Breastfeeding at the Office: How I Made It Work

Photo: Veer / The Bump
Photo: Veer / The Bump

It’s hard to believe my baby girl, Julia, is 3 months old today.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 12 weeks that I had off from work to stay home with her, but our wallets would simply not allow us to live on my husband’s income alone, so as of yesterday, I am officially a working mother.  I am also breastfeeding, and would like to continue to do so exclusively until Julia is at least a year old.  After two days back at work I can already tell that working and breastfeeding is a big commitment, but it’s one I am willing to make for the sake of my baby.

Before coming back to work, I made it clear to my employer that I was planning on breastfeeding and that I was going to need some accommodations and concessions to help allow me to do that.  Luckily, there is a federal law that protects breastfeeding mothers and requires employers to provide them with a reasonable amount of time and a comfortable place, that is not a bathroom, to pump breastmilk.

There are two things that have made this transition go as smoothly as possible.

First, having a Lactation Consultant available who I can contact day or night with questions or concerns about breastfeeding.  She has made herself available by phone or text message to answer any questions I have.  She was very helpful in the early days of breastfeeding when I had questions about latching on, proper positioning, and how often to feed the baby, and she has been equally helpful the past few days as I transition to being a working mother and to nursing only part-time while pumping the rest of the time.

The second thing that has been helpful has been talking to my employer about creative options that make working and breastfeeding a little easier.  There are creative solutions that you and your employer can come up with that will help your breastfeeding relationship with your baby.  Maybe you can work longer hours but take a long break in the middle of the day to go breastfeed the baby at lunch time.  Maybe you can work shorter hours and skip your lunch break (or eat lunch at your desk) so that you don’t have to pump at work as many times.  Most employers are generally open to creative solutions when you can think of them!  After two days I can tell that it’s going to be very time-consuming but it’s worth every ounce that my baby can get!

How do you balance work and breastfeeding?

Plus, more from The Bump:

Top 10 Breastfeeding Tips for New Moms

Best Buys for Breastfeeding Moms

11 Things You Didn’t Know About Breastfeeding