Survey Says: Working Moms Struggle!
Working moms struggle to feel supported in their pumping/breastfeeding journey. New Little Life wanted to dig deeper and understand why. That’s why we surveyed working moms, to understand their biggest concerns, worries, and struggles about pumping. 500 working moms responded! This blog post will summarize the results of the survey. Hopefully, if you are a working mom, these responses will help you feel less alone in this journey. Know that other moms are thinking these same things, too! If you are pregnant or on maternity leave and prepping to go back to work, hopefully you glean some helpful information for the near future!
(This post was originally a video. Check it out below!)
This blog post is organized by the nine questions in the working moms survey. Read on for the summary of the responses!
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A Working Moms Struggle: Where You Work
Responses from the working moms survey indicate that a lot of working moms work in healthcare. Jobs like CNAs, nurses, doctors, physicians, radiology techs, really across the whole spectrum. Another large portion of the respondents were teachers. Others have office management jobs. Some had very interesting odds and ends type jobs. A large portion of moms had their own office.
Where You are in Your Journey
50% said that they were back to work already. So, that means a lot of moms who responded to the working moms survey are already in the middle of their pumping journey and willing to give you some advice! 30% were pregnant and working. The other 20% were on maternity leave.
Working Moms Struggle: Deciding Your Plan for Breastfeeding/Pumping
75% said that they breastfed at home and then pumped at work. 25% said that they were exclusively pumping. The exclusive pumping group either did so from the beginning or started exclusively pumping when they went back to work. The other percentage was full of unique situations. No matter your situation, know that there is no one right way to do this! You can do a combination of a lot of different things!
The Most Important Things to You
This was a multiple choice question.
- Meet Your Breastfeeding Goal Length
- Be Able to Go Back to Work with the Least Amount of Stress
- Plan in Advance/Feel Prepared
- Get Breastfeeding to Go Well before Going Back to Work
Meet Your Breastfeeding Goal Length
42% answered Meet Your Breastfeeding Goal Length. This will look different for everyone. Later on, this post will discuss how to set a goal for how long to breastfeed/pump.
Be Able to Go Back to Work with the Least Amount of Stress
Next, 25% said that the most important thing for them was the ability to go back to work with the least amount of stress or friction. This is a huge concern for moms as they go back to work. It can be an overwhelming transition because not only are you expected to have a career and do your job and make sure that works, but now you are also managing home life and family. And on top of that, you have to combine those and pump milk at work. That transition can be tricky for moms!
Get Breastfeeding Going to Go Well Before Going Back to Work
Then, 15% said that getting breastfeeding going well before returning to work was most important thing to them.
Plan in Advance/Feel Prepared
Finally, 11% said that planning in advance and feeling prepared was the most important to them.
These answers are important! It really highlighted that meeting that breastfeeding goal length and making the transition the easiest it can be were the priority.
Your Biggest Concerns as shared in the Working Moms Survey
You might be able to guess what the responses will be. So, read on to see if you’re right!
42%, almost half of these moms, said maintaining supply. Moms were stressed that they would not be able to make enough milk when they went back to work. Or they were already back working and were worried they wouldn’t be able maintain their supply. Almost half of moms said that was their biggest struggle or worry!
Then, 38% (and if you add those two together, that’s 80%!) said that their biggest problem or concern was finding enough time to pump or being able to stick to a schedule. This tells us that 80% of moms are mostly concerned about keeping up their milk supply and finding the time to do it!
There were a lot of odds and ends responses. Some moms were concerned about finding the right pump. Others worried that baby’s preferences would change when they started combining breastfeeding and pumping. That is a legitimate worry! Another stress was finding a place to wash the pump and store the milk. There were some concerns that other people in the office would hear and know that you are pumping.
Overall, maintaining supply and finding the time to pump were the biggest concerns.
67% of those who responded to the working moms survey said yes, their workplace is supportive of their pumping.
22% said that their workplace was somewhat supportive.
5% said no, their workplace was not supportive.
It was encouraging to see that most workplaces were at least somewhat supportive of your pumping!
There are laws and rights to protect you while in the workplace which we talk about in my program. I make sure all the moms in my program knows their rights and how to talk to their employers about it.
Want to know if the working moms program is right for you? Book a call with IBCLC Allison, here!
Your Goal Feeding Length
One Year or Longer
67% of those that responded to the working moms survey said one year or longer was their goal feeding length. One year is the most common goal for working moms. That feels manageable, doable, even. If you have 3 months of maternity leave when you can breastfeed at home, that leaves about 9 months of pumping at work.
Make it to one year and you can avoid formula altogether. At this moment in time that’s a big deal since we are in the middle of a formula shortage. It won’t always be this way, but avoiding formula altogether is a really common goal for a lot of working moms.
