It's Working Project

"I paid it forward in the workplace by encouraging other expectant moms to develop a breastfeeding plan. I shared with them my experience and explained their rights as a breastfeeding mom in DC."

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

Before baby comes, look within and decide what really matters. Think about what is really important to you and what you really want. Then, put into practice the structures needed to nurture them. Communicate clearly with your partner and your circle of support so everyone is on the same page. Understand that balance doesn’t necessarily mean equal balance. It can mean holding space for all the things that are important to you even when some things hold a higher priority and take up more space than others

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?

For me breastfeeding was the easiest, healthiest and simplest choice for my baby. The act and art of breastfeeding resonated with me as a spiritual practice that connected me to my higher self and nourished my daughter and myself.

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

I took a little more than six months leave. I managed that only because I was in the process of moving when my maternity leave began. I was quite comfortable taking the leave time. I was less comfortable with getting back to work.

What was your biggest challenge going back to work?

My biggest challenge going back to work was figuring out how I was going to continue to breastfeed. I had to go back to work well before I was thinking about weaning so figuring out how I was going to work and pump and breastfeed was my biggest challenge. That said I was definitely one of the lucky ones. My daughter was primarily cared for by my mother and godmother when I was at work. Both of them agreed to bring my daughter to my job each day during my lunch break where we all ate together. In addition, I pumped twice a day to keep my supply up and to prevent engorgement. It wasn’t glamorous. I pumped in a rather well used conference room with uncomfortable seats and dirty floors, and my colleagues often walked in on me. But I did what I had to do and it was worth it knowing I was able to give my baby the best.

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

I did not have a back to work mentor and I think having one would be a great idea. Every mom could use the support of a mama who has been through it before, knows a mama’s rights and can offer tips and tricks of the trade. I hope to provide some of that support through my mentorship and breastfeeding plan workshops.

I was one of the lucky few who was well supported by family. I was blessed to have my mother and Godmother both retired, in the same city as me and willing to babysit. I was and continue to be grateful that they were available so that I very rarely had to get anyone other than a family member to watch my daughter. The few times I did have to choose non-family care I got wonderful recommendations from trusted friends.

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

I learned the hard way that diet can impact me, my breast milk and my baby. I’m grateful for the lesson because now I can share what I’ve learned with other moms.