Being a Working Mom and Pumping
Being a working mom is challenging, with stresses of pumping, balancing milestones, childcare, and life's demands. Juggling it all can be quite a wild ride.
High Expectations vs Reality
We expect to do it all, but how?
That’s a good question. My response to that is: Do we have to do it all? Why do we feel the need to be able to do it all?
As a working mom, I want to be able to not only do my job and come home, but also make it the whole year with breastfeeding, have play dates set up for my children, attend all of the events, and so much more. Only problem is that there is one of me, Houston traffic, and not enough time in the day.
That is when it hits me… the overwhelming wave of mom guilt. We’ve all felt it at one time or another for various reasons. It is the reason why I have pushed myself past ordinary limits.
I have to take a deep breath and remember that I need to take it one day and goal at a time. If I don’t get to do everything, it isn’t the end of the world. Doing what I can is what matters. If I burn myself out on trying to do it all, then I am no good to my kids or husband.
Jumping The Hurdle
Pumping at work is definitely an area that I have to work on the hardest. I’m usually trying to pep myself up several times a day. There are days that I want to crumble from the stress of daily family life, pumping, and work life. Some days I am like “Hey, I got this!” and others I get in my own head, and am like “How am I ever going to make it the full year?!”
I have to remind myself that this is only a phase. Each day is like a hurdle, and one day, I won’t be pumping four times a day at work. I just need to take it one day at a time.
It’s also encouraging when I see my baby gaining so much weight and so fast. I didn’t get that with my oldest child. He didn’t gain weight and I was barely able to pump 2 ounces per 30 minute session. I cried, stressed, and tried every cookie, shake, power pump, etc. You name it I tried it. Sadly, I had to give up a month into working. That is why this time around, I was determined to make it. I read blogs, lactation websites, and got advice from my friends. I also prepared myself mentally. It seems, to me, that the Breastfeeding and pumping journey is more mental than physical at times.
Tips For Heading Back To Work and Pumping
1. Take A Deep Breath and Relax. Take A Deep Breath and Relax.
I know it seems impossible some days. There are meetings, responsibilities that need to get taken care of, and you know that it is important to keep a strict pump schedule. Stress can make it hard for your body to have a let down, or causes you to have a lower output. This, in turn, can cause you even more stress. Find a book, tv show, or even music that helps to relax you while pumping. This will help to distract you from the things that are worrying about.
2. Find Your Own Groove.
Feeling rushed at work when trying to pump? Look at your day. If you have time on your drive to and from work, try adding that pump. You may need to get a car charger for your pump, or even look at a portable pump in which you can drive while pumping. This can give you a more relaxing time to pump because you aren’t have to rush, it gives you a little extra time, and are done by the time you get to work. Also, talk with your employer about your pump schedule. If you have trouble with them giving you time, check the laws in your state. Most states require employers to give you time to pump.
It is very important to drink a lot of water during the day. It’s helpful to use the water jugs that the hospitals give you when you have your baby. If you start to notice a smaller output than normal, try drinking more water.
4. Eat Healthy.
There are many foods like: granola bars, oatmeal, adding flaxseed to your lunch, eggs, etc. that are helpful with output. Pack some of these to eat throughout the day.
Each day that you have pumped while working is a MAJOR SUCCESS. You’ve overcome the stress, frustration, and busy day to accomplish your goal. You deserve to throw yourself a little victory party or even do a victory dance with each day you are triumphant in your breastfeeding and pumping journey!
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Shauney Behnke is a mom of a son (4) and a daughter (3 mnths). Shauney is an elementary teacher, breastfeeding advocate, and author of the blog “Adventures of Ethan and Izzy”. She writes content that helps to encourage and educate moms and families about a wide range of topics including: breastfeeding, baby products, parenting frustrations and victories, and many more as her children grow.
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