5 Mistakes Working Moms Make
What is a common mistake working moms make? Lots of people ask me this question! This post will share the 5 biggest mistakes that working moms make. As a lactation consultant, a breast pump expert and a mom of three I have lots of experience, good and bad, with pumping! So let’s talk about the 5 biggest things I tend to see my students and other working moms do wrong, or not effectively. Hopefully this will help you avoid those mistakes so you can be on your way to success!
(This post was originally a video. Here it is, below!)
This post is transcribed from the New Little Life YouTube Channel. There are new videos for working moms every week! Make sure to subscribe so you can be the first to see them!
#5 Mistake Working Moms Make: Assuming Your Workplace Will Be Supportive
Okay, let’s jump in. The number 5 mistake that working moms make is to assuming your workplace will be totally cool and supportive of pumping. Maybe your work really is supportive of you pumping and breastfeeding and that’s awesome. I hope that they are!
When I went back to work, my workplace was supportive. I worked in a school as a nurse and they were totally okay with my pumping plans! Because I had my own office and I thought it was going to be easy. Other women in this district had a baby while working, so I can totally do this.
Even though my work was actually very supportive, but it was still very inconvenient. I wasn’t really expecting that. It was just awkward. Kids were in my office when I needed to pump or I had meetings etc. I would get knocks on my door even when my sign was up. Though I never got any resistance from my employers, it was still inconvenient.
I wish I had had a better plan. Better logistics would have helped me a lot. Storing my milk in the community fridge was not great. I had to talk to my male principal about my boobs which is always fun, right? There was a lot to going back to work that I wasn’t expecting.-Allison Tolman, IBCLC and owner of New Little Life
Join the Working Moms Program to Know Your Rights as a Working Mom
If your work space is not supportive, then you have even more hurdles to overcome. It can be really challenging to go back to work as a pumping mom, as many of you know. If you want to know your rights as a working mom/pumping mom, join the New Little Life working moms program! We talk about the different laws and protections that are already in place for working moms. Every week there is one on one Q/A session with me where we could troubleshoot ways to get your workplace more on board with your pumping journey.
Whether you join the working moms program or not, it is a good idea to prepare for a wide range of workplace reactions to your pumping.
#4 Mistake that Working Moms Make is NOT Sticking to a Pumping Schedule
Depending on your job, it can be really hard to stick to a schedule. Some jobs accommodate you beautifully! However, every time I talk to a nurse or a teacher or someone who works in a job that demands really high movement, especially with jobs in serving or helping other people, they really struggle with this.
Stepping away every couple of hours for 30 minutes means that someone else is going to have to pick up your slack. Or, it might mean that even though you are going to miss that work time and you will still be required to finish that work. It can be really really hard. I know that. I’m a nurse and I remember how difficult it was to leave a patient when you have a job to do.
If you are a teacher, you have students. Even if you are in your own office, you are still going to have to get that work done. You are still juggling around meetings.
But, sticking to a schedule is a MUST. If you don’t, your milk supply will suffer. It just will. It’s a simple supply and demand cycle. You also need to take in account your emotional and stress levels because they can effect milk supply too. There is a lot going on. But you have to stick to a schedule. But what is your schedule even look like? When are you supposed to be pumping?
#3 Mistake Working Moms Make: Thinking Pumping Will be Simple
So this actually leads us really well into the number 3 mistake that working moms make: thinking that pumping will be simple.
Moms think, “Okay, I have my pump and my work place is supportive. I found a schedule online so I’m just going to slap my pump on and we will be off to the races.” Trust me, it’s not quite that simple. I did the same thing when I went back to work with my first. I was just like, you put the pump on and milk comes out and as long as I stick to my schedule, I will be fine. But there is a lot more that goes into pumping than just putting the pump on and sticking to the schedule.
Sometimes that might work for a few weeks or couple of months, but at some point moms usually start to have a decrease in supply. All of a sudden they are not making enough milk for their baby during the pumping day. Supply drops little by little and they don’t understand why this is happening. They are doing the pumping and other things right. What’s wrong?
Factors that Effect Milk Supply
Well, there are many factors that go into making milk and maintaining a milk supply that is sufficient for your baby’s needs. We haven’t even talked about bottle feeding, pace feeding and prepping milk for daycare. That is all separate from your milk supply. There is a lot to juggle!
You really have to line everything all up. Then to make it harder, everybody is unique. Everyone has a different work balance, schedule, meetings, etc. You all have different babies, too! Some babies are eating a lot, some babies are not eating much. Some of you have family watching your baby and some of you have a daycare with really strict guidelines on how to deal with breastmilk. No wonder there is no one size fits all method!
Pumping for Working Moms Program
This is a great spot to tell you about our Pumping for Working Moms Program. I specifically work with working moms who are trying to combine pumping and breastfeeding. That is a tricky place and there is not enough support for moms who are trying to do this. You can find tons of breastfeeding information online and tons of pumping information. But what about working moms who are trying to combine breastfeeding and pumping? There’s not a lot of information about this.
