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Working Without Weaning

How to avoid accidental breastfeeding weaning when you go back to work.

Working Without Weaning

*We’ve partnered with Lansinoh to help you work it as a working, pumping mom.

You’ve made it! You’re breastfeeding. It’s all going smoothly-ish. And boom, you have to go back to work. Now you have to figure out pumping, bottle-feeding, and keeping up a milk supply, all while juggling the demands of your job and mothering! Whew.

If you want to keep breastfeeding after returning to work, it’s important to ensure you don’t accidentally wean before you are ready. Weaning is the process of transitioning from breastfeeding to not breastfeeding at all.

There is weaning that happens at the child’s pace and there is weaning that happens at the mother’s initiation because of personal preferences. But there is also weaning that happens because of life circumstances, sometimes unintentionally. And heading back to work is often one of those circumstances.

The good news is, there are plenty of tools and tips to help you keep your breastfeeding journey going, even as a working mom, by incorporating pumping into your routine. So we’ve partnered with Lansinoh to share the best ways to ensure you don’t accidentally wean when you return to work.

1. Double pump to keep up supply when apart. Use a double electric breast pump at work like the Lansinoh Smart Pump, which features three customizable pumping styles to mimic baby's natural feeding pattern to maximize milk production and comfort. This will help you maximize the stimulation your breasts need to keep making breastmilk in the most efficient way possible when baby is not there at the breast. Many high-quality breast pumps are covered under insurance, so yours could be no cost or low cost. And because it links with the Lansinoh Baby App, the Bluetooth connectivity with the pump will automatically record date, time, and time spent pumping so fewer things for you to remember!

2. Schedule your pumping sessions as you would schedule a meeting! If you want to keep your milk supply up, you need to stimulate your breasts regularly, so they continue to produce milk at the same rate as before. Scheduling your sessions to mimic baby’s usual feeding schedule is a way to prioritize pumping and avoid engorged or plugged ducts, mastitis, or just extreme discomfort! Plus you can use this milk to leave behind or your baby’s caregiver or add it to your freezer stash for later use.

3. Try to breastfeed your baby right before you leave and right after you get home. Breastfeeding when together is an important way to reconnect and to keep up your supply so nursing before you leave and after you are reunited is a good way to ensure your milk supply stays up. Ask your caregiver to be mindful of how much bottle-feeding happens at the end of the day, so that the baby is hungry enough to nurse when you get home. That doesn’t mean starving the baby or withholding milk if baby is hungry but it might mean that your caregiver gives just enough to tide the baby over until you get home.

4. Keep a manual pump in your purse. On an extra busy day with meetings or running around, you may not have the time or ability to hook yourself up to your electric breast pump. A manual pump like the Lansinoh Manual Breast Pump will enable you to quickly and discreetly pump your breastmilk without wires or electricity to keep up that stimulation that is needed to keep up supply and have milk for baby when you are apart.

5. Stock up on accessories that will make your pumping journey easier. You’ll probably experience breast leakage at work...at the most inconvenient time. Keep a handful of Lansinoh’s Ultimate Protection Disposable Nursing Pads in your pumping bag (and in your bra!) at all times. They’re as absorbent as they are light (they hold up to 20x their weight in breastmilk, and some days you’ll need that), yet keep your skin dry. Plus they don’t make your boobs look clumpy or bulky, because the only thing more embarrassing than a leak is when everyone can see you’re wearing a breast pad. You might also want to pick up some lanolin to soothe any discomfort you may have as you get more used to pumping.

6. Increase your breastfeeding sessions at night. I know. You’re probably asking, “What? Why would I do that?” Well, for many reasons. It keeps milk supply up and provides a lot of closeness and snuggles, which moms miss when they go back to work. Many babies who are separated from their moms throughout the day actually initiate this on their own. It’s called reverse cycling. And it will help to keep your milk supply up because no pump can do the job as well as your baby! For some moms, this is welcomed, as it means more time to connect. For others, it can be extremely hard, because it means less sleep after working all day. If you do want to do this and make it easiest on yourself, sleep very close to your baby so you can feed and then easily drift back to sleep.

7. Learn your breastfeeding and workplace rights! Remember most employees have a right to take time to pump. According to The United States Breastfeeding Committee, Section 4207 of the Affordable Care Act requires employers to provide break time and a place for most hourly wage-earning and some salaried employees (nonexempt workers) to express breastmilk at work. The law states that employers must provide a "reasonable" amount of time and a private space other than a bathroom to pump. They are required to provide this until the employee's baby turns one year old. The US Breastfeeding Committee also shares this link for state-by-state laws.

8. Know that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. If you find it too hard to keep up the pumping during the day, or your work simply does not allow it, you can continue to do some breastfeeding while supplementing with donor breast milk or formula. As a doula and lactation counselor, I’ve seen women continue breastfeeding using many different strategies. Do what works for you. If you can’t carve out as many pumping sessions as you would normally be breastfeeding, even pumping a few minutes several times a day will be helpful in maintaining your supply as it’s the regular stimulation that your body needs to keep producing. You may want to incorporate pumping into your at-home routine (after nursing, before you go to bed, when you awake in addition to nursing baby).

9. Remember to be gentle on yourself. If you find that working, pumping, and breastfeeding is too challenging, remember there are people to help like doulas, lactation consultants and counselors. It does not have to be an all or nothing scenario and any amount of closeness and nursing, pumping you can provide will be amazing. As they say, your worth as a mother is not measured in ounces. You’re doing a great job.

