I have a new baby, and I’m doing this mommy thing for the first time. Every mom out there knows how much of an emotional minefield the whole experience is. The wild range and intensity of emotions that come with the first baby, and that’s just doing everyday mommy things. Then there's the emotions of navigating going back to work.
“Baby brain” is bad enough without missing and worrying about your baby like crazy, while trying to be smart and productive at work. Talk about emotional labor!
I feel tremendously fortunate in the back-to-work department for one big reason, I’m self-employed. And while I don't have the ‘standard' maternity leave, I’m my own boss and set my hours and availability. Many moms don't have this type of flexibility in their to full-time jobs. One of the big problems to solve around returning to work (besides insane child care costs) is keeping your little one supplied with breast milk.
Enter breast pumps!
As you know there are two types, electric and manual.
I remember being really confused and undecided about which pump I needed before my son’s birth. Turns out I needed both types!
That was decided for me by having to stay at the hospital for a couple of days after birth, and my milk supply coming in fast – that electric pump really saved us. These kinds of scenarios however are tough to predict, so my advice for other new moms now is to hold off on the expensive electric pumps until you know you need one, because you may not. However, if you’ll be going back to work full-time while exclusively breastfeeding though, an electric pump may be handy there.
In my case, having served its purpose, my fancy electric pump is sitting unused because I’m relying exclusively on my Philips Avent Comfort manual breast pump.
Using a manual breast pump before work
Right before my husband comes home from work to take over the parenting while I dash off to see clients, I pump a few ounces with the manual pump. It is way faster and less fidgety than setting up the electric pump, and I’m not tied to the wall outlet.
I’m sure it’s amusing for my hubby to come home and see me standing the middle of the nursery half dressed, plying the pump in the 2 minutes I have to do it before I leave for work. Luckily, using the PTPA-approved Philips Avent manual pump really does only take a few minutes to express enough for a meal because it's comfortable and painless for me. Afterwards it all comes apart easily enough for cleaning.
Some moms may even prefer manual pumping at work because it’s much more portable, and virtually silent. The uGrow app will help track these pumping sessions.
Once you have the feeding thing and the childcare thing figured out, the only thing left is to weather is the separation from your baby. Here are some tips that I found helpful on the days I leave for work:
- Use the manual pump earlier in the day as well as right before you leave, so there’s a bit extra, in case of delays or if little one is having an especially hungry moment. This will help reduce stress about whether your baby has enough to eat if you are running behind. Use the uGrow App to track your pumping and nursing sessions.
- Get whoever is watching your baby to text you snapshots. It’s reassuring to see the baby happy, calm, or sleeping.
- Pass along to the caregiver the little tricks you’ve learned that work to calm your baby. It’s helpful to know that your caregiver has as many options with them. My guy sometimes likes it if you gently blow on his face, or pat his thigh.
- Remind yourself that a well baby has very few basic needs: food, cleanliness, sleep, and company. Your caregiver will meet those needs, so at the end of the day, all will be well. Cranky, missing-mama-terribly kinds of days happen, and they suck for the little one, but they'll manage – and be that much happier when you’re home again.
Stay strong, Mamas!
Disclosure: I am part of the PTPA Brand Ambassador Program with Philips Avent and I received compensation as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.
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