Hi mamas! I’m Lacey Parr, a certified lactation educator and mom of three. I am super excited to interview a mom today who worked full-time as a high school teacher and pumped while at work for all four of her children. We’ve heard from our support forum and clients that being a teacher can be one of the more challenging professions when it comes to pumping at work – the kids are always depending on you! Mandi Boyd has done it successfully through 4 babies – sharing her tips and experiences below.
What influenced your decision to express your milk?
I chose to pump because I wanted to continue breastfeeding. I fell in love with the bonds formed and convenience of breastfeeding while on maternity leave. I knew it would be difficult if not impossible, to continue if I didn’t pump. Another major reason was due to the fact that we would be able to save a substantial amount of money if I expressed my milk. Pumping just made more sense for our family financially. Another motivating factor was guilt. I, like many mothers, harbor guilt for all sorts of things (i.e. not having a perfectly clean home, lack of made-from-scratch meals, kids watching too much t.v., etc. ). I felt guilty that I wasn’t staying home with my children all day! However, one thing I could provide was breastmilk. So pumping was an easy choice.
How did you prepare to express milk at your job before the baby arrived?
Before each of my babies were born, I informed my supervisor that I would be pumping when I returned from maternity leave. I share an office with another teacher and I also told her about it. I already had a small refrigerator in my office and a sink that had hot water, so I was lucky to have those so close. I also made sure I had my breastpump ready to go before returning to work.
How did your workplace support your decision to express milk at work?
My supervisors when my oldest and youngest were born were very supportive. When I informed them I would be doing it they both told me if I needed anything to let them know. The single most important and supportive person at work was my office mate, Amy. Pumping would have been much more difficult had she not been so supportive. Anytime my pumping ran late, she would let my students in the classroom and see that they started their assignments. She graciously gave up her office whenever I was pumping for my privacy.
What tips and advice do you have for other teacher moms who plan to express milk at work?
If you don’t have your own refrigerator, buy one. I bought a small one for about $60. It’s worth it not to have to share with anyone and risk getting your liquid gold thrown out! Plus you’ll have something close by to keep your lunch/drinks cold too.
If you don’t have a sink in the area you are pumping, buy extra milk containers and a simple plastic dishpan to throw them in the fridge until you wash. That way you can have enough to pump all day with out having to wash everything until the end of the day.
Set up procedures in your class to allow for when your pumping may run over into classtime. I always had a bellringer (a short assignment) on the the board when the students arrived to class. They knew to begin the assignment as soon as they arrived.
If you receive kindness, reciprocate it. People will always do more when they feel appreciated. For Amy, my office mate, I offered and covered her classes often. I thanked her everyday, wrote her notes, gave her simple gifts, brought her lunch, and became her friend. She has since told me that those kindnesses meant a great deal to her.
Use your pumping experience as a teaching opportunity. Whenever I returned from maternity leave or began the new school year, I would explain to each of my classes about my choice to breastfeed and that I would be pumping in my office throughout the day. Whenever they asked questions, I was honest. I shared the joys and convenience of breastfeeding with them. I saw my secondary students as future parents. It was my hope that my commitment and sacrifice would make an impression on them. I have encountered several former students the past few years who’ve reported that they are breastfeeding!
And most of all, it’s worth it. To be able to instantly reconnect with my babies everyday, provide them with the best nutrition, nurse on-demand when I was with them, and save a ton of money by FAR outweighed any inconvenience I encountered while pumping.
I hoped you loved this interview as much as me! I know personally that her example has inspired others to create goals for breastfeeding and see them as attainable! I also appreciated her emphasis on the savings that breastfeeding can bring. By expressing her milk for her 4 kids, she saved her family close to $10,000! We have a whole class on Pumping and Storing Breastmilk that can help you with all the information you need to safely express, store, thaw, and deliver breastmilk to your infant successfully. If you need a breast pump, you can get a free one through your insurance here.
Any experiences expressing milk in the workplace? Share in the comments.
I’ve created a free e-mail course to help you get breastfeeding started on the right foot! Click the image below for more info.
Thanks for stopping by,
Lacey Parr, CLEC