Type-A Tips for Pumping at Work

Reader Tina wanted advice on how to manage pumping at work. You know how I love to dole out advice. So, here are a few tips for the business lady lactator:

1. Invest in button down shirts.  If you are a lady wearing an untucked button down shirt and carrying a black boxy shoulder bag, you’re a certified Type-A pumper.  Not only can you get to the girls quickly, you don’t have to worry about messing up your hair or getting lipstick on your collar.

I know, I know. You love dresses. But if you are wearing a dress, each time you pump you get to sit in a cold room naked as coworkers and strangers loiter just beyond the door that you pray to all things holy you actually remembered to lock. When you wear a collared shirt, your boobs may be exposed and hooked to a machine, but at least you’ve got sleeves on.

The downside is that about 80% of the time, you’ll leave at least one button on the shirt unbuttoned. You’ll usually discover this right after you make some really smart and savvy comment in a meeting. You’ll cross your arms and sit back in your chair, basking in the  business lady rockstar moment, when a colleague will turn to you and not-at-all whisper, “missed one!”

2. Pump in a room with a lock on the door. If you don’t feel relaxed and comfortable, your production could suffer. Or the anxiety of being walked in on may make you stop pumping all together.  I don’t care if it is a closet, find a locked door. There’s really nothing worse than hearing approaching co-worker voices/footsteps when you are wearing this:

Screen Shot 2013-07-31 at 4.49.13 PM

Although, it is a great pumping bra

Just promise me you’ll never do this unless your are 100% positive there is no way some random guy from finance can accidentally walk in. The party cardi does you no favors here:

Screen Shot 2013-07-31 at 4.48.44 PM

3. Block out time to pump on your office calendar. Create a re-occuring calendar appointment for how ever many times a day you need to pump. And don’t be discrete because no one respects a calendar block labeled “Hold.” Nothing says “unavailable for your pointless meeting about a meeting” like a one hour, color-coded block of time labeled “PUMPING.” Ain’t no body messin’ with that.

Continue reading


There’s all sorts of things no one tells you about pregnancy. Same goes for life after a baby. But the one thing I SWEAR NO ONE TOLD ME was that a woman’s breasts may actually be SMALLER after breastfeeding than they were prior to breastfeeding.

I want those of you who know me to think about that.

… … …


Let’s reflect a bit: I have never been a curvy gal, but I had grown accustom to the little bit of curve The Good Lord gave me. Then, I got preggers! AND OMG, THE CURVES! I felt sexy, even while carrying what turned out to be an 8.5 pound replica of my spouse.

After Suzianne was born, I got curvier! The girls went up a full cup size! Um, that would be a B, but still. I got used to having my B’s and sported them proudly. When I stopped breastfeeding, the gals were sore for about two weeks…

Then, one morning, THEY WERE GONE.


Poof, ya’ll.

How can this happen when I had so little to begin with? I’m really struggling with this, as vein and trivial as it is. I can’t help it.

So, today I marched my tiny chest right over to Victoria’s Secret, where a delightful gal named Josie fitted me for bras.

Josie: “Well, it looks like you’re really a 30A. We don’t actually carry bras that small in the store. You have to special order them.”

Me: “Yeah, well, let’s find me a 32A that mostly fits. I cannot make myself purchase a bra so small that someone with tiny hands in a sweat shop somewhere had to custom sew to fit my freakish frame.”

Josie: “Okay, then!”

I ended up buying three of these. Great fit; fun colors. I feel a little more confident about the way I look now that I’m not wearing a bra that is 75 sizes too big. But I’m still sad that my beloved B’s are gone. {sniff, sniff.}

Anyway, when this happens to you, ladies, don’t mope about for two months like I did. Seek professional help; find your Josie. Retail therapy is the only way to rise above the body image issues that accompany overnight deflation.

Five Months!

Happy five months on Earth, baby-o-mine!

Whew! So much has happened in month five. I PROMISE I’ll blog all about it later, but the gist of it is:

  • We’re moving to San Diego;
  • Suzianne is into size two diapers and eating solid foods;
  • I’m no longer breastfeeding (sad face; but, happy to have my body back); and
  • I RAN my first 5k!

More to come. I swear. I’ve been delinquent. But, that’s a good thing, remember? In the meantime….watch her grow! Take a scroll through the Month-by-Month archives.


Week 17: back to work…back to me!

I went back to work this week.  As my co-workers will attest, I have not once broken down in tears. I appear sincerely happy to be back.

I am happy to be back. Here’s why:

1. My first day back at work was not my first day away from Suzianne: at first, our time apart was confusing and sad. BUT! Since Suzianne started part-time nanny-share three weeks before I went to work, I did my crying in a Northern Virginia bar with a stranger named “Al.” Therefore, when I returned to the office, it felt like any other day. I highly recommend this strategy.

