You and your baby are in the breastfeeding groove, and you love the bonding each feeding brings. But your life is about to get a lot more hectic with a job in the mix. Whether you plan to express milk to feed your little one while you're at work or to maintain your supply, you'll soon be using a breast pump. When I was a new mom, I found it tricky to find the ideal spot and time to pump. What I craved were solutions, like these, to the perplexing situations pumping can present.
"There's no pumping room available where I work."
Talk to HR. Under the Affordable Care Act (part of the Fair Labor Standards Act), many employers must now give nursing moms a place to express milk and "reasonable" unpaid pumping breaks for one year after the birth of a child. This area can't be the bathroom, it should be available when you need it, and you should be shielded from view. If your office does have a lactation room, scope it out pre-baby. "I assumed that I could just go in and use our 'mothers' room' whenever," says Annie Grant, of Newburyport, Massachusetts. "But I had to be added to a special calendar, have my security badge re-coded to gain access, and schedule times with another woman. It worked out, but for a few hours, when I was bursting at the seams, I couldn't do what I needed to do."
"A pump is too expensive!"
Priced at $200 to $400, a high-quality electric pump is an investment, but it's still much less than the formula you'd buy if you weren't nursing, says Maeve Howett, Ph.D., R.N., a board-certified lactation consultant in Atlanta. Just one month of formula can run well over $200, more if you purchase the ready-to-feed kind. And a double electric pump allows you to efficiently pump both breasts at the same time, so you can express enough milk for a full feeding in 10 minutes. If you're making the purchase, check with your health insurance company; because of the new health-care law, your plan might cover all or part of the cost. Breast-feeding pumps and accessories can also be paid for with funds set aside in flexible spending accounts.