Written by Jada Shapiro, founder of Birth Day Presence and Boober, home of the Breast Start visit, the only on-demand Breastfeeding Help service in the country! Text 917-407-1347 for immediate breastfeeding help in person or on videochat. Birth Day Presence is, NYC's most trusted Childbirth Education Center, Doula Matching Service, and on-demand Breastfeeding Help Service. A birth and postpartum doula, childbirth educator, lactation counselor, and mother, Jada works with first-time parents, A-list celebrities, and everyone in between. She also offers childbirth and breastfeeding advice and expertise in media outlets including the New York Times, The Today Show, The Huffington Post, NBC, CBS, TLC and regularly consults on major films and TV Shows.

Photography by Ren'ee Kahn Bresler for Well Rounded.

We're so glad to live in a time when modern baby gear exists. Sure, no one is going to argue that having a baby is easy—but it can be easier with support from some gadgets designed to help your baby and put your mind at ease.

As you build your baby registry, look for products that go the extra mile to make your life a whole lot easier. For example, what's better than a bassinet? A bassinet that can rock by itself. And what's better than a traditional baby monitor? One that allows you to actually take a peek at your baby. Believe us when we say these upgrades can make all the difference.

Here are 10 baby gadgets that will make your life so much easier… relatively speaking, of course!


A bassinet to promote safe + sound sleep

HALO Innovations Bassinest Swivel Sleeper Essenta Series Nautical Net

The safest place for your newborn to sleep is in your room, but not in your bed. Thanks to the swivel function of the Halo Bassinest, you can easily tend to your baby during the night—which means more sleep for you, too. Trust us when we say that is the best gift you can give a new parent.

$239.99

A smart swing for your baby

4moms mamaRoo 4 Bluetooth Enabled High-Tech Baby Swing - Classic

Believe it or not, many babies are born with strong opinions about how they want to be rocked, swung or shushed to calm down. With the mamaRoo's various motions and reclining positions, you'll be able to find a setting your baby loves when you need to free up your hands for a bit.

$219.99

A complete travel system for car + sidewalk

Chicco Bravo Travel System - Indigo

No matter where the day takes you—or what mode of transportation you need to get there—getting a complete travel system for your baby will equip you for anything.

$379.99

A swaddle you don’t have to wrestle

Love To Dream Swaddle UP Original

What do babies and Harry Houdini have in common? A knack for breaking out of tight constraints—which can be a headache when swaddling is the best way to help promote good sleep. Thanks to a breakout-proof swaddle that allows your baby to sleep with their hands up, you don't have to work up a sweat just to get your baby comfortably swaddled.

$29.99

A nursery wherever you need it

Baby Trend Lil Snooze Deluxe II Nursery Center

During the early days of parenting (when you are feeding and changing your baby around the clock), having convenient access to everything you need with a go-anywhere nursery station can save you serious time and energy.

$99.99

A little help for stuffy noses

Fridababy NoseFrida Nasal Aspirator

Up until the point years down the road when your child is able to blow their own nose, the sniffles can be a real struggle—but not with a nasal aspirator that makes it easy for you to get that snot out of their nose.

$15.99

A way to keep an eye on your baby

VTech 5" Digital Video Baby Monitor - VM5251

Trust us when we say you'll sleep better when you know your baby is also sleeping soundly. That's why we're so thankful for modern-day video monitors, which allow you to check in on your sleeping baby without running the risk of waking them up when you sneak in for a peek.

$79.99

A bassinet for hands-free rocking

Simmons Kids Silent Auto Gliding Elite Bassinet - Odyssey

Babies are soothed by rocking motions. But what does that mean for you if you can't rock them throughout the night? With an auto-gliding bassinet, they can comfortably drift off to sleep... and continue snoozing.

$99.99

An easy way to contain diaper smells

Diaper Genie Expressions Pail

Sometimes it's the little conveniences that make a big difference in the quality of your day-to-day life. That's why a great diaper pail should not be undervalued: By containing the smell, you will save yourself dozens upon dozens of trips to the garbage can.

$24.99

A white noise machine that pulls double duty

Hatch Rest Sound Machine, Night Light & Time-to-Rise

A phone-controlled sound machine may be something you never considered until now, but it will be a major lifesaver for years to come, especially as it can also function as a time-to-rise clock that promotes good sleep habits for your child.

$59.99

And as for securing all these awesome products? Well, a Target baby registry is the way to do it. By creating your baby registry with Target, you will also enjoy their Year of Benefits registry program, which includes perks like a welcome kit with more than $100 in savings and samples, two 15% off coupons to complete your registry, and a full year of returns. The benefits are better than ever right now: Target just launched the Year of Exclusive Deals perk as one of its registry benefits, and this includes a year's worth of discounts on baby essentials (think diapers and formula) and comes complementary when you sign up for Target Circle.

Because while parenting may not be "easy," deciding to register with Target definitely is an easy decision. Start your Target baby registry now and enjoy shopping with a Year of Benefits featuring a Year of Exclusive Deals available via Target Circle, two 15% off coupons, a year of hassle-free returns, a free welcome kit and more!

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

Our Partners

I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

$35

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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The 6 biggest lies I believed before having kids

Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves.

Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves. Some of these ideas might have been based on our own ideas of how we would absolutely do things differently than everyone else. Others, we believed what everyone else told us would happen would apply to our littles, too. But, that's not always the case, mama.

Below are six of the biggest lies I believed before having kids—and the reality of what actually happened for me.

1. Put your baby down drowsy, but awake

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