Let me start off by saying that I am so excited to be able to write this post! When I was a first-time mom with my daughter, I wanted more than anything to breastfeed. I knew that it could be difficult so I read the books, researched online, and asked for advice. By the time my daughter was born, I was confident we would be able to share that bond.
(This post contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a very small commission if you clink on a link and buy something. For more information please read our Disclosure Policy. Thanks for your support!)
However, after a difficult labor and some bad advice from my lactation consultant, my daughter was unable to latch. She began losing weight rapidly and I felt helpless. After a few weeks of trying and many tears, I made the difficult decision to switch to formula. By four months old, I had stopped breastfeeding completely. Now almost four years old, she is as healthy and happy as can be. However, I am still a little sad that breastfeeding didn’t work out the way that I had imagined with her.
With my son, things were much different and I was much more prepared (even though I thought that couldn’t be possible). He just turned seven months old (eek!) and I’m so happy to report that the breastfeeding is still going strong. Not only that, but I am so much busier this time around. In addition to mommy and wife duties and blogging part-time, I also work full-time as a therapist. Breastfeeding is a huge time commitment and while not for everyone, if you want to make it work, I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to let breastfeeding as a working mom discourage you from trying. Here are my best breastfeeding tips for the working mom.
Preparation is key
Although breastfeeding did not work out when I was a SAHM with my daughter, I learned a lot from my experience and applied those lessons to my son. It is important to be prepared for anything. Until your baby is born, it is impossible to tell if they will latch immediately or struggle, if you’ll experience clogged ducts or mastitis, or not. My advice is to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. This means stocking up on supplies.
Had I known about the magic of a nipple shield with my daughter, we may have been able to successfully breastfeed. Nipple shields are amazing for helping babies latch who may have trouble latching for several reasons. They can also be used if you’re experiencing cracking, soreness, or nipple pain. Either way, a few nipple shields should be kept handy and ready to go.
This stuff works miracles for cracked or sore nipples. Breastfeeding can be very painful in the first few weeks, which can discourage you from continuing. Lanolin cream can help reduce the pain and help you make it through to the other side. (It does get better!)
Another must-have to reduce soreness and help with the pain that comes with engorgement or mastitis. Just pop these babies in the freezer and stick them in your bra for instant relief. Bonus: They can also be heated up in the microwave and used to help stimulate milk flow when pumping.
Build a stockpile
I was fortunate enough to have saved up 12 weeks of maternity leave and in terms of breastfeeding, I used this time wisely. This meant pumping after every feeding and throughout the night. Everything I pumped immediately went into a breastmilk freezer bag, and by the time my leave was up, I had enough breastmilk to last for a few months. This will come in handy for when you return to work and someone else will be bottle feeding your baby, increasing your supply, and for times when you may want a night out or to indulge in a drink.
Another huge advantage of creating a stockpile is that if you have some left over at the end of your time breastfeeding or created more supply than you have demand, there are so many babies out there who could benefit. Check out the National Milk Bank to find out how and where you can donate in your area.
Invest in a quality breastpump
Since you will be spending so much time hooked up like a milking cow, investing in a quality breastpump is an absolute must. Do not scrimp when it comes to your pump. The Medela Pump in Style double electric breastpump has been a godsend for me. It comes with a battery pack and wall plug and discreet tote so that you can take it with you to work and back home if you are going to stick with just one (see below). It also comes with a removable cooler bag with an ice pack that fits up to four bottles so you can easily pump and store at work without having to use the office fridge until you make it home. Recently, many insurance companies have started to cover the cost of this pump (can I get an amen?!) so check with your doctor to see if you apply.
Keep Spare Accessories at work
Unless you have a short commute and can leave work at the drop of a dime, I suggest keeping a spare pump and accessories at work in case you forget something one day. Unfortunately, for me, I have an hour commute to work and learned this lesson the hard way. After forgetting my pump accessories at home, I had to go out and buy a hand pump. Now I keep my hand pump and spare accessories at work and my electric breastpump at home and this has worked really well for me.
Use Lactation Aids
One of the mistakes I made with my daughter was failing to use any type of lactation aid to keep up my supply when we were struggling. When you’re breastfeeding, your supply may dip unexpectedly but there are great ways to get it back up in no time. Water is your first and best friend! Keep a water bottle with you at all times so that you are hydrated throughout the day.
Lactation cookies are another great option. I hadn’t tried them myself until a co-worker made a few too many batches for herself and shared the wealth. Oh man, I was hooked! Not only did I notice an increase in my supply almost immediately, but hello, they are delicious! Check out this recipe from Dessert Now Dinner Later.
Another popular lactation aid is mother’s milk tea. This organic, herbal tea has been known to boost milk supply and even decreased colic and gas in breastfed babies. Word of warning: This tea tastes like black licorice so try adding sugar or honey if you aren’t a fan.
Find your support
One of the best breastfeeding tips for the working mom that I can leave is to have support. Breastfeeding can be an amazing bonding experience for mother and child, but it can also be incredibly difficult and taxing. Surround yourself with supportive people, whether that’s your partner, family, or friends who can help you in those trying times. No matter what happens, remember that you are not alone and it is okay to ask for help.
Have any breastfeeding tips for the working mom of your own? Leave a comment below! Share or pin this post with your breastfeeding working mom friends, it’s a great resource to have!