Open Thread: Best Pumping Attire for Working Moms

The Best Pumping Clothes for Work | Corporette What ARE the best clothes for pumping breastmilk at the office? This is a question I get asked so often, I thought we’d have a discussion about it.  (We have talked about it once before, from guest poster Jenny Hamilton, who had some great general advice, as well as advice on how to travel for business while pumping.) Here’s the latest question, from reader K:

Here’s my dilemma, I’m headed out for maternity leave in a month or so and am looking for professional clothes that are nursing / pumping friendly. I don’t want to break the bank, but most of what I’ve found so far is either cheap looking or totally inappropriate. I don’t need to “show off my new assets” at work. I just need to be able to look professional and pulled together, and pump without having to strip all the way down. Any guidance would be appreciated.

Congratulations on your baby! The current American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines suggest that mothers nurse their children for the first year of their life (recommending that babies exclusively eat breastmilk for the first 6 months). I’ll say up front that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with formula if that’s what you choose to do. (I’ll also note: it doesn’t have to be an all or nothing proposition. You can nurse her for 3 months, then just nurse morning and night with your child and give her formula in the middle of the day, skipping the pump entirely.) But: working moms who pump — you guys are rockstars in my book. I’m always inspired by commenters who talk about having pumped for long periods of time (I think one commenter was recently celebrating an end to four years of pumping!) Even in a perfect world, it takes dedication and drive to pump regularly — but I’ve also heard war stories from friends, about trekking to windowless closets with pumping equipment, about enduring funny looks and having to explain their various funnels and contraptions when they rinsed them off in the ladies’ room. It ain’t easy.

[Read more...]

How to Announce Your Pregnancy At Work

Model SEverine Pregnant Photo 3, originally uploaded to Flickr by MestreechCity.How (and when) do you tell your boss you’re pregnant?  What should you factor into consideration?  I’ve had three different readers write to me with a question along these lines, so now seems like a great time to discuss this.  Reader K is one of those readers:

Wondering what the readers think about the timing of telling your firm you are pregnant.  I have made it through the 1st trimester without anyone noticing my being drag-ass tired and have somehow kept up respectable billable hours in the meantime.  I planned on telling people next week, but confidentially shared the news over lunch with a female partner (I am beginning my fourth year as an associate on partner track) and her concern was my timing in terms of telling the guys/powers that be about the pregnancy. She doesn’t think I should tell them right away so that I have more time where they are continuing to give me good assignments.  Besides my desire to remain on good cases, other “concerns” discussed are: 1) the fact that bonuses happen at end of the year (and that I not draw the short stick in an otherwise profitable year); and 2) review/raise time in early spring (while I am on maternity leave).  Next year is the year I expected a big jump based on profitability, etc, and I hope this timing doesn’t derail all of that hard work.  Is it better for me to rip the band-aid off and express these concerns with the managing partner (who I think I can have an honest discussion with) or wait until I have to tell so that there is more time for me to continue to get assigned the good work (ie, before the guys subconsciously take me off the fast track).  I was planning on providing my fact-based plan of action (6 weeks short term disability, begin part time work during that time as I am able, child care taken care of, etc) at the same time.  Any suggestions on the timing of all of this and how the conversation should go down?

Congratulations!  (Pictured.) Here are some thoughts, both for K and other first-time moms:

- Wait as long as possible.  K is happily past her first trimester, which can be exhausting and always carries with it the risk of miscarriage.  But she’s still got six months to go before she’ll need maternity leave, so why would she tell the powers that be?  Here are my thoughts:  she won’t need special accommodations.  (She should be in the “sweet spot” for pregnancy — most women experience much less nausea, fatigue, and other pregnancy aches and pains in their second trimester.)  She may not start to show for another two months.  (Every woman is different, but many first-time mothers don’t start showing until week 20 or so (that was when I had to make the jump to proper maternity pants; a girlfriend who is very petite and tiny just told me she didn’t announce it until she was five months along as well).)  If she were quitting her job entirely a month would be generous notice.  So I don’t see any reason to start telling people until she starts to show — especially when a female supervisor is suggesting she wait.  I suppose there’s an argument that she could wait even longer — after all, there’s that old joke that you should never guess a woman is pregnant unless you actually see a baby coming out of her.  But I think, in general, that when you move to maternity pants is the right time to say something official to your boss. [Read more...]