Between 6-12 Months
Next, 17% said 6-12 months. 6 months is a goal many moms have. That is great, too! Any breastmilk is great for your baby, so if you had a 3 month maternity leave, that would only leave 3 months of pumping at work. That seems like a really manageable time frame and a great goal. You would have to switch over to fofrmula for about 6 months, but no judgment! This is about meeting your goals! So, if you can commit to 3 months of pumping at work, awesome! If you decide that you don’t want to pump at work and just breastfeed your baby at home, that’s a great goal, too.
As Long as Baby Wants
Finally, 9% said that they would breastfeed as long as the baby wants to. They had no intentions on stopping until then. Often, working moms reach that one year mark and then reduce their pumping at work drastically. Then, they find that place where they can continue to breastfeed when they are at home with their baby, but pump as little as possible after that one year mark. I also help moms in my program to transition to this scenario. I would want to pump as little as possible towards the end, too!
The Most Helpful Thing to Transition Back to Work
This questions was left open ended for those that responded to the working moms survey. Though the responses all varied, there were some common threads.
First, moms wanted to know some helpful products and tips. They wanted knowledge and answers to questions like: How do I do this? When do I introduce the pump? How do I introduce the pump? When is the best time to pump? What type of supplies do I need to make this easier on myself? New Little Life has tons of resources covering these topics. You can check out the New Little Life YouTube page, or even better, join the working moms program for personalized help!
Second, moms needed support. They want to know who to reach out to with their questions. You might have a lactation consultant already but those consultants don’t always know a lot about pumping. Sometimes those consultants give some strange pumping advise and it just doesn’t seem right to moms. In their defense, lactation consultants don’t get trained on pumping. They have to learn it on their own, which can be overwhelming.
These moms also want support from other working moms in support groups etc. This can be really huge help! New Little Life’s Facebook page is a great starting point as a support group. Though we are rebuilding, we have had 8,000+ moms in the past as part of our community!
Help Creating a Schedule/Routine
Third, those that responded to the working moms survey wanted help creating a schedule and routine. You all have unique situations and jobs and baby needs and different home lives, so it’s a hard question to answer! It’s best to get individual support to figure out what works best for you. That’s what the New Little Life working moms program can help with!
More Sleep/More Time
Another common response from moms in the working moms survey was that they wanted more sleep or more time in their day. Moms were very passionate about this one! They said that they needed more sleep or more time in their day otherwise they didn’t know how to reach their goals. Moms need longer maternity leave and/or flexible hours when they go back to work. This one is huge! We need better parental leave in general. It would be great if, regardless of gender, parents could stay home longer with their children if they wanted to, and be paid for it. Other countries are doing this, why are we not doing this? That is probably a tangent for another post… Moms know that they need this!
Questions Compiled into the Working Moms Program
Next, there were a bunch of other answers like, “How do I clean and store my pump?” “How do I come up with a plan?” “How do I create a stash of milk when I go back to work?” “What kind of accessories do I need?” All that kind of stuff. I complied all these questions into my program which is called “Pumping for Working Moms.” All the information is in there! It is really cool. The answers to these questions (and even more!) are presented in really short video lessons. (These videos are similar to the New Little Life YouTube videos, since I’m a YouTuber at heart!)
The working moms program is my pride and joy. I love working with working moms. Helping you combine breastfeeding and pumping is my favorite thing to do. It is absolutely true that you do not have enough support and you need more. You deserve more! You deserve someone that knows what they are talking about. That is why I created my program and why I do what I do.
How You Feel about Your Working Mom Journey
The last question was just an open dialog box for working moms to share their feelings about their pumping journeys. The number one response was something along the lines of: “It’s tough!” “It’s hard to be a working mom but I’m so happy that I can provide milk for my baby!” “It’s not easy, but it’s rewarding.” There were a lot of answers like that. A lot of moms were and are able to find the rewards and joy in the process.
But there were also got a lot of responses like, “This sucks.” “I don’t want to be at work.” “I don’t want to leave my baby and this is stressful and I need help.” This tugs at my heart strings because I just want to help all of you who are having to make this transition.
Several responses said, “I love being a working mom! ” “Pumping at work is annoying and a lot of work but I love having a career and I’m a better mom when I get home.” “I love what I do at work and I can’t wait until I can go back and talk to other adults.” If that’s you, then awesome!
There was a very wide range of emotions in this particular question. This is so normal! We need more people to know that whatever your feeling, it is probably on the range of normal. Whether you do not want to leave your baby and it’s giving you anxiety or whether you are looking forward to going to work and talking to other adults and having a career of your own, these are all normal, and everything in between.
The final question in the working moms survey did receive a lot of questions like, “How do I get a freezer stash?” “When do I start pumping?” “Can I put the parts in the fridge in between feedings?” “How many ounces should I pump each day?” “How often do I need to pump?” All sorts of stuff like that.
If you can’t find a video on my YouTube channel with information to cover these questions, then the topics are likely inside of the working moms program. I do try to create as much free content as I can, but I also like working with my students one on one!
We need more support for working moms. If you are feeling like you’re ready for more personalized support, I would love to talk with you! You can book a call with us here. I love working with moms and learning about what you need and how I might be able to help. I really look forward to talking with you soon!