"The best advice I received the first time around was from other pumping or previously pumping moms: block your pumping time on your calendar and be fiercely protective of that time."

What is one piece of advice you wish you could offer your former expectant self?

Find your people and get used to “good enough” for a little while. At work, find the other parents who can let you in on the best tips for your specific workplace. Let whatever can slide for a little while, slide, at work and at home. Do the best you can – that’s what everyone else is doing. Go back to work in the middle of the workweek. Schedule something for just you at the end of that week. Let people who want to help, help. The third time around, I think we were well fed for months!

What was your primary motivation for deciding to return (or not) to work? How early did you tell your employer?

I never considered not returning to work. I waited as long as I could to tell my employer in each pregnancy (usually around five months) and was always pleasantly surprised by the reaction.

FOR MOMS: If you breastfed, was there a place for you to pump that met your needs and was conducive to your success? If you breastfed, how did you decide to continue? FOR DADS: What, if any, adjustments did you (or your workplace) make to your schedule after having a baby? Was it specific to your manager or larger, whole work culture?

I wish the classes we took pre-baby had spent a lot more time on this. It was by far the biggest challenge with baby one. There was a nice space to pump for my first two pregnancies (save for traveling post second baby, i.e. Amtrak!). The best advice I received the first time around was from other pumping or previously pumping moms: block your pumping time on your calendar and be fiercely protective of that time. Breastfeeding was much easier with baby two and three; though with three not always having a “home base” for work has made it much more complicated to figure out on a day to day basis.

How much leave did you take, and how comfortable were you taking it?

1st – four months
2nd – slightly less than four months
3rd – four and a half months

I was nervous about taking the time the first time around because I just didn’t know at all what to expect – and very happy with the second two.

How easy was it to put a childcare arrangement together and did it work for your family?

The first time it was overwhelming. We were on many wait lists – none of which would have infant openings when I was going back to work – and investigating home-based care, nannies, and nanny shares. We ultimately went with a nanny share, which was a fantastic arrangement for us prior to transitioning to a traditional day care setting.

When did the “new normal” set in for you?

Not sure it has yet!

What was your biggest challenge going back to work?

Time. There is never enough – and with traffic and commutes, pumping and just regular day-to-day work – there is so little on the margins if anything goes wrong.

Who was your biggest source of support in returning to work? What was your biggest pregnancy indulgence?

Other moms! Endless bowls of macaroni and cheese for baby 1 (whoops!) Pregnancy massages whenever I could.

Fill in the blanks: As a working parent, I never expected ____ would be so hard and ____ would be so much easier!

As a working parent, I never expected juggling everything would be so hard.

As a working parent, a bad day is when _____ and a good day is when _______.

As a working parent, a bad day is when everyone is sick and you have no back-up on the same day as an important work event and a good day is when everyone gets to where they should go and back home again. Good enough!

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