So, if this is the info YOU need, join the working moms program! The program is full of video resources as well as one on one support from me, an IBCLC! Schedule a call with me to see if this is the right fit for you.
#2 Mistake Working Moms Make: Wait too Long to Make a
It is so easy to procrastinate, especially as a first time mom! There are so many new things to handle and plan for, it can be hard to want to do any of it. A back-to-work plan is one thing you don’t want to save for the last minute.
During pregnancy you have to figure out labor, birth and then breastfeeding, etc. Maternity leave is a great time to start tackling the when and how to introduce a breast pump. But maternity leave is also the time to plan your transition back to work, and how to make that as easy as possible.
Figure out Breastfeeding
It usually takes 4-6 weeks postpartum for new moms to get breastfeeding under their belt. Use that time to connect with your baby and figure out breastfeeding. After that would be a great time to start thinking and planning for how going back to work looks.
Hopefully you have at least a twelve week maternity leave. The United States is the worst at maternity leave! If your leave is shorter than that then you are going to have to start thinking your transition sooner. But, if you have the standard 12 weeks or maybe a little longer, go ahead and figure out breastfeeding for the first few weeks. Once breastfeeding is going well, it is the time to figure out when to start pumping and prepping for the journey back to work. And that is the perfect time to talk to me for some help, guidance and support!
Just the other day I was talking with one of the moms in my program. She wasn’t quite comfortable with breastfeeding yet but was worried about when to start pumping. Together, we decided that we were going to tackle that pumping scene in a little bit. We had some time. I encouraged her to just focus on the breastfeeding for now. The brain can only take so much. With parenthood, there is a lot going on! She did figure out breastfeeding eventually, and then we came up with a pumping plan, too! That’s the great thing about the working moms program! I can be with you every step of the way so you’re not alone to figure things out!
Everyone is Different
Remember everyone is different. Some people get the hang of breastfeeding very quickly and others take a bit longer. You might be very excited to get to know your pump or you might feel a bit overwhelmed. Be conscience of where you are at mentally. How you are feeling. Please don’t overwhelm yourself with stuff that you don’t need to at that time. But also, don’t procrastinate your back to work plan. Get whatever help and support you need to be prepared for your transition. The Working Moms Program is a great support group that might just be the perfect fit for you! You can book a call with me, here, to see if this program could help you.
#1 Mistake Working Moms: Not Finding Support
You might be thinking “I can do this by myself. I don’t even want help with this!” But everyone needs some help. Having a baby is a completely new thing that happened to you! You may not want help, but you could definitely benefit from some.
Even myself, a lactation consultant, needed help when I was a first time working mom. I was already trained as a nurse and lactation counselor but I still did not meet my one year pumping goal. We were still able to breastfeed, but I was not able to pump enough at work to meet his needs. I couldn’t understand why. I had a pump, I had a schedule, why was I not making enough for my baby? Why was I having to supplement with formula? For me that was super frustrating. I seriously should have found someone to help me.
There are definitely more resources for you now than for there were for me when I was learning with my first baby. So please take advantage! Do not make the same mistake as me and just get the support you need. Find someone that can help you. There are some lactation consultants trained in pumping.
Find the Right Support
Remember, most lactation consultants are not trained for pumping, though. They focus mostly on breastfeeding. So, you need to find someone that is experienced in pumping. The working moms program is a great resource!
Find a working moms support group. They could give you support and ideas on how to make work life work. If you are a nurse, talk with other nurses and ask how they are making this work. Same thing goes for any line of work. If you’re a teacher, find a teacher who pumped at work. Network with other moms in your line of work and ask them all of your questions! Research local support groups. Your hospital may have a support group, or you might be able to find one on social media. There is help for you!
You may not have time to participate in a support group forever. When you go back to work you may not have room in your schedule anymore. So, maximize that time you have on maternity leave!
Research, Readjust, and Realize You are a Great Mom!
Don’t make this harder than it needs to be. There is a blueprint out there that can help you get to where you want to go. There is no need to reinvent the wheel here. Learn and talk to others and hear their mistakes and successes.
I really care about your emotional health and well being. I also really care that you are happy and meet your goals, even if you have to readjust your goals a couple of times along the way. That is fine! I really want you to feel good about what you are doing and to be able to look back on this experience in a very positive way even if it didn’t go exactly how you had planned.
As you get farther into motherhood, you know that a lot of life is about readjusting. Pregnancy, labor, birth, etc. probably doesn’t always go as you had planned. Having the right knowledge and support will help you make your own informed decisions! You are a great mom, you’ve got this.
We are all in this together! I would love to talk to you if you are interested in working with me. Let’s see if we are a good fit and if I can help you get to where you need to go!