Pumping at Work: Plan vs. Reality


Do you believe if you fail to plan then you plan to fail?

Failure, by it’s very definition, is an all-around bummer.

Planning provides structure and alludes to the promise of change. A solid plan can help to get meals on the table, save money and achieve fitness goals. In order to reach goals, plans need action and follow through.

Even with the best intentions and planning, reaching my pumping and nursing goals has been a challenge.

I work outside of the home and my son is six months old. He currently receives a mix of formula and breast-milk. An ideal schedule.*

  • 6 am – nurse
  • 10 am – pump
  • 2 pm – pump
  • 5:30 pm – nurse
  • 10 pm – pump

Reality (based on observations from the last week):

  • Nurse anytime between 4:30 and 6:30 am
  • Pump between 10 am and noon
  • Pump by 4 pm
  • Nurse when I get home around 5:30 pm

I’m embarrassed to admit this reality because I’m in complete control of my schedule. My employer provides ample time and opportunity to pump. On paper (and in Outlook), my pumping and work schedule is manageable. In reality, it’s tough to duck out of meetings, client calls, work trips, brainstorming sessions or personal work time to pump.

Plain and simple, pumping takes a certain discipline that I have yet to truly master. I’ve essentially “leaned out” and communicated my revised goals to my managers. For me, finding a true work-life balance is harder than barreling through to-do lists and working late. This is a topic for another day!

Back to the matter at hand, pumping at work.

In order to reach my nursing goals, I’ve re-committed myself and outlined a plan:

  • Create short-term goals. Commit to a 21 day plan and re-evaluate.
  • Schedule all nursing and pumping sessions in my calendar.
  • Make all calendar times public (vs. private). A small effort to normalize breastfeeding.
  • Drink a lot of water
  • Eat whole foods that maximize milk production
  • Have fun with smoothie and cookie recipes that boost production
  • Stay motivated!

With a revised plan, renewed commitment, supportive coworkers and family members, I have confidence in my nursing and pumping goals. Breastfeeding is a grueling commitment and daily grind but I know it’s a short season. One that I’ll look back on with fondness.

Do you have any tips on maintaining a pumping schedule? Where do you turn for motivation? 

*Based on personal lactation consultant recommendations. She suggested ten sessions a day in order to increase (or, “kick-start”) supply in order to reach my goal of reducing formula feedings. The schedule outlined above made sense for my schedule and family.

The tank ran dry at approximately 8:38pm last night

Even super woman has to put her foot down, sometimes.

Even super woman has to put her foot down, sometimes.

Sometimes, when you have a long day, doesn’t it just feel good to write down exactly how long of a day it was? Well, bear with me, because that’s what is happening. It’s not about who does more or who is more productive, or who has their sh** together. It’s just to say, “Phew! Glad that’s over with. Let’s get on with the next day!”

And with that I give you a pretty common place day in my world, with one minor exception. Jake wasn’t around most of last night because he had to go to a secret meeting of men who gush about how much they love their wife and child(ren)…I can only assume. Otherwise, he would have been my partner in crime.

4:30 am – wake up and go work out
6:15 am – shower and get ready
7 am – fight with my almost three-year-old about why he has to wear underwear to daycare
7:40 am – leave the house
8am – fight with almost three-year-old about the need to go to daycare instead of running into the street
8:02am – carry kicking and screaming almost three-year-old into daycare
8:03am chase almost three-year-old around classroom trying to get him to remove his coat and hat
8:05am – leave daycare with a, “Good luck!” to his daycare teachers and drive remaining two blocks to work
9am – meeting
9:30am – meeting
10am – hour-long meeting
11am – hour-long meeting
12pm – eat while on a phone call/meeting
12:30pm – rush to get some other projects tied up
1:30pm – two-hour team session
3:30pm – meeting
5pm – leave office to pick up almost three-year-old from daycare
5:05pm – go look at the bunny he made that day
5:07pm – still looking at the bunny he made
5:15pm – leave daycare and drive home
5:50pm – bribe son to sit on the potty
6pm – set out to make sweet potato french fries.
6:15pm – dance party to Bruno Mars and Taylor Swift
6:45pm – attempt eating sweet potato french fries
6:50pm – make toast for son who declares, “These aren’t french fries!”
7:30pm – help almost three-year-old go potty, put pjs on, brush teeth, find blankies
7:45pm – watch “just one show” together on mama’s iPad while snuggling in bed
8:10pm – put almost three-year-old to bed
8:20pm – go sit with almost three-year-old so that he can calm down because he’s upset that he has to go to bed
8:37pm – finally get almost three-year-old to be okay with going to bed if he has the “big blankie”
8:38pm – go back to bedroom and think at the same time, “Finally I can get some writing done!” and “Oh my god I need to go to sleep.”

For all the rough moments and failed dinner attempts, yesterday, there were still some silver linings. I worked out AND I did about a half hour of writing/editing last night (even though the tank ran dry at 8:38pm last night I managed to make it on fumes for a bit longer). And for all the fights with an almost three-year-old, there were still a lot of fun moments in between.

Tonight might be more of the same as we’re getting ready to head up to my parent’s house for a long Easter weekend, but at the very least, this morning we got to daycare on time and not ONE fight was had. Success…for today, at least.

Do you ever do the above and make a list of everything that happened the day before? How does it make you feel? I’m curious because I’m energized by knowing that I survived such a hectic day. Others though? I wonder if they see it as overwhelming. Share how you deal with crazy days like this.

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