It’s that time of year. I love getting gift ideas and hearing what things everyone can’t live without (or ended up hating). Since this season of life involves lots of new moms around us (including myself) I thought I would put together my favorite things. And since I’m returning to work after Thanksgiving I thought I would narrow it down a bit and do one specifically for the things I want at the office as a mom of a breastfeeding infant who works outside the home.
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- Snacks – Can you tell I’m breastfeeding a newborn? Food is always on my mind. I’m personally not one who has a big increase in appetite while pregnant but for the first 6-12 months postpartum I am constantly hungry. While at work it’s really important for me to have healthy snacks that are easy to pack and easy to clean up after. These are my absolute favorite “granola” bar. Trail mix is a great option as well. Making your own can end up being cheaper; I always add chocolate of some sort (a broken up bar or dark chocolate chips) and keep some dried fruit handy for when I’m craving something sweet. I’ll also buy larger bags of snack foods like this popcorn or these potato chips and put them into smaller baggies (I’m hoping to get some of these reusable bags in my stocking this year!). If you can tolerate dairy, yogurt and cheese sticks are great options. I buy organic cheese sticks when they are on sale or will buy a block of raw cheese and cut it into chunks.
- Water bottle – Next to always being hungry, breastfeeding moms are also always thirsty and having a cute water bottle at work with you can help get through meetings or long projects without having to get up and refill your cup constantly. This one is so pretty. I prefer glass bottles with a straw so this is a nice option but this stainless one could work too.
- Pumping supplies – While getting actual pump parts may not be the most exciting gift to get, every pumping and working mom’s worst nightmare (next to spilling all your milk or leaving it out on accident) is forgetting or breaking parts and being stuck without a pump. A manual pump is a great gift as a backup, and it’s always a great idea to have an extra set of all your pump’s parts, as well as plenty of extra storage bags, wipes or cleaning bags. And pads. Don’t forget extra nursing pads (seriously, can you ever have enough? These and these are my two favorite reusable ones). Some women have to pump in less-than-private places so a pretty nursing cover could help insure there aren’t any embarrassing walk-ins.
- Scarves – I love to wear scarves when I’m breastfeeding. Even when I’m not worried about nursing discreetly in public, they’re great for feeling less self-conscious about whether my nursing pads are showing or if I accidentally drip milk (or spit up or whatever before I leave home) on my shirt. Plus they’re so pretty. You can go with a really pretty infinity scarf (I love this one, this and this) or a comfy and soft blanket scarf (I’m a sucker for plaid so I love this, this and this).
- Pictures and frames – Going back to work can be so hard on a frail breastfeeding mama’s hormones! I love having pictures of my littles all over my office. It really helps with pumping, too.
- Planner – When you are busy at work and you have to juggle pumping sessions with meetings, it can be hard to keep everything straight. I love having a pretty planner to help me stay organized. There are even some specifically for Catholic women with links to Scriptures and reflections and some have space to help track water intake or NFP signs like temperature.
- Nursing clothes – Clothes designed specifically for nursing can be extremely expensive and a lot of moms won’t splurge on themselves. They make lots of clothes specifically for nursing moms that would fit with most office’s dress codes and they allow easy access for pumping without stretching out tops or having to completely pull them off. There are lots of cheaply made, ill-fitting nursing clothes out there though so you do have to be a little picky with what you buy. I’ve heard great things about and I have this shirt though I haven’t tried it on since it arrived (and I was 30+wks pregnant at that point).
- Support and love – Going back to work after having a baby is intimidating and both physically and emotionally exhausted. Similar to immediately postpartum, this is a big transition and they need lots of support, space to vent, coffee and whiskey (or wine, pick your poison).
What are your must-haves when you return to work after having a baby? Chime in below or over on Facebook!