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pumping at school Archives - Lactation Link

How to pump breastmilk as a college student

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, Features, motherhood

Hi mamas! I think you are going to love today’s interview with a student mom about her experience expressing milk and being a mom on a college campus. Gabrielle Lysenko is a student at the University of Utah pursuing a degree in nursing. She is a mother of two: a 3 year old daughter and a 6 month old son. She and her husband Adam live with their two children in Utah.

Learn how one mom received the support she needed to breastfeed as a student. Read tips on how to get the support you need to pump…

How has your university supported breastfeeding and caring for your baby while you are a student?

On-campus childcare

First, they offer on-campus childcare at a highly subsidized rate. Your monthly payment is based on your income but never exceeds $9/hour which is very competitive. The children are cared for by people with childhood education degrees and the environment is very comfortable. They care for my baby the way I would by accommodating cloth diapers, feeding breast milk by bottle or breast depending on my preference, formula feeding, or offering solids. They also baby wear. These people are pros. I’ve seen them soothing three babies at a time while each one sleeps happily on their lap, chest, or snuggled into their side.

They always welcome me into the classroom for feedings or just to play with my baby in between classes.  I’ve heard them talking about how much they miss the babies over weekends and breaks as well. They truly love our children.

Lactation Rooms + Family Area
Then there’s the multiple lactation rooms on campus. They have computers, printers, private feeding cubicles with closing doors and outlets to plug in breast pumps as well as comfortable rocking chairs and tables to place homework or pumps on. There is a freezer to store pumped milk in as well. There are toys, books, and a tv with children’s shows to entertain older kids while their parents work. There are even private group study rooms in this family area should you need a more peaceful environment.

Supportive staff
But you don’t always have to go out of your way to find an environment compatible with family life. I take my son to all my anatomy TA and supplementary instruction hours. He cries sometimes and coos as babies do. Everyone giggles a bit because he usually strikes a complaint right after the TA asks a particularly difficult question, seemingly voicing all of our complaints. The TA’s and other students have told me they don’t mind at all having him in class.

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But perhaps the most surprising thing has been breastfeeding uncovered during TA hours. My son usually gets cranky and has to eat around that time, but no one has ever batted an eye. The TA’s and other students still talk to me and work out problems while my son is latched. If it ever made them uncomfortable, I never knew.  I’ve felt more comfortable having my baby with me on campus than I have in other public areas. The University of Utah as well as their students and employees are very understanding, welcoming, and accommodating.

What inspired you to go back to school?

I read an article that showed, scientifically speaking, children are more inclined to go on to get a college level degree if their mothers have one. It had always been important to me, but I was really happy being a mom. Then, as I re-embarked on my educational journey, I realized how much more there was for me. I saw what it was to be a person outside of my family. For the first time in my life, I had something that was just mine that I could be proud of. It was at that point I decided I wanted a degree I could actually use after I graduated. I wanted it all: to be a career woman and a mother. I wanted my children to see how hard I was working to accomplish something so they knew they could do it too. I also realized that having something to fulfill myself would make me a better mother. So far, that’s been absolutely true and I am beyond glad I made this decision.

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What tips do you have for other mothers of young children that are considering more education?

Make absolutely certain you have a good support system. Your whole family has to be on the same page. After that, let all other fears fall away and enjoy the journey. Learning is invigorating. Don’t deny yourself that pleasure by worrying about how much TV your kids are watching or how badly you’re eating (guilty). Your college career is a small blip in the span of your life and your children’s’ lives. They’ll be better for it and so will you.

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For more information on how to get support for expressing milk as a student, visit The Pregnant Scholar. And to find out what resources your university has for parents, visit Pregnant On Campus.

It seems that Gabrielle has found such an incredible support system that has helped her be confident in her choices. I wish you all the same! If you have been a student as a mother, what helped you the most? 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.

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Thanks for coming by,

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Lacey Parr, CLEC

How to pump breastmilk as a teacher

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, breastfeeding tips, motherhood

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.

Learn from a mom of 4 how she fit breastfeeding and pumping into her life as a teacher. Get tips on breastfeeding success as a teacher.
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.  

petunia pickle bottom pump bag

{Petunia Pickle Bottom Parkway Tote}

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. 

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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.

6-day

Thanks for stopping by,

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Lacey Parr, CLEC