A Few Thoughts on Hormones… (Or: How to Fight The Crazy)

Originally uploaded to Flickr by emersonquinn.This is a bit of a ranty post, so I’ll start with the questions: do you feel that hormones affect you? What are your best tips for controlling or preventing the symptoms of PMS, pregnancy, or menopause?

I’ve already ranted about watches and cuffed pants, which kind of sets us up well for today’s rant: about hormones. You see, I’m weaning off breastfeeding, which means I’m kind of a psycho hose beast right now. And it’s gotten me thinking about how it’s really unfair for women, because throughout our lives we’re socked with major hormonal changes: [Read more...]

Tales from the Wallet – Tax Savvy Investments, Part 2

Back in January — inspired by a Mint article — we took a look at tax-savvy investment vehicles such as 401Ks and IRAs. Today, let’s look at some of the other tax-friendly ways to save, such as 529s and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). Just as a reminder — according to the article, “The Value of Tax-Deferred Savings.” “[u]nless you make enough money to max out all of your tax-advantaged accounts (401(k), IRA, 529, HSA, and the like), it rarely makes sense to do any investing outside them.” (Please note, I am not a financial adviser — this is all just my personal knowledge, so take it with a grain of salt.)

(Pictured: PS1 Wallet, available in 8 colors at ProenzaSchouler.com for $165.)

Like we did before, let’s go through the main questions on everyone’s mind…

[Read more...]

Guestpost: Oooh, My Oocytes! Or, My Experience With Freezing My Eggs

B0008308 Xenopus laevis oocytes, originally uploaded to Flickr from wellcome images.Ever considered freezing your eggs, either because you wanted to postpone kids for your career or because the right partner seems to be in hiding?  One of my best friends, “Auntie M.,”  just went through the procedure, and I asked her to blog about it for Corporette. (Pictured: B0008308 Xenopus laevis oocytes, originally uploaded to Flickr from wellcome images.)

I recently completed the process of freezing my eggs. The process was surprising in many ways, and although I was sure I wanted to do it, I could have used a primer, or even some advice from a friend who had gone through it (none of mine had). Here’s my story.

I turned 34 this year. Early in the year, I had made the decision to freeze my eggs, probably sometime in the next year. I hadn’t decided on when. Then, in late September, I pretty much woke up one morning and it came to me: “Yep, AUNTIE M. Now’s the time to do that.”

I was lucky, because it all happened very quickly. Timing is very important – you’ll start the process on the second day of your period, and by coincidence I was getting my period the week I called the doctor. So I was pretty much off and running. This meant I didn’t have too much time to second-guess myself (a good thing), but it also meant the process was a little overwhelming at times. I think I would have found the following information the most helpful: [Read more...]

Tales from the Wallet: The Easy Way to Save $10k

The Easy Way to Save $10K || CorporetteWhen it comes to money, the true savings are never in the tiny things — they’re in the big things like your healthcare plan and your investments. My old friend Sue is a master at all of this hard personal finance stuff — I’ve asked her to share some of her knowledge with us today. You can follow her on Twitter at @suziedonuts if you want more great tips! – Kat. (Pictured: Boje Designs Paradise Lace Essential Wallet, available at Endless for $34.)

Yes yes, you know how to clip coupons and shop sales. But there are two problems with this approach: First, it takes too much time for not enough payout, so you’re practically doomed to failure before you begin; and second, you’ve heard it all before, so if you’re not doing it by now, you’re not going to do it tomorrow. Plus, being frugal requires constant vigilance. I’m not saying it’s not worthwhile, because it is; but especially when you’ve got a healthy cash flow coming in, you have to put dollars before cents. [Read more...]