Working from home in the new normal affords parents some advantages: spending more time with their kids, seeing their baby’s milestones, and for breastfeeding moms – more chances to breastfeed. And while this breastfeeding mom-WFH mom flexibility has a higher chance of success, it can also leave us moms tired and burned out on both fronts.
Working breastfeeding moms might have got their routines down pat: have their pump, milk bags, and ice packs, and set a pumping sked throughout. But what about breastfeeding work from home moms? Granted, it can be easier to just latch while in front of the computer at home, but when you’re juggling a crying baby, video calls, and an active toddler all at the same time, things can get out of hand.
So to make things easier for you, here are a few tips on how to make breastfeeding while working from home, work.
Speak up about what you need
Work hours and boundaries can get blurry in a work from home setup, but you need to be clear about your work setup and your needs as a breastfeeding mom. Be transparent about your schedule and need for pumping breaks – especially if your work or company requires you to be in front of your computer working for a set number of hours. Remember that pumping breaks for breastfeeding moms is required and backed up by law, so you don’t have every right to demand it. If you have a more flexible work schedule but your bosses or colleagues are worried about your productivity, feel free to reassure them that moms, including you, are some of the most efficient and productive workers there is. Because honestly, we need to be to survive.
Plan your breaks accordingly
Once you have scheduled your feeding or pumping breaks, plan it out accordingly. You can block these breaks on your work calendar so your colleagues are well-informed and won’t set meetings at these times. Or try to plan your meetings around them. You should also decide whether to direct feed your baby or pump and bottle feed him. Direct feeding is OK because you won’t have to wash bottles or worry about nipple confusion, but it can be hard to do while juggling several tasks or video meetings at the same time – or you can also turn off your video and just inform your colleagues of the reason. On the other hand, it is easier to jump into a video call while pumping (you can just put on a breastfeeding cover or top, or even blanket).
Make the most of working from home
Another perk in working from home is you have all your resources within easy reach – you can easily wash and sterilize your pump parts and bottles and store your milk straight in your freezer. But at the same time, remember to not get caught up in household chores in the middle of work hours – because it will not end. Prioritize your pumping or latching during your breaks over regular household chores.
Make it work for you
Every mom has her own set of responsibilities, schedules, resources, childcare, and support. And all these will play a role in how you can make breastfeeding and working from home work. Some moms might have a nanny or other family members who can look after their kids while they work – so a pumping set up might work in this case especially for firm work hours. Other moms might not have childcare, so a direct feeding setup might work better in this case especially if work hours are flexible. Try to be creative about your setup and don’t be afraid to change it up if you feel that it’s not working for you or your family.