Before I had my first baby, I had heard the word “doula” thrown around. I’ll be honest that I jumped to some assumptions, and decided without almost any knowledge that a doula wasn’t for me in particular. I knew I was going to have my baby by C-section, for reasons I won’t get into, and I really thought that doulas were basically birth coaches.
It’s only now that I’m immersed in the world of trying to be supportive to other new mothers that I’m kicking myself for not looking into getting help from a postpartum doula, just to have some female community and support for the craziness. So I asked my new friend Emily Skyrm to guest blog about why she loves being a postpartum doula. Emily is the co-founder of Baby Caravan, in NYC, and spends a lot of time supporting new mothers who are heading back to work. My kind of girl. So without further ado…here’s Emily!
As new mothers we come across so many people who consider themselves “experts.” The sleep experts, lactation experts, expert postpartum chefs…the list goes on and on. It’s gotten to a point now that there are so many “experts” in this field that woman are finding it harder and harder to actually trust themselves.
Continue reading Why the Hell Didn’t I Get a Pospartum Doula?
I’m so excited to be blogging over on The Bump, one of the largest online communities for expecting and new moms. My latest: http://blog.thebump.com/2015/05/27/working-mom-breastfeeding-goals/
I have written a lot here (want proof? see posts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7) about that loud little subset of pro-breastfeeding people (other mothers, lactation professionals, people in the media, etc) who cross the line from “supportive” to “judgy.” But I also keep saying that the majority of pro-breastfeeding people are normal, kind people who have no desire to make you feel like shit.
I want to introduce you to one of those people. Lina Martin is a certified breastfeeding counselor and doula who Just. Gets. It. For a little restoration of your faith in humanity, read on to hear what she has to say about her approach to supporting women – especially working mothers – and their varied experiences with breastfeeding.
Continue reading Meet a lactation counselor who TOTALLY gets it
Hi all! I am working with the amazing Abrams Books to get Work. Pump. Repeat: How to Survive Breastfeeding and Going Back to Work ready for its big debut in Fall 2015. In the interim, I am continuing to make the pre-publication ebook available, for those expecting and new moms whose back-to-work schedules just can’t wait.
Continue reading Pre-pub ebook available
Looking to stay up-to-date on publication, book tour, and other news for my book, Work. Pump. Repeat: How to Survive Breastfeeding and Going Back to Work?
Look no further: Join me at www.workpumprepeat.com, where you can sign up for email updates on the book, find book tour dates when they’re posted, and more!
My book for working, breastfeeding women is in pre-publication! Here’s what Midwest Book Review has to say about it:
…a solid advice guide that should be on the shelves of any woman who enjoys a career and who wants to return to it while continuing to nurture her child: a guide very highly recommended for its exceptional focus and well-rounded discussion of the realities of the venture.
Check out details at www.workpumprepeat.com. You can sign up there to receive updates, and be the first to know when some cool stuff happens:
- Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for self-publication. Super affordable rewards for backers include e-books and signed paperbacks.
- News and press related to the book.
- Publication and availability to purchase on all major e-book readers, and in paperback form from Amazon.com.
My wonderful friend Ellie Stoneley, a popular blogger based in the UK (and a Bruce Springsteen fanatic, which won this Jersey girl’s heart straight off), wrote a piece this week that has gotten love from both HuffPo and UNICEF. In essence, Ellie notes a recent study that found that PPD “is more than double in women who planned to breastfeed and then were unable to, whereas the women who planned to breastfeed and then did are 50% less likely to be affected.”
Ellie goes on to talk about how essential it proved to be that she prepared for breastfeeding, through classes and reading, before the birth of her lovely little sprite Hope, and how important postpartum support was. She advocates strongly that every woman, in every country, have ready access to ongoing support in the early weeks and months of her baby’s life, because, let’s all say it together: BREASTFEEDING MIGHT BE NATURAL, BUT IT AIN’T EASY.
Ellie’s piece resonated with me on a lot of levels, and I am so proud of her for advocating for something that ALL women and babies, of all socio-economic levels, everywhere, need and deserve. But it also got me thinking that something continues to be missing from this conversation. (I can say this, knowing that Ellie will have my back!)
Continue reading Does breastfeeding protect you from postpartum depression?
I recently asked my Facebook community this question: “What’s the ONE thing you wish you’d known before going back to work while breastfeeding?”
…and the answers poured out. These ladies have been through the war, and they have really useful advice…
- Double check you have all your parts.
