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Best of the Forum: Move to Help with Nursing?

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Should we move to the City to help with nursing?

I am a newbie, both as a mom pregnant with my first, due in March, and on these boards. We currently rent in the Palo Alto area and plan on remaining here at least through the birth. My job is fairly demanding (more than 40 hours per week) and is based in the City. I take Caltrain for my commute.

We’d really like to do whatever it takes to set things up so that I can nurse for baby’s first year, if at all possible. We’re open to moving (towards the end of my parental leave) to a new rental closer to my work location, especially for baby’s first year, if that might make nursing easier. Would love to hear from working moms who nursed. Which of the following would you recommend:

– Don’t bother moving. Such a hassle on top of everything else going on during baby’s first year, and it won’t make a difference in terms of nursing logistics or likely breastfeeding success.

– If you can move to within walking distance of your office, it could make a real difference. You could do a midday nursing (either go home for lunch, or have baby brought to your office by a caretaker) on top of pumping as needed.

– If you can move even somewhat closer to your office (say, Burlingame), that too could make a difference. Maybe you won’t be able to do a midday nursing, but it’s a much shorter commute, meaning potentially one less pumping session and one more nursing session per workday.

Thank you in advance for your insights!

Unfortunately, I really don’t think you can predict what your baby is going to be like or how easy or hard life or nursing will be until the baby is born!

You don’t say what your profession is, but if it’s an office job like mine, I will offer you the advice that I would give my younger self. But most cannot be done until the baby is born!!!!

My advice:

* Take as a maternity leave as possible, like 4 months. Focus on establishing nursing.

* Buy the best pumping equipment available. Electric double breast pump (such as Medela pump in style), with hands free operation. Also buy a hand pump (Medela, $30). Budget $450 overall for equipment (pump, bottles, cleaning stuff, milk storage bags, sharpie pens, etc)

* Within the first 2 weeks, see a lactation consultant (private appointments). Don’t worry about the cost; it is worth it. Budget $300.

* Within the first 4 weeks, begin pumping and introduce the bottle to the baby. Establish one feeding a day for daddy to give the baby the bottle.

* Discuss with facilities/HR to ensure you have a dedicated, private place to pump at work. All you need is a closet with a table, light, electric outlet, and a lock on the door, and access to a sink and refrigerator. Ideally, sort this out prior to maternity leave.

* Remember, formula is not poison. If you need to go that route, your child will be fine. You will nourish your baby!

* Get as much sleep as you can!!!!! Once piece of advice that I have heard  is, “the cure for a cranky baby is more sleep for the mother.” You may not understand what that means until you are sleep deprived with a crying baby, but if you are well rested, you can tolerate, accept, and handle the crying better.

* Practice and get comfortable with nursing in public and on the go. Use a nursing apron if that feels right.

* Consider pumping in different travel situations. Consider the logistics of pumping on the train, or in the car while driving. Seriously!

So ….. to answer your question about moving, I would vote for #1. It’s about 6 months to 1 year that nursing and pumping is an all-consuming topic. If you can take a long maternity leave, let’s say 4 months, then you only have about 2-6 months left to figure out your pumping schedule and logistics. It’s really not that long.

My credentials/story: natural child birthing, cloth diapering, exclusively breastfeeding, vaccinating, full-time traveling working mom to 2 kids (now 4 and 6).

Good luck!


The previous comment was great! I would vote for, and this has nothing to do with nursing, moving as close as you can to your job. If your job is demanding, even more so. You will be so much more rested and happy. Move now, if you can, versus after baby. And, take as much time as you can for maternity leave.

I’ve never seen pumping by train – but maybe up top where it’s quieter. I had a friend who pumped while driving, and it can be done safely if set up properly. Congratulations and best of luck to you!!!!

