Jessica Hilt is fiction writer that works in the technology field. In the BC era (Before Child), I hosted elaborate dinner parties, drank heavily, and stayed up late. Now I love my slow cooker, drink more water than a fish, and think 9PM is late. But it's all worth it when my seven-month-old Ellie gives me that big, gummy smile.

Also, check out Jessica's video about why she loves going to a breastfeeding support group!