- Target sells Medela pump parts. If you get to work and realize you’ve left your parts at home, don’t freak out. Target can save the day! (So can Babies R Us)
- Bring separate pumping sets for each time you pump…i had a clean bag of parts and a dirty bag when done… Made it so much faster while there but made for alot of dishes once home!!! (Jessica’s note: after each pumping session, I prefer to throw the pump parts in a large, slider-top Ziploc, and throw the bag in the fridge. It’s cold when you start up the next time, but it’s sanitary and fast!)
- Pack extra of those white membranes (they are like socks in the dryer)
- Stash a box of breastmilk bags at work, so if/when you forget bottles to store milk, you are covered. Also just keep a few extra bottles.
- Microwave sterilizer bags.
- Buy a pump for home and leave the giant rig at work. Less forgetting.
- Don’t forget the bottle caps!! And if you do, just leave the shields on the bottles and you’ll be fine!
- No matter how many signs you have on the door, someone is walking in, so bring your hooter hider.
- Change of clothes in filing cabinet. (for leaks / spills)
- Make sure to have a hands free bra so you can multitask and work while pumping!! (Jessica’s note: I have found that the flanges/horns fit fine tucked into the cups of a regular bra, and I can still work – aka check Facebook – while I pump.)
…tricks to keep you on time and on target:
- Set an alarm to remind you to pump every 3 hours.
- Pack snacks in the pumping bag.
- Pack it all up the night before.
- Start building up a big freezer stash way in advance (Jessica’s note: more on how to do that here)
…and a loving reminder from a mom who’s been there, with the mom guilt:
- You may not be able to be with your baby but pumping might allow you to feel connected and present and contributory.
What’s YOUR #1 piece of advice for back-to-work?
P.S. Want more? From flying with a pump to talking about your breasts with the person who signs your paychecks, my new book, Work. Pump. Repeat: The New Mom’s Survival Guide to Breastfeeding and Going Back to Work, comes out September 8, 2015. You can pre-order now, via:
***Update!! From building a freezer stash to talking about your body with the person who signs your paychecks, my new book, Work. Pump. Repeat: The New Mom’s Survival Guide to Breastfeeding and Going Back to Work, is now on sale. You can order now, via:
…and this blog has a new home, at http://workpumprepeat.weebly.com/blog. Please join me there!
Once you start thinking about your first day back at work, you’re likely to have some burning questions about how on earth to store up enough milk to leave with your baby’s caregiver. How to build up a stash is the question I get asked most often by new parents.
After you’ve learned how to pump, you have to get on a regular schedule of pumping and saving milk if you want to build up a stash. You have likely heard a lot about the supply and demand aspect of breastfeeding – that supposedly perfect cycle of your body making as much milk as your baby needs. This might make you wonder how you will ever get any additional milk to save for when you go back to work. But it is entirely possible, assuming you have a pretty normal milk supply. (If you have a low supply and/or are already supplementing with formula, you will have to work harder to store up milk, and you are likely looking at your caregiver supplementing during the day. And you are still an awesome parent.) Continue reading Breast Milk on Ice: How to Build a Freezer Stash Before You Go Back to Work
When I was in business school, I had a classmate and friend named Josh, with whom I worked on every group project. Fortunately for me, he is one of those people who will always tell you the truth about yourself. He called me Captain, and if I were sugar-coating it I would say this name came from my demonstrated leadership abilities, but in honor of Josh, I’ll shoot you straight and tell you it was probably because I’m bossy.
Anyway. One day, we were arguing about what needed to be done on something we were working on, and I wanted to do more, more, more. And Josh looked at me witheringly and said, “Captain, your problem is that you let perfect be the enemy of good.”
I’ll admit it took me a solid 36 hours to understand what he even meant by this. Because in my mind, perfect has always, ALWAYS been the thing to strive for. Especially when it was something measurable, with grades, scores, rankings, or numbers of any kind. But when I did finally get it, it changed my life.
This tendency toward perfectionism and neurotic need-to-measure-itis came into full flower when I had my first child. Breastfeeding was something I could be perfect at, if I just worked at it hard enough. And it was something so rife with measurables, I was practically giddy with anticipation. Ounces (of milk pumped or fed, and gained by the baby, and frozen in the freezer). Feedings per day. Hours of sleep at a stretch. Weeks until baby slept through the night. Count count count. Measure measure measure.
And then there was the “Exclusive Breastfeeder” badge.
Continue reading Breastfeeding: Where Perfect is the Enemy of Good