As you all know, we at Cradled in Joy Birth Services are passionate about breastfeeding. It’s great for mom, great for baby, and great for the planet.
But it’s not always easy. Especially if you have to go back to work.
Luckily, there’s a book for that. Nancy Mohrbacher, the author of Breastfeeding Made Simple, has done it again with a book that focuses on mothers who may be spending a lot of time pumping in the near future. I love her first book because it takes all the guesswork and silliness out of breastfeeding, and breaks it down to the natural essentials, so I was so looking forward to reading this new book. (I should also add that Breastfeeding Made Simple is one of my required texts for my Lamaze classes–it really is that good.)
Thankfully, Nancy was kind enough to send me a copy of Working and Breastfeeding Made Simple to review. Let’s just say that it will now be required reading for all my Lamaze mamas who plan to return to work.
I’ve been lucky enough to work from home most of the time, but many moms aren’t. I think some of the biggest questions plaguing new working mothers are:
Will I make enough milk?
How do I pump?
How do I bring this up with my employer?
Will my day care provider support me?
These are some heavy questions, and all of them and more are answered in detail in Working and Breastfeeding Made Simple.
One of the things I love about Ms. Mohrbacher’s approach is that she uses plain language, and she repeats it over and over so you remember the basics. She simplifies the process to a few key ideas, and then expands upon them to make the complicated process of pumping boil down to those major concepts. I have friends with jobs that don’t allow pumping breaks, and I always thought that breastfeeding was a hopeless proposition for them, but with Ms Mohrbacher’s explanation of milk removals and various pumping schedules, I learned how a mother can truly keep her supply up if that is what is important to her.
She is also flexible, and doesn’t take an all-or-nothing approach. I can’t tell you how many friends have approached me, tentatively telling me they had to supplement because they couldn’t pump enough at work, and then defending their reasoning. No mom should have to do this–as Ms. Mohrbacher says, any amount of breastmilk you can feed your baby is still beneficial. The book outlines several scenarios for pumping full time, part-time or sporadically, and even offers weaning advice for when you don’t want to pump any more. Many other pumping books I have read do not take this approach, which I feel is in ignorance of the realities of navigating breastfeeding and the modern workplace. (I’ll save my rant about our cultural norms for working mothers for another post, yeah?)
I also ADORE the section on how to use a pump. So many books assume you will figure it out. Well, guess what??? I first used a pump when my eldest was born and couldn’t latch, and you know what? I couldn’t figure it out! I had no idea how to make the milk come out, or that letdown would take a while, and there I sat, engorged, with a pump that I thought didn’t work. This book not only shows you how to properly fit yourself to a pump, but also how pumps work. Hooray!
And finally, the appendix in the book has a wonderful handout for care providers. Care providers are used to feeding formula to babies, which is a whole different ballgame, and sometimes they feed breastfed babies in a way that doesn’t preserve our liquid gold. This handout politely and efficiently provides the information care providers need to appropriately feed the baby and conserve your milk stash as much as possible.
My only critique of the book is that by the end of it, I felt it got repetitive. As someone who is well-versed in breastfeeding knowledge, I didn’t need the repetition of basic concepts. However, if I were a first time mom heading into the workplace, I think it would be important to hear some of these things over and over, if only to boost my confidence, so perhaps there is a place for it. As a WAHM, I don’t need all the different pumping schedules and plans featured in the book, so I skimmed over many of them. However, I love that the book has a plan for just about every single type of working situation.
If you can’t tell, I am in love with this book. It is hard to limit my review to a readable length because I have SO MANY positive things to say about Working and Breastfeeding Made Simple. I feel like this book is detailed enough to give mothers a fighting chance at keeping supply up while working AND supportive enough to make moms feel like rockstars no matter how they choose to feed their babies.
PS, Nancy Mohrbacher has also released an excellent mobile app called Breastfeeding Solutions. It is absolutely essential for new moms and I highly recommend it!
I received a complimentary copy of Working and Breastfeeding Made Simple to review. I was not compensated in any other way for this post. The opinions here are my own!