Whether you planned to or not, many companies are going fully remote these days, and while challenging, we know you can do it. You birthed a human after all; you’re already superwoman!
Even so, here are 5 tips to keep you safe, sane and stress-free during this new transition.
1) Stack the odds in your favor
One perk about working from home is that you don’t need to plan time for the morning and evening commute. Depending on where you live, that can give you an extra hour (maybe even more) than you’d have otherwise.
Working from home also gives you added flexibility. You can pump from the comfort of your couch, wash your pump parts at a clear sink and store your breast milk in the refrigerator. While it may be tempting to throw in an extra load of laundry during pump breaks, we vote for a power nap.
Another tip is to prep your own meals the night before, so that the next day you can focus on work and breastfeeding without the added stress of whipping yourself something to eat. Plus, without rushing, you’re more likely to prepare a healthy and nourishing meal.
2) Block out scheduling and pumping sessions on your work calendar
Working as a new mom is hard enough. And now, because of COVID, breastfeeding moms are stuck working and feeding around the clock, without any outside help. Here at Zaya Care, we hear a lot of questions about how to manage breastfeeding, a newborn, and working full-time.
Our biggest tip is to block out scheduling and pumping sessions on your work calendar. Do what you can to plan any work outside of that allotted time, but if you feel comfortable, maybe you can catch up on reading some emails at the same time (keep it to simple tasks).
By scheduling it out, this will help you keep a regimented daily plan, let your colleagues know that you are not available and it can also minimize stress by avoiding last minute schedule changes.
3) Practice boundaries
As best you can, work when you are most productive. For example, if you’re most productive in the early morning, try to work on your toughest projects during those peak hours. Then, work on lesser important tasks later in the day.
Piggybacking on our friends at Zaya Care’s tip, we’d say boundaries are key to keeping you safe, sane and stress-free. We know it can be tough to say no to an extra project at work or that you might feel guilty clocking off right at six, instead of staying late with the rest of the team.
Whenever you’re tempted to say ‘yes’ when you should really say ‘no’ remember this: breastfeeding consumes 25% of your body’s daily energy. Compared to the brain, which uses 20% of your body's energy, that’s a big chunk of your energy already portioned out.
4) Ask for help when you need it
If you’re not used to working from home, we know that it can take some adjusting. Even if you are home alone, we’d never want you to feel alone or isolated. This is where community becomes extra important. We all need help every now and again, and there’s absolutely no shame in that.
We touch on this in our article on motherhood and mental health, but if you find yourself burned out, frustrated or overwhelmed, it might be time to ask for help.
A friend or fellow mom can come over (assuming you feel comfortable) for a few hours. They can help with feeding and burping the baby, and keep an eye on things while you take a couple hours to yourself. Use that time to shower, eat, squeeze in a hands-free pumping session or take a nap.
Alternatively, you might want to invest in a lactation counselor or consultant. Both are equipped to help parents better understand whether their baby is transferring milk, as well as educating them on why this might be happening. They are there to support, educate and empower.
5) Become a master of some new, much-needed skills
Nursing and pumping is tough work, and you’ve got a full day’s work ahead of you. In addition to learning the art of multitasking—our hands-free Lilu Massage Bra will help with that—you might want to minimize and in the case of your phone, mute, distractions.
Soon enough, you will be the queen of multi-tasking and making the most of every minute of the day. That might mean taking conference calls during your baby’s nap time or propping your laptop on your lap to answer emails while pumping. Practice makes perfect, and you’ll get the hang of your new normal before you know it.
This post is in collaboration with Zaya Care.
Looking for a virtual health guide for your pregnancy and postpartum needs? With Zaya Care, you’ll have access to unlimited conversations with midwives, doulas, and lactation experts to ask about anything from pregnancy tips to sleep training.
Zaya Care is a virtual network of licensed nurse midwives, doulas, and lactation consultants with the mission to help moms feel physically and emotionally supported during their motherhood journey. Join our membership to get your first conversation with a maternal & newborn expert and unlimited care to ask anything from milk supply to labor pain management for free.