Make Work and Breastfeeding Work.
Breast feeding can be complicated even during maternity leave, when you have all day to master an effective latch-on. Then you head back to work, and it gets even crazier. But never fear. If you want to continue nursing, you can.
If you decide to keep breast-feeding, master the pump now; it’s going to be your new best friend.
Drink lots of water to maximize your output, pump during breaks or over lunch, refrigerate your expressed milk while at the office, and bring it to your childcare provider to be given to your baby in bottles the following day.
I am dairy cow. Hear me roar.
Beyond these pumping logistics, which can be learned pretty quickly, there is the larger issue: How to attach a pump to your chest and express milk at work without feeling like an overpaid dairy cow in cute shoes? How to stride confidently out of the designated nursing room, jauntily toting your expressed milk like any high-powered career gal nonchalantly sporting a Grande Soy Latte?
This is, of course, a rhetorical question. The dairy cow self-image, as far as I can tell, is an inevitable part of the pumping reality. You can, however, justify the weirdness by reminding yourself that pumping (a) is good for your baby, (b) burns a few hundred calories sweat-free, and (c) minimizes any residual working mom guilt. (You’re willingly strapping a motorized suction cup to your chest when you could be catching up on personal e-mail; your maternal devotion is clearly beyond reproach.)
Claim a private pumping station.
If you’re really lucky, you have an office with a lockable door, or you work at a company that has designated nursing rooms. In either case, pumping is a snap. Otherwise, you’ll need to claim an unused space or head to the ladies room for pumping sessions.
Explain your pumping plan to your manager.
Granted, this can be a slightly uncomfortable conversation if your boss is one of those uptight guys who successfully shirked diaper duty in his house or, worse yet, doesn’t even have kids. But it should be done—unless you can subtly fit in pumping over lunch without being missed. And don’t feel guilty about your time spent pumping. You could be taking smoking breaks, right?
Invest in nursing pads. Lots and lots of nursing pads.
You’re sitting in a meeting, attempting to pay attention, but the guy up front has a seemingly endless series of PowerPoint slides and a seriously distracting arsenal of hand gestures. Eventually, your mind wanders to a happy place: your baby. You picture her engaged in her latest hobby—earnestly attempting to stick her toes into her mouth—and suddenly you recognize a warm, tingly sensation in your chest.