Working Mom's Guide to Breastfeeding

Working Mom's Guide to Breastfeeding 1I remember being pregnant and planning my return to work with such care and precision. I would work part-time and pump in my office, I told myself. Then, I'd return home and snuggle with my bundle who I would rock to sleep and place in her crib in the room down the hall (where she would sleep all night).

Then, my little beauty arrived and she was much more precious and beloved than I had imagined. We were inseparable. There ended up being no crib and no walk down the hall (we were much happier with her snuggled up beside us). I also found that pumping was more difficult and time-consuming than I had imagined.

As the time drew near for my return to work, I cried and debated and prayed and listed the pros and cons. Sometimes, I felt sure I could return to work (and part of me definitely wanted to). Other times, I felt certain that I wouldn't be able to leave her.

In the end, I went in and told my boss that I couldn't return. I'll never forget when she said so matter-of-factly, "Why don't you bring the baby to work with you?" Her support and encouragement provided me with pure relief. I accepted her offer. My new "office partner" and I returned...her head bopping in tune to my keyboard as I worked.

My experience, coupled with the stories of many other moms that I admire, helped me to see that you can make working and breastfeeding work. Whether that means that you bring your baby to work with you or you work from home or you find that pumping works for you, you don't have to have one or the other. You can keep breastfeeding and work.

If you're looking for encouragement, advice, or pointers from moms who have been there, you might want to join a La Leche League group in your area.

Or read a book like Hirkani's Daughters: Women Who Scale Modern Mountains to Combine Breastfeeding and Working, where you'll find stories about moms in various careers from around the world who have successfully maintained breastfeeding alongside their careers (you'll also find great tips about expressing milk, taking baby to work, and more).

Finally, read the 20 Tips for Working and Breastfeeding article on the Ask Dr. Sears website.
Working Mom's Guide to Breastfeeding 2
WIN IT! One winner will receive a copy of Hirkani's Daughters: Women Who Scale Modern Mountains to Combine Breastfeeding and Working, compiled and edited by Jennifer Hicks. To enter, simply leave a comment and your e-mail address on this post prior to Monday, January 7, at midnight. The winner will be announced and contacted on Tuesday, January 8. * Winner must provide a U.S. mailing address.

* UPDATED * The winner is #24 holly. Congratulations!

(Photo from the Work and Pump website)

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31 comments on “Working Mom's Guide to Breastfeeding”

  1. Pumping at work is much harder and more time-consuming than I had ever imagined it would be--but so worth it for my little girl! I'd love to win this book.

  2. I would love to win this book! I have been back at work now since mid-October and it is really a struggle to get it all done and work pumping into my work schedule.

    Your boss sounds amazing!

  3. Pick me! I'm trying to juggle work, a baby, getting my 3yo to preschool and back, and finding time to pump in between.

    I'm not sure which one is my toughest job!

  4. I feel you on that one.. I worked in a hopsital and you would think we could have found a good place to pump but it wasn't so much finding the place as them allowing the breastfeeding moms to take the breaks even short ones.. someone always busted in on me as soon as I got my pump started.. how ackward is that?

    I blogged you too

  5. i returned to work recently and am pumping while at work. i am lucky to have a clean, private office i can use to pump. i know there are so many women who are not as lucky (whether pumping in a bathroom stall or not at all), and that makes me sad.

  6. What a wonderful opportunity for you and your little bub, Stephanie. I've never heard of anything like that happening here in Australia. I'm currently half way through my maternity leave and I'm starting to stress about the prospect of returning to work and having to leave my son with strangers to be looked after. I haven't been able to express - I had no idea it could be so hard for some women - so continuing breastfeeding will be very difficult once I go back to work. I'm hoping my supply won't be affected so that we can continue to have a morning and evening feed if that's what we want. Unfortunately like most of us finances dictate the need for me to return to paid work. I hope more bosses start to recognise the benefit of allowing flexibility for mothers returning to work. It's not only positive for the woman and child but will increase loyalty toward the employer. So everyone wins!

  7. I'm not entering the contest since my kids are 4 & 6 now...breastfeeding days are long gone. But I just wanted to say great story. I went back to work after my daughter and tried pumping in the only private place...the bathroom. It was not a pleasant experience. I had some other issues with breastfeeding too and after a long struggle I switched to bottles. Great to know there are supportive workplaces out there.

  8. What an amazing (and rare) boss you have. I'm really curious about how your working arrangement works with your daughter in your office. Have you ever posted here about it? I worked from home FT until I was done breastfeeding my daughter. Pumping was always difficult for me, and I know I wouldn't have been able to make it work pumping in my office. Luckily, my then-manager agreed to allow me to work from home. Of course, I ended up quitting anyway later on...

    Anyway, the resources you posted are so valuable, and I hope they help the many breastfeeding mothers returning to work soon.

  9. This is perfect for my daughter who is expecting in Feb. she is in the army in Italy we are going to see her would be a great gift to take with to give her. Count me in for this great book!

  10. Wow, that sounds just like my story, right up to the "why don't you bring your baby to work." I ended up resigning because bf'ing was so important and pumping didn't work out in the beginning! I would love to have this book! Thanks!

  11. I had alot of trouble after my first daughter was born....but with the dedication of my amazing midwife, LLL and a LC I was successful and continue to tandem nurse both of my daughters!
    [email protected]

  12. That's one thing that I like about western countries. You can actually combine work and baby and many employers allow that. But not in Asian countries somehow. (I'm in Hong Kong.) Bringing your baby to work is practically unheard of!

  13. As a lactation consultant with a particular personal and professional interest in helping mothers keep breastfeeding after they return to work, I'd love to have a copy of this book to share with the mothers I counsel.

  14. I am encouraged by your post. I have to go back to work in less than 2 weeks...It was either barely make it each month, or go back and have the security of my income. Being a nurse I work 3 12 hour days so I still have 4 days with my son. I am really concerned about the impact of long days without my son (in all aspects really). I pray the stress doesn't compromise my milk supply. I've started pumping so while it's time consuming, I am pretty successful. If there is any unit a nursing mom should have support on it is the NICU so I'm praying for some very understanding co-workers. I'd love some practical tips...

    Oh...I just saw the Dr. Sears link...nevermind! : )

  15. This book sounds like great encouragement. I'd love to win this book for my sister, who will be returning to work soon after the end of her maternity leave.

  16. Stephanie ~ I just wanted to say WOW that you had such a supportive boss! Don't enter me into the drawing - I am hoping to be DONE with breastfeeding my 2.5 year old soon!!

  17. that is such a blessing! i am having the hardest time (in my head and heart) leaving baby girl when i work... and its only 2 days a week!

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