Breastfeeding Moms: 6 Tips for Working Remotely With Baby
In this guest blog, Janice Russell shares tips for most effectively working remotely as a breastfeeding and/or pumping mom while balancing working from home with a growing family. See her insight below!
Janice Russell of parentingdisasters.com believes the only way to survive parenthood is to find the humor in it. She created Parenting Disasters so that parents would have a go-to resource whenever they need a laugh, but also to show parents they aren’t alone. She wants every frazzled parent out there to remember that for every kid stuck in a toilet, there’s another one out there who just graced their parents’ walls with some Sharpie artwork!
Ready to Start Working Remotely With Baby? You Got This!
It goes without saying that heading back to work after having your baby is a little less intimidating when your office is at home. While that still means balancing conference calls, your daily workload, virtual meetings, and other professional responsibilities with continuing to provide breast milk for your little one, working remotely can sometimes offer a layer of flexibility and privacy, particularly when it comes to pumping, that you may not typically receive in a formal work environment.
No matter what your current work from home situation looks like – whether you’re working remotely with baby at your side or your little one is with a caretaker inside or outside your home – Medela is here to help you through these challenges as you find that “new normal” that fits and works best for you and your family. See our 6 best tips for working at home as a breastfeeding mom, so you can seamlessly continue giving your little one your liquid gold:
1. Ease Into Your New Routine and Schedule
Don’t expect to hit the ground running on your first day back to work, even if you’re working from home. Talk to your manager ahead of time about easing back to work on a part-time basis first, whether that’s a few full days per week or working just mornings or afternoons as you – and your little one! – get familiar with the new routine. Build your pumping schedule around any virtual meetings and, if possible, block out time on your work calendar to pump, store your milk, and clean your pump parts, so you don’t have to worry about unexpected interruptions or colleagues requesting time with you during your usual pumping sessions.
2. Find the Schedule that Fits and Familiarize Yourself with Your Workload
Speaking of timing and calendars: Don’t feel stuck in a rigid 9-5 schedule if you don’t have to be! It may be better to work early in the mornings or later in the afternoons, when you have more flexibility or caregivers available. You know your typical work schedule, so find what is most manageable for you, your colleagues, and your manager – and then adapt as needed, whether that means working around a daycare schedule, naptimes, or your nanny’s hours.
Looking ahead at your weekly or monthly schedule and keeping an organized list of work-related tasks, deadlines, and goals for each week can help you maximize your productivity as you work remotely while efficiently balancing pumping and your baby’s needs. If he or she is mainly at home with you, try scheduling meetings, complex tasks, and work that requires longer periods of dedicated focus for days and times when there is another caregiver available to tend to your little one. This will help you to avoid becoming overwhelmed or falling behind on your work-related tasks and expectations.
3. Set Up Your Breastfeeding Station Ahead of Time
Breastfeeding and pumping are a regular part of many new moms’ days (and evenings, and nights, and early mornings, and…you get the idea!). You can help yourself make this new routine as comfortable and convenient as possible with a home office nursing station, complete with everything you need to pump while working remotely. Set up a corner near your desk and an outlet with comfortable seating and a table with your breastfeeding accessories – think lanolin, an extra pump kit, a handful of breast milk storage bags and a Sharpie, and even a nursing pillow if you have the flexibility to occasionally nurse your baby during the work day too.
Be sure to organize your pumping supplies each night before, so you can multitask with ease. Ensure your pump is charged and your pump parts are cleaned, sanitized, and ready for use. You may also want to restock other important items at your breastfeeding station, like cleaning wipes, bottled water, and nursing pads, so you have everything you need for the next day and don’t have to interrupt your work to search elsewhere for the supplies you need.
4. Invest in Hands-Free Pumping for Added Convenience
Instead of pausing your work to pump throughout the day, consider pumping hands-free and the flexibility it offers when it comes to working remotely with baby and the ability to multitask. A hands-free pumping bra fits your flanges securely to your body and a lightweight portable breast pump makes for easy mobile pumping, so you can seamlessly pump as often as needed without skipping a beat while working.
5. Build a Pump-Friendly Wardrobe
One great benefit of working from home is that you may have more wardrobe flexibility, though that shouldn’t be a reason to stay in your sweats (we know, they’re so cozy!) all day. Working remotely may minimize the need for not-so-pump-friendly clothes like button-ups, blazers, or bodysuits, so take advantage of this and instead build a wardrobe filled with loose, functional pieces. Flowy sweaters, wrap shirts, and nursing tops are all great options for a professional Zoom-ready look.
Some clothing companies even specialize in nursing and pumping fashion, so be sure to Google them for your online shopping options!
6. Consider Hiring an In-Home Helper
If you’re working remotely with baby and struggling with your new routine, it’s perfectly fine – and normal! – to adjust your expectations and needs as you go. Consider a part- or full-time nanny or mother’s helper to take some of the caretaking off your plate while relieving the stress, guilt, and anxiety that often comes with balancing professional responsibilities alongside a growing family. A few hours of in-home help that overlaps with the busiest part of your day may be an option, or you may discover that full-time daycare at someone else’s home or at a licensed childcare facility may be a better option for your unique situation. Whatever the case, resources like Care.com can help you find nearby caregivers that may be right for you and your family.
Medela is Here to Help Parents Like You
Though your commute may be as short and simple as “bedroom-to-home-office” when working from home, there is still an adjustment period when working remotely with baby and including nursing and/or pumping in your daily routine. Remember to give yourself plenty of grace during this time, as well as space to encounter and overcome occasional challenges. With trial, error, and plenty of patience and flexibility, you’ll settle into the remote working routine that’s best for your growing family – while allowing you to continue providing your little one with breast milk for as long as you choose!