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How to Create a Pumping-Friendly Environment at your Work

6 tips to help you keep breastfeeding as a working mom.

How to Create a Pumping-Friendly Environment at your Work

*We’ve partnered with Bamboobies to share strategies to help you as a working, pumping mom.

If you’re a working, pumping mom, or planning to return to work while still breastfeeding, having a pump-friendly environment can make all the difference in your success. Many mothers stop breastfeeding or supplement with formula when they return to work because, in many cases, they don’t have a good environment in which to pump.

Creating a pumping-friendly environment in the workplace is critical for companies too, especially if they wish to retain mothers after the birth of a child. And yet, workplace lactation support is sadly still not the norm, and likely contributes to why breastfeeding rates drop significantly when women return to work. In fact, although about 81.1% of mothers in the U.S. breastfeed at the time of birth, breastfeeding rates drop down to 51.8% when babies are 6 months old.

That doesn’t mean you can’t advocate for yourself at your workplace, and help to achieve pumping (and breastfeeding!) success long after you return to the grind. Here’s a few things mothers can do to ensure they have the best possible circumstance to pump at work:

1. Check the law: At the federal level, mothers are also protected but for just one year: “Section 7 of the FLSA requires employers to provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for one year after the child's birth each time such employee has need to express the milk. Employers are also required to provide a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.”

But laws also vary state by state. In New York, for example, breastfeeding mothers are protected for up to three years following childbirth.

Not all states are as generous though--there’s no law protecting mothers in Idaho, Virginia, and South Dakota, just to name a few, beyond what’s mandated federally.

2. Learn the lay of the land: Have there been pumping moms at your work before? Is there a Women’s Group or Parent’s Group? Other parents at your office will be invaluable sources of information, solidarity and support. If you can make a pumping room buddy, she’ll be able to walk you through the office logistics involved.

3. Educate your company and pay it forward for other mothers. You may be the first or only pumping mom at your office, especially if your company is a newer company. This means you’ll likely being doing a lot of educating to your boss and your team about the benefits of breastfeeding, as well as how your schedule needs to accommodate pumping. Anything you can advocate for lactation-wise will be paying it forward for the future mothers at your work.

4. Have a backup pumping plan. What if you can’t pump at work? If you’re a doctor, nurse, teacher or have a job that doesn’t support your pumping schedule or have ideal privacy, what are your options? Try a chic pumping shawl as a cover up, and suddenly your pump room is any room. I’ve witnessed a stealthy mom hand pump in a crowded auditorium during a work conference, and no one had any idea. You might also want to to take a closer look at times you might be able to pump, and try to either get in as much pumping as you can during each session, or pump in shorter sessions more often.

5. Take part in designing a lactation room. Assign yourself in charge of designing or converting an old storage room or office into a lactation room. A lactation room requires a few key features: 1) a chair; 2) a table or desk for your pump and computer; 3) ideally a sink; 4) a fridge for storage; 5) cubbies for storage; 6) cleaning supplies and wipes. Bonus items include: a community board with baby pictures, and a pump room “essentials” basket stocked with disposable nursing pads, snack bars, pumping lubricant, and nursing mothers tea.

6. Keep up your supply. Milk supply is just that, supply and demand. Breasts need to be stimulated and emptied in order to produce more milk. How does this happen? By keeping regular and consistent breastfeeding or pumping sessions.

Here’s a sample pump schedule that can help keep up your milk supply:

- 6 am feed with pumping after

- 9 am pump when you arrive at work

- 12 pm pump at work

- 3 pm pump at work

- Nurse or pump when you get home with baby

- 10 pm pump and then lights out

You will likely feel you’re connected to your pump all day…. And it’s okay if you feel this way, because you sort of are. Yet breastfeeding is such a short period of your parenting experience, and if exclusive breastfeeding, or any breastfeeding is important to you, I encourage you to keep it up. It’s not always easy but it is possible.

--

Jennifer Mayer supports parents through pregnancy, birth, new parenthood and the transition back to work. She’s the founder of Baby Caravan, a birth & postpartum doula agency and Baby Caravan at Work, a corporate consulting practice based in New York City. Jennifer lives in Brooklyn with her husband and son.

Shop bamboobies Working Pumping Mom Necessities:

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

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Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

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Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

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Detective set

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This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

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Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

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Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

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Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

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Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

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Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

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The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

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Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

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Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

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There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank when shopping for toddler products. Here are our favorite high-quality, budget-friendly finds to help with everything from meal time to bath time for the toddler set.

Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

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If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

Comforts electrolyte drink

Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

Comforts training pants

When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

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Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

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Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

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

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It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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