This book was recommended to me by fellow new second-time mom and blogger, The E is for Erin. Thanks Erin! After reading Nursing Mother, Working Mother, I was looking for more books on the topic of breastfeeding moms working outside the home.
The Milk Memos is about a group of moms who work at IBM and pump their breastmilk. This real group of women kept spiral notebooks in their “pumping palace,” as they called their lactation room. They wrote back and forth to each other and encouraged each other to keep pumping and somehow stay sane in the endless search for work/home balance.
I identified so much with the women in this book. I returned to work six weeks after my son was born and pumped breastmilk several times a day. I recall the struggle to leave my baby at such an early age. Luckily I left him in the capable hands of Mr. Handsome (which I will do again after this maternity leave ends) but that hardly takes away the separation anxiety that a new mama feels upon returning to work. The women in this book felt the same things I felt then and will feel again when I return to work in September.
What’s great about this book is that the women are like characters in a story that is woven through a practical breastfeeding book. These women suffer through everything that typically plagues working mothers of infants: separation anxiety, struggles with milk production, faulty pumps, “mama brain,” unsympathetic bosses and co-workers and finding balance between a job you love and a baby you adore more than anything in the world. I very much enjoyed reading about their real lives and how they overcame real struggles, struggles that I’m sure I will have once I return to work.
Like I stated, this book is also a practical breastfeeding manual, covering the typical sub-topics but also giving them a working-mom slant. There’s great advice on buying a pump, storing milk, reheating milk, educating care-givers about handling breastmilk, finding an appropriate childcare solution, dealing with sleep deprivation, and on and on and on.
Also, the idea of keeping a notebook to write to other pumping moms in the company is complete genius. When you work in a big company (my office contains several hundred people), it’s hard to find co-workers in a similar situation. Having the notebook in the room not only helps to find like people but also encourages support and sharing within those people. I’m inspired to bring a notebook to my company’s lactation room so that I can try to find something similar to what “the milk mamas” had.
This book is well worth the read for any breastfeeding mama working outside the home!
Next review: Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers by Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC and Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, PhD, IBCLC