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:

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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:

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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.

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How To Create a Sleeping Sanctuary

How do you create the perfect sleeping environment for your baby? Hell if I know.

From noise machines, to night lights, to food schedules, to superstition, I’ve tried everything to get my Dawn Worshiper to sleep past 5:15 a.m. And when she wakes she’s not waking up happy; she’s all kinds of mad for no apparent reason.

For a while, I thought it was the sunlight peeking in, waking her up before she was ready. So for the past week, Suzianne slept in a blacked-out room. A room so devoid of natural light, it felt dungeon-like during the day. But whatevs. Here’s a flashlight, baby. Momma needs some sleep.

The Baby Cave was created with the aid of this magical substance. It is black-out film, like the kind teachers use on their classroom windows. Although, I’m positive their handiwork does not look like something off of Frankenstein’s Pinterest board:


Crafty I’m not.

Sure it is creepy, but it really works. And by “it really works” I mean, it clings to the windows and makes the room dark. It in no way helps my child sleep. It might actually be making her angry.

After this week’s co-sleeping fun, I decided to rip down the film. I’m over it. I have no idea what conditions would enable my child to stay asleep past sunrise. And why make her wander through a depressing Baby Cave if it doesn’t actually help.

You birthed an early-bird, Margie. Deal with it.

Ah, but wouldn’t you know…the past two days–sans darkroom–she has slept until 6:30 a.m. Once awake, she’s not freaking out. She just sort of hangs out in her crib, playing with her stuffed animals until she gets board and calls for us Daddy.

The bottom line on baby sleep seems to be the same infuriatingly true advice people give about searching for a good man: be patient, honey. As soon as you give up, it’ll happen.

How to: Crying It Out

Crying It Out, also known as The Ferber Method, really does work. It’s a good thing, too, because you’ll be re-Crying-It-Out every month or so. Blame teething, colds, growth spurts, etc.

I know I’ve been absent lately, but when it comes to Crying It Out, just because I haven’t been blogging doesn’t mean I haven’t been sharing my experiences with the Internet. Here’s an Insta-gem from April, when Suzianne could stand up, but could not figure out how to lay back down:

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Here’s June, when she was positive there was a party in the next room she should have been invited to:

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Most of the time, the Crying It Out training we first initiated back in November 2012 really works. We started it when Suzianne was about seven months old. Thanks to a few nights of wine and standing our ground, we now are able to lay her down in her crib and she’ll fall asleep on her own without incident within 10-15 minutes:  IMG_7510

When that happens, this happens:


Not pictured: the glasses of craft beer we were enjoying.

Many folks have asked about our Crying It Out formula. Here’s what I did for my baby, who was seven months old at the time. Continue reading

How to start your postpartum exercise routine

Folks often are surprised when I tell them I ran my first 5k about the time Suzianne turned five months old. Let’s be clear: before my husband peer-pressured me into running, the only thing I’d ever run for was beer.

What got truly got me motivated was simply a desire (and desperate need) to get out of the house alone. Soon, I was able to run pushing the stroller. Today, my body actually craves a “long” run, which for me is around five miles. I’m not fast, but I’m proud of my consistency and distance.

Last run as a family living in Washington, D.C.

Besides my persistent husband, I have the Internet to thank for getting me off the couch, and eventually, across a finish line. I’m not alone.

Once your doctor clears you for exercise–usually around 4 to 6 weeks postpartum–give these tips a try. NOTE: during the first run, it will feel like your insides are going to fall out of your vagina, but they won’t.

Get a coach–On my own, I do not possess the willpower to keep running once I get tired, bored, or out of breath. But, if I’m being coached by an iPhone app like Bluefin’s Ease into 5k, I will keep going.

A reliable buddy also can serve as your coach. This morning, I saw two women fast-walking while pushing their teeny infants in strollers. When they got to the stairs, one woman stayed behind with the strollers while the other ran up and back. Her buddy was coaching her as she ran. When she was finished, the other woman took her turn.

Declare a goal–my goal in the couple of weeks before I started the Ease into 5k training was simply to walk like a normal person for 30 minutes. When you consider that Suzianne’s head circumference is in the 75th percentile, you understand this was an ambitious goal.

Once I started using the app, completing each day’s routine–without taking my own breaks–was the goal. A few weeks into the training, I signed up for a 5k; not backing out of that become my goal. Today, I’m pushing toward my goal of running a 10k, with the help of the Ease into 10k app.

Go public–once you tell the Internet you are going to do something, there is no going back. You may not have a blog, but I know you have a Facebook page, a Twitter account, or at the very least, an email address. Share your goals with your network; they will encourage you, keep you honest and cheer the heck out of your accomplishments.

Bottom line: if I can do this, you can! Go get’em, lady.

Crystal City Twilighter 5k, July 21, 2012

My first 5k! The Crystal City Twilighter, July 21, 2012