2. I need an office job. We’ve talked before about my need for structure. I’m a much happier person when I have a routine, a to-do list and social time. There are many smart parents who are able to establish these things within the home; they and their babies thrive in this situation. I’ve tried it. It’s really hard. I don’t do it well. They say that when you have a baby you experience the “ah-ha” moment of “I want to be at home with this baby everyday” or “Good Lord, I miss having lunch with adults, get me outta here.” Staying at home with an infant is most certainly work. I quickly discovered I prefer working outside the home.

3. Absence makes the heart grow fonder: now that I don’t hang with Suzianne 24 hours a day, I’m much more appreciative of the time I spend with her. She’s been quite the sleeper lately, going to bed around 7 each night. This means Dave and I get one hour with her at home in the evenings. ONE HOUR. And it’s awesome. We also treasure the weekends, and, in the category of “Things I thought I’d never say,” we now enjoy our very early mornings with her. That’s right, I now LIKE getting up at 6 a.m. to hang out with someone who is only going to poop, giggle and spit up on me. It’s crazy what having a child will do to you.

Of course, the other thing that made going back so easy was the enthusiasm and support of my fabulous co-workers. Thanks for your love and friendship, folks. And I’m really sorry I nearly killed the welcome back flowers you brought me, Kristen. At least I have this great picture of them, before the drooping set in:

It seems I can keep my child alive, just not a potted plant. (sigh)

Suzianne to San Diego, Day 4: move along, nothing to see here

Oh, Day Four. You are but a fog. I laid in bed all day while Suzianne played with mom and her friend, Genetta.

And since I took a muscle relaxer (that made me quite sick, but did help my back), I had to pump and dump my liquid gold. It was so, so very sad:

I do remember the massage I got though. It was heavenly and helped quite a bit. Will be repeating that today…

Oh, BUT, BUT! There was a shining moment I shall not type here–because Suzianne reads my blog–but will show you:

{squeal, squeal!}

{virtual high five}


Oh, yes she did.

Thank you, Suzianne. Momma needed her beauty rest.

And thank you, friends for the back pain tips, stretching suggestions (those are awesome, Michelle) and words of encouragement! You’ll never know how much your support means!


Suzianne to San Diego, Day 3.5: It’s all fun and games, til somebody gets their back thrown out

Guess what? I can’t lift my baby. Sweet.

Yesterday afternoon, I had just changed Suzianne’s diaper, and breastfed her in the Nordstrom lounge when all of the sudden, I couldn’t move.

My back had given out and I could not lift Suzianne into the stroller seat. I couldn’t even stand up. So, there we sat.

I was all panicked; mom was on the other side of the mall. Suzianne was all, “why are we sitting here when we could be checking out the Michael Kors purses?”

Last night, she had to sleep in the bed with me so I could feed her without lifting her in and out of the crib. It turns out, it’s the feeding her part that is making my back seize up. So now, I’m laying here, feeling like a moron. A moron in a lot of pain who cannot feed her baby.

But at least I’ve got this handy Rite Aid heat pack mom had bought me when I had the boob issue. I’m bringing sexy back:

And hoping that a day of bed rest will fix me.

This clearly means that I can’t fly home tomorrow, because I can’t carry Suzianne, much less break down her stroller in the airport security line. I can’t even breastfeed her at this point. Good thing I packed the pump.

This sucks. But it is at times like these that you really, really appreciate your momma. Mom has been taking such good care of me/us. Last night, she took Suzianne away and put me in a bath with Motrin and a glass of champaign. This morning, she took Suzianne at 6:30 a.m. so I could rest.

I’m equal parts sad and freaked out. There’s really nothing worse than hearing Suzianne cry, or seeing her want to play with me, and not be able to meet her needs.

The good news: if you’re gonna be “stuck” in a city, at least we’re stuck in beautiful San Diego.

We’ll be here a few extra days. In the meantime, if you’ve got helpful tips on managing back pain, please leave them in the comments!

Suzianne to San Diego: Day 1.5

Oh, people. You can SO take a 10-week-old from D.C. to San Diego. I hope I’m not jinxing myself on the flight back by writing this, but Suzianne was her usual, happy self the entire way. My baby may not sleep at night, but she can ROCK a cross-country flight, yo.

You’ve already heard about how easy our pass through airport security was; here’s how the rest of the day went:

But first, let me explain that the amazing Granny Sue Sue flew all the way across the country to accompany me *back* across the country to visit her. Yes, she did. So, when you see pictures of her with us, even though we’re going to visit her, that’s why.

At the airport:

Because I’m just slightly anal-retentive, I made Granny Sue Sue go with me to the airport like 13 hours before our flight left. Okay, really just four hours before. But still, it was WAY to early. Since we breezed through security, we had three hours to kill at the airport. We quickly found the pub. Suzianne snoozed the whole time, even with the random old school rap blasting in the background:

After hamburgers, we attempted to find a “private” part of the terminal so I could breastfeed. WIth the aid of my rockin’ Hooter Hider (thanks, Aly!) I did so with minimal awkwardness, except for the random two people who came over and sat by us (see photo):

Which leads us to this important announcement:

Dear Jet Set People of Earth:

When a woman goes out of her way to find a secluded part of the terminal and is CLEARLY feeding her infant with her boobs, don’t then sit next to her. It’s weird. And you then lose the right to give her rude looks, BECAUSE YOU CAME OVER HERE.

