Working Moms

working mom and baby

5 tips for pumping success when you return to work

Returning to work after having your baby can be a mixed bag of feelings. On the one hand, no one can blame you for feeling a little excited about the prospect of spending time with adults. On the other, you’re definitely going to miss that little bundle of joy while you’re away. If you’re breastfeeding, it can be even more daunting and more emotional. How do you find time during the workday to pump? Will your colleagues be supportive?

Don’t worry. We’ve been there ourselves, and we have five tips that will help you make the transition smoothly.

Know your rights

Thanks to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), most employers are required to provide reasonable break time for nursing mothers to express breast milk. They must also provide a private space that is not a bathroom in which employees can express milk at their discretion. There are some exemptions, which leads to our next tip.

Know your workplace pumping policies

Some workplaces are exempt from the Break Time For Nursing Mothers law. For example, if your workplace has fewer than fifty employees and they can show that following the law would create an undue hardship, they do not have to provide nursing breaks. Talk to your employer early to learn their pumping policies. If they don’t have policies yet, work with them to establish expectations before you return to work.

Prepare ahead of time

Pumping at work is much more common than it once was, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to walk right into the first day without a plan in place. Don’t wait until the last minute. Get all your ducks in a row and your supplies gathered together a month or two before you go back. That gives you plenty of time to check and double-check to make sure you’ve got everything you need, including flanges and freezer bags. Around the same time, start building up a stash of frozen breast milk to make sure you’ve got backup if your first few weeks are more hectic than you anticipated.

Start practicing now

Part of being prepared is practicing, so start pumping a month or more before you go back to work to get the hang of it. Then, practice pumping in your work clothes to make sure you’re at ease when you return to the workplace.

Pick a pump that works for workplaces

The right breast pump makes all the difference when it comes to returning to work, and one of our personal favorites is also covered by insurance. The Elvie Stride was created by working mothers to work for working mothers. The hands-free bra is worn under clothing and collects milk in-bra, plus it’s ultra-quiet, which makes it super discreet. You can literally pump at your desk on in the cab of a truck with the Stride! That makes returning to work so much easier.

If you’re a mom trying to balance work with nursing, the working moms at Milk N Mamas Baby are on your side. Never hesitate to reach out to us if you need a little extra support and encouragement.

military mom frustrated by lack of nursing support

How to support breastfeeding moms in demanding jobs

No one reading this blog will be surprised to learn that moms make up the fastest-growing segment of the labor force. While many working moms are in traditional fields of education and healthcare, more and more women are finding employment on construction sites, in the military, and in other physically demanding careers. Among these working women, 6 in 10 are new mothers who are just getting the hang of breastfeeding.

What challenges do nursing moms in physically demanding jobs experience?

In 2021, breastfeeding Olympic athletes made the news because they were banned from bringing their nursing children with them. U.S. marathon runner Aliphine Tuliamuk and soccer player Alex Morgan petitioned the Tokyo Olympic committee to ease the ban, but the response of the Olympic Committee did little to improve the situation. Children were forced to stay outside the Olympic Village in strict quarantine in hotel rooms. Given the conditions, many of the breastfeeding athletes chose to leave their infants at home, a decision that has the potential to disrupt their nursing relationship in the long run.

While these harsh limitations were imposed because of COVID, it’s a stark reminder of how nursing mothers and their infants are often an afterthought in employee policymaking, in particular in more physically demanding professions. Moms face numerous challenges when they’re attempting to return to work while nursing, including:

  • Finding time to take pumping breaks during long shifts,
  • Lack of an appropriate private space for pumping breaks,
  • Lack of support from employers and colleagues.

How do these challenges impact breastfeeding?

Obviously, limited time and space creates a barrier to breastfeeding and pumping. However, even when businesses and institutions like the military provide the time and space required by the Break Time for Nursing Mothers provision of the ACA in 2010, they often neglect to actually create a support system, which proves to be even more important to mothers and babies.

Nursing mothers who feel unsupported in the workplace are also more likely to lack confidence in breastfeeding, and that takes a serious toll on how long they are willing to nurse. In fact, support, in general, plays an outsized role in how long women continue breastfeeding and pumping. According to the CDC, unsupportive work policies, lack of family support, and unsupportive hospital practices and policies are all obstacles for nursing moms to overcome.

How does supporting breastfeeding moms impact the workplace?

In 2008, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources released their Business Case for Breastfeeding. In this study, they found that investing in lactation support services in the workplace produces a return of three dollars for every one dollar invested in breastfeeding support. When military moms and other hardworking mothers feel supported, the study found improvements in the following areas:

  • greater employee retention,
  • increased productivity,
  • lower healthcare costs,
  • increased employee engagement, and
  • and lower employee absenteeism rates.

How can I support breastfeeding moms in demanding jobs?

Support legislation that supports breastfeeding moms.

Stay abreast (pun intended) of federal and state laws that impact breastfeeding moms, including those who are working. If your state has room for improvement, call your legislators and demand it. You can find specific laws related to breastfeeding here.

If you are a business or organization, become an advocate for nursing moms.

Businesses that provide real, meaningful support for breastfeeding and pumping mothers will have a stellar employee for life. Mothers who feel seen and supported will have an enormous positive influence of company culture, and you will have an enormous positive influence on a healthier, happier community.

Get creative with implementing effective strategies for supporting nursing moms.

