World Breastfeeding Week: 4 Tips for Breastfeeding & Working

Did you know that August 1st was the beginning of World Breastfeeding Week?  Today is the last official day, and I couldn't not touch on it.  Breastfeeding has been an interesting journey for us, that has sadly drawn to a close (my inner self is sobbing hysterically right now).

World Breastfeeding Week's focus this year is on breastfeeding and work and making it work! Many moms struggle with when is the appropriate time for them to return to the workforce.  Some mothers have to return before they feel emotionally, mentally, or physically ready.
World Breastfeeding Week : Work & Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding moms have to worry about pumping breast milk for their baby, maintaining supply after returning to work, ensuring that baby is fed properly and the proper amount while mom is away, and that breast milk is stored and prepared properly in addition to any other non-breastfeeding related worries.

Both Netflix and Microsoft have announced updates and improvements to their maternity leave policies this week, and Google, HP, and Cisco are known for having some of the greatest maternity leave policies in the US.  However, the US workforce is mostly lacking when compared to the rest of the world's parent leave policies.

With that in mind, here are 4 tips for successfully continuing your breastfeeding journey after returning to the workforce.

1. Know your rights!

It's important to know your legal rights!  You can read about laws by state here and you can read federal law, including regards to pumping at work.

2. Buy a good pump.

You may be able to get your breast pump for free thanks to the Affordable Care Act, unless they're grandfathered plans.
Your health insurance plan must cover the cost of a breast pump – and may offer to cover either a rental or a new one for you to keep. Your plan may have guidelines on whether the covered pump is manual or electric, how long the coverage of a rented pump lasts, and when they’ll provide the pump (before or after birth). But it’s up to you and your doctor to decide what's right for you.
It's important to get a quality pump if you want to maintain supply at work.  I recommend and double electric or hospital grade pump.

3. Pump often.

It's important to pump every 2 to 3 hours when away from baby to mimic baby's normal feeding schedule and to maintain supply.  A rule of thumb is that it's better to pump short periods more often then long periods less often.

4. Don't get bullied.

Make sure your employer and coworkers understand that you are doing this.  I have dealt with shaming from people close to me.  It's hard, but don't let anyone bully you out of your convictions.  If you're struggling because your work is not properly accommodating you, reach out for help (including legal counsel, if needed).

I hope all you breastfeeding mommies out there continue to nurse on and know that you rock!

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