Nursing While Working Away from Home

as seen in Brooklyn Parent Magazine and on NY

I’m a new Mom who has returned to work. I’m also nursing which means I have to pump. Returning to work has been difficult for me and I’ve been depressed at leaving my baby but it’s this pumping every day that’s putting me over the edge. I’m getting more and more anxious every day. I constantly feel like crying. Any advice would be appreciated.

Dear New Mom,

Please remember that you are not alone. Most working moms are depressed about having to leave their babies and find that parenting a young one while working is a tremendous accomplishment requiring great physical and emotional stamina. Sadly, pumping while juggling the demands of a job, home and new infant is often untenable.

I more than understand if you ultimately need to stop or limit nursing your baby, however in case there are steps that you could take to make pumping at your workplace more manageable here are some ideas that might help.

New moms usually report that finding a pump that best suits their needs can make a world of difference in reducing the time involved. Excellent pumps can be pricey but well worth the expense. A local chapter of La Leche League can be an invaluable resource for this kind of information and many other forms of support. New moms I know have contacted La Leche for guidance or to reach out to others who have confronted challenges while pumping at work. Experienced mothers can provide a wealth of comfort and practical assistance.

Working moms who pump usually need concrete assistance from their employers and colleagues as well. When women can share details about the complexity and benefits of nursing it can help co-workers feel more involved and understanding. Finding and reaching out to associates who are parents or grandparents who are familiar with the challenges of nursing can also break through the isolation pumping moms can experience.

Parents I know have also found ways to have their infants visit them during the day for a feeding. If this is at all possible it can reduce the frequency of pumping, educate the office about what mothering a new little one is all about and of course give moms the opportunity to connect with their little ones.

Wearing clothes that make the process as easy as possible can also lessen the inconvenience and taking some time to secure or request a secluded spot to pump often creates a sense of privacy that can reduce tension for everyone. Even moving furniture or paperwork to create a visual barrier can be a helpful idea.

Many women understandably have had to make the painful decision to stop or cut back on nursing when the strain of pumping while working has led to frazzled nerves and unwanted tears.

Almost all moms and dads have been forced to periodically make the decision to stop giving the “ideal” to their child so that they can offer more of their full selves. As I believe that the foundation of children’s health and well being is built upon the relaxed and content time that they spend with their parents, these unfortunate decisions are usually correct.

As you do everything you can to take care of your self while taking care of your precious young one I think that whatever you do will go well.