I have to agree with the first poster on how to manage pumping at work. But I agree with second poster that I’d move closer to work if I were you. Going back to work after having a baby was jarring to me. Maybe it won’t be for you; it’s personal. I’ve been a longtime corporate person and it just seemed really hard to tear myself away from my 12 week old baby every day for long days, and then do the commute to drop off/ pick him up in time. I did it, but it was a long time every day away from my baby. He essentially was raised by the nanny in those years, because he’d be awake very little when I was home. I’d move closer to work just to enable you more time with your baby, and logistics will be easier (for example,  if there is a problem with caregiver and you need to rush home). I also know women who went home/to daycare to nurse during the day; this is great for some. I agree that you won’t know until you have your baby how these things will go, though. Maybe seeing your baby during the day and then having to leave again to go back to work will be hard. We visited our child on his birthday at daycare, and when we left again to go back to work it was “separation” all over again with crying, etc. Congratulations – motherhood is amazing! I think you can manage it either way, but commuting less will be easier.


The first comment was great! I agree that the shorter your commute, the more time with your baby/child before and after work and the happier (and more rested) you and your baby/child will be. Too many parents keep their kids up too late at night because they don’t get home till 7pm and still want quality time with them each night. Also, it makes attending doctor appointments or taking half days much easier as they grow older. Less time you are paying for childcare, too.

Also, most insurance companies will pay for a breast pump within 30 days before your due date or 365 days after IF you purchase it through their contracted vendors. Some vendors provide an upgrade option, so if your insurance only covers the basic model, it’s still cheaper to upgrade to the nicer model than purchase it retail. I have used the Medela Freestyle with all 3 of my babies (now 6, 4,and 2) and LOVE it. Hands free is definitely the way to go if you’re trying to juggle nursing and pumping for an extended time. It’s doable but definitely a commitment. Get used to pumping while commuting

The best advice I can give you is that from day 1, every child is different, and just when you think you’ve got everything figured out and planned perfectly, the circumstances change, from nursing (baby directed weaning, bottle type preference) to sleep patterns and onward. Life is a constant roller coaster with kids, so enjoy the ups and downs. Often over-thinking things just leads to disappointment.

Best of luck with your decision and congratulations on the pregnancy!

I nursed exclusively with both my kids, and worked with the first one. I’m not sure the long commute will impact nursing (you can pump on Caltrain, if you’re not squeamish…) but it will impact your sanity, so if you’re inclined to move, it’s probably not a bad decision. Time is precious for working moms, and commuting wastes it.

Your milk supply adjusts to demand. I would get up early with the baby and nurse (at 5:30 or so), do email from home and get all ready to go, then nurse a second time at around 7:30, then jump in the car and commute about a half-hour. I pumped twice during the day at work (in really gross conditions, FWIW), and wouldn’t get much production, and then usually left right at 5:00, raced home, and nursed as soon as I set foot in the door. My daughter was a persnickety baby (she still is, at 17…) and grudged the nanny a bottle only out of dire necessity, so she was famished by 5:30. But I noticed on the weekends that during the day the baby would suck and suck but not get much. I was so anal about pumping that by the time I weaned, I had a freezer full of unused breast milk baggies, which I donated to The Mother’s Milk Bank. So don’t worry, it all works out. My advice is start solids as early as you can. I ended up supplementing with cow’s milk by about 10 months and had no bad effects from it (so far…)


There’s a new book out called “Work, Pump, Repeat” with some good information and “tricks” about pumping at work. It’s worth a read! I wish it had been written before I went back to work. The information is still helpful, but it would be the most helpful for someone just about to go back to work. I realize that’s off topic, but it might be helpful to you in the future!

My only suggestion would be to make the move before the birth. It will be so much easier! Then you can just focus on the baby, nursing, and making the transition to work after the baby is born. Moving with an infant will be very difficult, more difficult than moving while pregnant. Just make sure that other people do the heavy lifting for you!

One thing you could do to help with the commute, since you can take the train, is having childcare close to your office for the first year/until baby is mobile. You can then spend that time on the train bonding and/or nursing.

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