Lone Star Ma's theme for this week of National Breastfeeding Month is Pumping At Work.
Let's not mince words: pumping breast milk for your baby while you work is really hard. It takes discipline and a whole lot of effort and is largely going to be the main thing on your mind while you are doing it, after the baby herself and any other children you may have. It takes dedication, good equipment, preparation, and the courage to advocate for yourself and your baby. Pumping is not for wimps.
That said, it is completely and totally worth it.
The health benefits your infant receives from breast milk cannot be overstated. This is particularly true when your infant is hanging out in group childcare while you work. You go nurse your little one on your lunch break or at drop-off and pick-up and you be sure to play with all the other babies in the room and get huggy with the childcare providers as much as possible. That way, you get exposed to every germ they have, you make antibodies for those germs that get distributed in your milk and your baby stays healthy. It's a gorgeous system. Nursing also makes you healthier, makes your baby smarter and keeps the two of you quite necessarily close and bonded.
It's worth it, but it is hard.
Be sure to have a plan. Discuss your needs (nursing breaks in a private space with an outlet: not a bathroom) with your employer ahead of time and get a good pump.
Let me be clear about good pumps. If you are working anything approaching full-time, you need a Medela brand double electric pump. There are several versions and I cannot keep up since my children are weaned with what is the latest as those gorgeous geniuses at Medela are always coming up with better and better models, so do your research, but it is something like the Medela Pump-In-Style Advanced that you need. Medela does not pay me anything, I promise, and I am telling you the truth here: do not get any other brand. Other breast pumps can be good for date night, taking a class, occasional part-time work. Only Medela will do for full-time work. Don't play. I'm serious. It will be hard enough with the Medela. Eat beans and rice or whatever you have to do, but get the Medela.
Is that clear?
The Affordable Care Act now requires that insurance plans cover the cost of breast pumps but it does not say what kind of breast pumps and many plans may not cover Medela double electric pumps. Most plans require that you get that pump from a covered DME provider. Some may be willing to let you pay the difference between what you want and what they cover. Do your homework. Bureaucracy is hard but this is good practice for dealing with the fun stuff like pediatric hospital billing departments and university financial aid offices which are certainly in your future.
Good luck!! Be strong!! You can do it!!