Unless you worked in a rice field and tied your baby to your back, returning to the workforce used to spell the end of nursing for breastfeeding moms. But with legislation in support of pump rooms in the workplace and advancements in pumps, breastfeeding accoutrements and stylish nursing wear—now you can bring home the bacon and fresh squeezed milk as long as you’d like to nurse.
Hands down, the Medela Pump In Style Advanced Limited Edition is my favorite for the working mom. It does a fine job in the pumping department (I couldn’t tell a significant difference from Medela’s hospital grade Symphony pump). Both mimic the sucking pattern of the baby, beginning with a fast, light pattern to enhance let-down and then switches to a slower, stronger expression phase. Compared with past Pump In Style models where the pump was housed in one big black bag, this one breaks down into small, discrete parts (the pump, the matching cooler, which cools up to twelve hours, and a handy tray to set your gear on.) Best of all, the bag doesn’t scream “walking dairy farm.” (Several women at my office asked where I got my bag, thinking it was either a sleek purse or groovy computer bag.)
If you travel with your work, a nice alternative is the Lansinoh Double Electric Breast Pump. It’s a close second to Medela’s pump in user-friendliness and it’s one of the most compact double electric pumps for those who need to travel light.
And for those who worry about getting stuck in a meeting across town or in traffic as their breasts start exploding like a pinata, an even more compact choice is the new Lansinoh Manual Pump intended for occasional use. It fits in a purse, glove compartment, or emergency disaster preparedness box—I keep one in my earthquake kit. Engorged breasts is on par with a 9.9 on the Richter scale for me.
Hands Free Bras.
How any lactating working mom ever survived without The Easy Expression Bustier
hands-free pumping bra is beyond me. At first glance, it looks like a nuclear fall out shelter Halloween costume. Using it is like growing two arms. No longer do you have to hold the pump bottles in cramped chicken-wing fashion. The best way to use this is to wrap this gizmo around on top of your nursing bra with latches down, strap on your breast shields and zip up. Let go and your arms are free to chat on the phone, work on your laptop, read a magazine, or take a siesta.
Angled Breast Shields.
Ever wondered what moron invented a pump shield where you had to keep leaning forward every fifteen seconds so the milk would drip into the bottle like one of those Dippy Birds? Pumpin Pal’s Super Shields remedy this. They also help prevent plugged milk ducts.
Chic Nursing Tops.
Power lunch nurse with your little one if you’re lucky enough to have childcare close to work. So many nursing tops are just plain matronly. The exception is Japanese Weekend. You’d never know these stylish tops have secret compartments for easy boob access. Two must haves for are the d & a cross-front top in black and the surplice nursing top—available in several hip prints. For the dress that converts to evening, try Glamourmom’s version of the little black nursing dress.
Your Milk Supply Back-Up.
Before you head back to work, start stockpiling milk in your freezer. There will be days where stress takes its toll and you don’t need the added angst of worrying you won’t have enough milk. Every four months, you’ll want to use the nearing expiration date milk and freeze some fresh milk to keep a constant surplus in the freezer. My favorite way to do this is using the Lansinoh Storage Bags, which are hailed as the thickest. I tried several bags and found Lansinoh’s spout to transfer more milk to the bottle and less on the kitchen counter. The double zipper seal prevents leaks and there’s a “tamper evident safety seal” in the event some prankster at work tries to swap your fresh-squeezed with the coffee creamer.
A great way to keep your frozen milk separate from your frozen yogurt in the freezer is the Easy Store & Thaw Milk Organizer.
These days, diaper bags double as high-end purses. If you’re carting a baby back and forth to daycare, you’ll want a diaper bag that goes with your cosmopolitan lifestyle. One that says progressive, not suburban, stay-at-home mom is the chic one OiOi Oriental Posy Messenger Bag. Its splashes of bold oriental blooms in black and white are accented with a stunning red lining and accessories can dress up to even a black tie affair. The Skip Hop Duo Denim works well for casual Friday or your much needed weekend.
There is nothing like sitting in a meeting, daydreaming about your sweet little angel only to look down and see a big wet spot on your chest. Lansinoh’s Disposable Nursing pads wick moisture away like a disposable diaper. Another trick of the trade is Lily Padz, which aim to prevent the leak altogether. They’re especially great for date night when you want to go braless and babyless.
Milk Supply Help.
There may be days when the stress of the job has an affect on your milk supply. It’s not time to throw in the burp cloth. Here’s some great support staff for your breasts.
Angel Milk is a heaven-sent nutritional shake powder you can mix with cow milk or soy milk. It’s especially formulated for nursing mothers with vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K, folic acid; and blended with minerals like calcium, iron, and magnesium. It’s high in protein, low in sugar, and has herbal extracts like chamomile, dandelion, ginger, and marshmallow root to nourish you and your baby. I especially liked the chocolate. Mother’s Milk Tea with anise, fennel, and coriander is great hot or iced. Or for a more concentrated form—try the Motherlove More Milk Plus Vegetarian Capsules.