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How a Chef Pumps at Work

Not all breastfeeding mom journeys look the same.

How a Chef Pumps at Work

*We’ve partnered with Teat & Cosset to make the back to work transition a little bit easier for breastfeeding moms. When Deena Chanowitz returned to work a few weeks after giving birth to her first baby, there was no pumping room. She didn’t get a federally mandated pump break or have a place to clean her pump parts. As a private chef catering for some of New York City’s coolest events, fashion shoots and private parties, Deena has had to blaze her own working, pumping mom path, fitting in feedings and pump sessions wherever and whenever she can. “It’s challenging finding a place to pump during the day,” she says. “Sometimes I pump in a car, or find a place to plug into the wall somewhere. People stare at me, and I’ve definitely thought about switching to formula. But I’m not giving up on breastfeeding just yet.” We know there’s so many women out there like Deena, with non-traditional jobs that require some creative thinking when it comes to breastfeeding or pumping. So we’re partnering with Teat & Cosset, one of the most beautiful nursing-friendly fashion brands out there, to celebrate those moms...and all the others out there that are committed to pumping when they return to work. Below, Deena shares some of her pumping and working strategies, while showing off her Teat & Cosset style and her beautiful baby boy Judah. Are you a pumping mom? Show us where you pump on Instagram for a chance to win an item from Teat & Cosset! Use the hashtag #thisiswhereipump and tag @wellroundedny! When did you start getting into cooking and food? When I was growing up, my mom didn’t do a lot of cooking, so she let me try whatever I wanted in the kitchen. We lived in Israel and I loved experimenting with produce because it was fresh and affordable, which was pretty important for a family with 11 children. I used to go the market and get the end of the day’s produce, which was mostly vegetables, and I’d use whatever was available to create a meal. I started developing the style that I’m known for now: healthy food and colorful, artful presentation. How did that evolve into the private chef business? I was part of a large Hasidic Jewish family and didn’t really go to school -- the easiest job to get without an education was at a restaurant. But after a few years of working in that industry, I didn’t feel fulfilled, so I decided to go back to school to focus on health and nutrition. I worked as a private chef on the side, focusing on clients had special dietary needs. I really want to help heal people through food, so I went back to medical school. I just took a year off to be with the baby but will head back this fall. With your health and nutrition background, did you know you wanted to breastfeed before you had Judah? I was definitely going to breastfeed...without a bottle, without a pump, without a pacifier. That was part of the reason why I thought I needed a year off to be with the baby. People told me that breastfeeding would be difficult, but I couldn’t possibly have imagined what it would really feel like. What was your early breastfeeding experience like? I ended up having a harder time than I expected. The first week was really challenging -- I was getting cut up and chafed, and had issues with the latch. I decided to pump to allow my nipples to heal, and supplemented with a little formula. It made me feel a little more relaxed. At the beginning, I didn’t get that much milk when I pumped, but a hospital grade pump changed everything. I was able to express more milk, unclog my ducts, and eventually get my milk supply back. My goal was to stop using formula, and I’ve been able to do that. Now I have a day’s worth of milk pumped for him. I give him a bottles and also breastfeed, and it’s been working for us. What was your plan for returning to work before you had Judah? I initially thought I’d love to just sit around and hang out with the baby, breastfeeding on demand, but being home with the baby made me feel very isolated. I love my work, and going back has been good for me, especially since I’m able to leave him with breast milk. By working, I’m doing the best that I can as a mom and ultimately the right thing for my baby. And that’s good enough for me. What are the logistics of pumping at work when you’re a chef? Taking a pump break throughout the day is not easy. Time management is everything when you’re cooking, so I’ve been bringing an assistant with me so he can continue to work while I’m pumping. I’m also factoring in more time for each job so I can step out and pump. It’s more challenging than I ever thought it would be, and I definitely made some mistakes early on. I went back to work at 5 weeks, and was waiting like 6 hours to pump -- at the end of the week my milk supply went down. Now I’m pumping more often. I’m learning and adjusting. How does the right outfit for pumping, feeding and working make all the difference? I didn’t realize how much the clothing mattered, but it really makes such a big difference! I was recently pumping while wearing a shirt with buttons, and I had to open up my shirt completely and cover myself up with blankets -- I felt like everyone was staring at me! I was so uncomfortable and my milk supply was lower. The next day, I wore a Teat & Cosset nursing shirt and I was so much more comfortable. I was able to pump while still feeling fully covered up and I got so much more milk! It was a direct correlation. How is pumping on your job different than that of a traditional pumping mom? When I’m home, and I’m able to pump while I’m at my laptop on my bed, or pump and cook at the same time, I can manage that. But when I’m on the job, it’s not like that iconic picture of someone sitting at a desk pumping behind a closed door. For me, it requires a lot more planning. How has your breastfeeding perspective evolved? My perspective around breastfeeding has shifted tremendously. Someone gave me the advice: Happy mother, happy baby. And right now, I’m happy. But I know that if i’m exhausted and for whatever reason i need to stop breastfeeding, that’s OK. In the meantime, I have to give myself a pat on the back, and recognize how much work I’m doing to keep pumping while I’m back at work. Now when i see a mom pumping, I give them a lot of credit. Photography by Stylish & Hip Kids for Well Rounded. Shop Teat & Cosset’s Nursing Style and get 20% off + Free Shipping using code WELLROUNDED.

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This year many of us have a tighter budget than usual given (looks around) everything that has happened. Coupled with the uncertainty of what Halloween might look like, many of us are reluctant to spend money on brand new costumes that our kids will outgrow by next year. I get it. But I also know that many, like me, love Halloween so much. I thought about skipping the celebration this year, but that just feels like too big of a disappointment in an already disappointing year.

That's why I started looking into alternative costumes—something my kids will be able to wear once the clock hits November, and maybe even hand down to siblings and cousins in the coming years. At the same time, I'm not a DIY person, so I wanted outfits that didn't require any sewing or hot glue. Last year I attempted using one to build my son's Care Bear costume, and of course, I burnt my hand.

So with some creativity (and the brainpower of my colleagues), we came up with these costumes that are both fun and practical, made with items that your children will be able to (and want to!) wear year around:

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Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.



Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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My 3-year-old is eating peanut butter toast with banana for breakfast (his request), and we are officially running late for preschool. We need to get in the car soon if we want to miss the morning traffic, but he has decided that he no longer wants the food that he begged for two minutes earlier. What started off as a relatively calm breakfast has turned into a battle of wills.

"You're going to be hungry," I say, realizing immediately that he could care less. I can feel my frustration rising, and even though I'm trying to stay calm, I'm getting snappy and irritable. In hindsight, I can see so many opportunities that fell through the cracks to salvage this morning, but at the moment… there was nothing.

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