Clinical studies have found a number of strategies that enhance breastfeeding among working women, including:

  • early postpartum support,
  • maternity leave policies,
  • teleworking,
  • flexible working hours,
  • access to space and time to extract milk,
  • support from colleagues and supervisors, and
  • the existence of explicit policies to support breastfeeding working mothers.

It’s Time To Start Supporting Breastfeeding Moms

Filling physically demanding jobs is already a challenge for many employees. Making positions more attractive to nursing mothers has the potential to attract and retain valuable new employees. If you’re a mom trying to balance work with nursing, the working moms at Milk N Mamas Baby are on your side. Never hesitate to reach out to us if you need a little extra support and encouragement.

young mother breastfeeding baby on train

Here’s to strong women

May we know them

At Milk N Mamas Baby, we’re proud to support the strongest women we know – new moms. You’ve carried another life for nine months, nurturing it and protecting it. You’ve endured excruciating pain to deliver your newborn safely into the world, and you sacrifice daily to give your children everything they need to grow up healthy, strong, and happy.

If you’re one of our clients, you’ve chosen to breastfeed because you believe it gives your babies the healthiest start possible. And you’re right.

However, breastfeeding can be a challenge. It’s not always a walk in the park. Even moms who have the opportunity to stay home while nursing experience ups and downs. It can be exhausting and frustrating to adjust to a new life with baby.

We know working moms who are faced with guilt and fatigue as they try to squeeze pumping into their busy schedule. Likewise, many of our clients are enlisted in the military. They face an endless round of responsibilities and regimens in addition to their role as mom. Nevertheless, they remain just as committed to nursing and pumping to provide their newborns the health boost offered by breast milk.

We are proud to know you, and you inspire us daily to go the extra mile: for you, for our own kids, and for all the women we come in contact with.

May we be them

We’re moms, too, and we’re also working women. We started Milk N Mamas Baby to provide a convenient, compassionate service to the hard-working women we admire. We started it because we believe in the power of breastfeeding to build healthy humans and healthy bonds between mothers and their children.

It’s not been easy to build a business from the ground up, but we’re strong women. We believe in this work, and we think it’s worth the long days. We hope you feel our enthusiasm and our commitment when you call us for support.

May we raise them

Whether you’re a mom nursing at home, a mom pumping breastmilk on her lunch break, or a mom in the military, you’ve got our admiration. More importantly, you’ve got the admiration of all those little girls you’re helping raise. You’re showing them all the things that are possible for strong women. Here’s to you, mama!

Breast Pumping at Work

Tackling Breast Pumping at Work Like a Boss

Is your last day of maternity leave rapidly approaching and you have no idea how you’re going to tolerate pumping breast milk at work? Rest assured, mama — you’re not alone. Every working mom dedicated to feeding her child breast milk has walked in your shoes.

We’ll give you some tips to help ease your transition as you go back to work so your baby can continue to benefit from that liquid gold.

Know What You’re Entitled To

Not every boss is going to bend over backward to make sure you have everything you’re entitled to by law when you’re pumping at work. You may find yourself having to ask and fight for things your boss should provide you with. Stay fierce —your baby is counting on you for its nutritional needs and that’s far more important than playing nice at the workplace.

Create a Checklist

Maternity leave goes by shockingly fast. Before you know it, you’ll have to be headed back to your job. The time to plan, though, is before that happens.

A month before you return to work, make a checklist of items that have to be addressed before you go back. You’ll want to start a freezer stash of breast milk and discuss with your boss where and when you’ll be pumping at the workplace.

Closer to the date, you should ensure you have all the equipment you’ll need for pumping in a convenient bag you can carry to work.

Choose Your Pump Carefully

Before heading to the workplace, give careful thought about the kind of pump you want to buy. It should be portable, operate at more than one speed, be double electric so you can pump both breasts at once, not be too loud, and operate on a battery or power cord.

Write Out a Pumping Schedule

You can try to wing it instead of having a written plan in place. But you’ll likely find it easier to commit to a pumping schedule when it is in writing. It’s too easy to accidentally skip or push back pumping sessions if your schedule isn’t written down.

You don’t want to forget to pump for too long or you’ll face the possibility of engorgement, clogged milk ducts, and diminished milk supply. You should try to pump, even at work, around every three hours.

Try to Relax

Relaxing isn’t easy to do at work during normal circumstances. But when you add a pump, naked breasts, and potentially weird coworkers, it can get even harder to relax.

If you find yourself given a place to pump where you don’t feel comfortable, getting that let-down reflex can be a real problem. To help solve this issue, play some relaxing music on low while pumping or carry around a picture of your baby or one of their onesies that has that precious baby smell on it.

Take Some Shortcuts

Pumping at work can take up a good chunk of your workday, so you’re probably eager to not waste any more time than you have to. That’s why shortcuts can come in handy. Here’s one of our favorites for pumping breast milk at home or at work.

You don’t have to fully wash your breast pump after each use. When you’re at work, simply rinse it with hot water and put the removable pump parts that come in contact with breast milk in a large Ziploc bag, zip it up, and put it in the refrigerator. Then when you need it again in three hours, take it out and pump again.

You should always wash it at the end of the day though — you don’t want old milk on the pump the next day.

Be Ready for a Bumpy Ride

It doesn’t matter how ready you think you are for pumping while at work, you’re going to experience some hiccups. Maybe you’ll miss your baby far more than you anticipated while you’re at work or it won’t be as easy as you thought to carve out enough pumping time during your workday.

When the road gets tough, remind yourself that it’s worth every step. And if you can make it through the first week or two, you’ll start to fall into a routine and it will seem much easier.