Safe travels!

Team Newman

They didn’t stay long, and Suzianne was a happy/drunken camper:

It was around this time that my left boob started throbbing. All day, the bottom half of it had been warm, firm and quite painful to even the slightest touch. I thought maybe I had bruised it pumping. You know, because you can push on parts of your boob to get more milk to flow. But it kept getting worst throughout the day. A quick Google told me it likely was a plugged milk duct. But we had a plane to catch…

The Plane:

We checked our stroller and car seat gate-side; the United flight crew was very nice and accommodating. Since Suzianne is an infant, I just held her in my lap:

Before takeoff, we asked the flight attendant if we could store the breast milk in a fridge somewhere. Within minutes, four bottles of it were sitting pretty in the drink cart.

It was also fun to watch all the people walk onto the plane with content gazes until they realized an infant was sitting near them. They’d glare at her with uncertainty and resentment, while Suzianne gave them the bobble head stare that read equal parts amusement and apathy.

She was all “Just chill, ya’ll. I got this.”

On takeoff, we swaddled her up for her nap and gave her a pacifier to suck on. As we ascended, my ears popped like crazy; Suzianne laid there and never made a peep.

During the five hour flight, we kept her on her normal eating, playing and napping schedule. We were so lucky it happened to work out that she either needed to nap or nurse on take off and landing. 

In no time, both Suzie’s were snoozing:

Which left me awake with a horrible movie to watch and a throbbing boob to hold. After a few hours, I couldn’t take the pain anymore and asked the flight attendant if she had anything warm I could hold on my boob.

She didn’t hesitate and said she’d return in a minute with a hot water bottle. About five minutes later, she handed me a large bottle of boiling Aqua Fina wrapped in a towel. The heat was a huge relief; if only mentally. But my boob still hurt.

A little later, we had an in-seat diaper change:

Some in-flight nursing (during the decent):

And before you know it, we were in San Diego!

The time difference:

Since Suzianne hasn’t yet found a night sleeping schedule that involves much actual sleeping, I decided to just follow her internal clock, rather than make her adjust to pacific time. Last night, she actually slept very well; sleeping in three 2 hour and 45 minute intervals. That translates into 2.5 hours of sleep at a time for me, which is awesome.

Also last night, I kept a hot compress on my boob for about 30 minutes. And this morning, after our early morning nursing, Suzianne unplugged the duct! I feel like a new momma. 


Take your baby to California! As several of you told me, this is the easiest flight I’ll ever take with her because she’s so little. And it’s true! You can do this! Of course, I’ll be doing this alone on my way back to D.C., so we’ll see if my story changes any on Friday!

Hooter Hider: handmade with love in Colorado!

I’m ever-so-grateful to my Auburn pal and sorority sister, Aly Warren, for sending me this beautiful “hooter hider” courtesy of her organic, fabulous baby store, Naturally Loved:

If you live in Denver, go check it out! 

She put it in the mail to us after reading this post, about how I was feeding Suzianne on the nasty carpet floor in front of the men’s room. I was trying to use a blanket to cover myself, but it kept slipping off. I was all traumatized by the “feeding on the floor” experience; Suzianne was all “thanks for the grub, momma!”

Since then, I’ve had a few more public feeding sessions. I’m getting a little better at it.

BUT NOW, when I feed my baby in public, a car or a Nordstrom, I’ll be beaming with female empowerment AND will look super-cute while doing so! Suzianne and I appreciate you, Aly!

*Per FTC legal whatnot, I need to tell you that although I did receive this hooter hider for free, I was not asked to endorse it/blog about it. 

Stay classy, Team Newman

On Monday, Mom, Suzianne and I went to my doctor’s office (I’m doin’ fine! Thanks to my doctor’s fancy stitch work. Thanks, Dr, D!) and then to the mall. Before we went strolling, we lunched at the Ritz and I fed Suzianne at the table.

After Suzianne was full, I was beaming with female empowerment. I handed her off to Granny Sue Sue and got up to strut to the ladies room. When I turned back, I saw this:

Why, yes. That is my breast pad. Displayed there. For all the Ritz-y world to see. Atta girl, Margie! Oh, well.  At least it was a step up from feeding her on the floor in front of the men’s room.

In other news, yesterday, I actually laughed out loud when I opened the fridge to find my breast milk (four ounces, baby!) holding court on our beloved beer shelf:

Yep! Things have definitely changed for Team Newman. And now that I’m not a weepy mess–and I can walk and sit without wincing–I’m happy to report that I’m now enjoying and laughing at (nearly) every minute of it.