As someone in my mid-40’s, I never thought I’d get to be a mother. (You can check out my previous VETgirl blog on infertility and why you should stop what you’re doing to have kids now HERE). I’m loving it, despite never having thought of myself as a “baby” person. It’s changed me for the better – for the most part – in making me a more relaxed, laid back person. What’s bad about it though? I’m no longer the hyper-efficient veterinarian that I used to be!

So, I wanted to share a few tips on how to be a more efficient veterinarian and mother. I’ll write more about this in another blog, but in the meantime, the first step of efficiency? Finding out what you really need on your baby registry. After all, who has time to research it? Here, the top 10 things that I found necessary to help me survive my first 6 months as a veterinary specialist-mom!

1. Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump with On the Go Tote (and yes, you need the tote):

Now, make sure you get your free pump from your insurance company (Thanks, Obama!). Who knows how long this will last… but you can only order this within 1 month of your delivery date, FYI. It’s worth splurging on the to-go tote, as you really need it for all the many accessories that come with the pumping-at-work joy…

NOTE: You’ll find that you’re constantly washing breast pump parts. Instead, just buy a butt load of the Medela extra pumping parts here instead, so you’re only washing every other day.

2. A Hands-Free Breastpump Bra. That way you can type medical records upstairs in your private office while pumping every 3-4 hours. Or shove food in your mouth at the same time.

3. A iRobot® Roomba® Pet Series Vacuum. Because you’ll be so damn busy you won’t have time to clean your house. Plus you all have pets. On a busy day, I just press the Roomba button and go about trying to survive once I get home. I tell people that, besides religion in your life, this is the next best thing that will change your life. For real. You are worth it!

4. HUGE Stainless Steel water bottle with a straw If you’re breastfeeding, you need to drink a gallon of water a day. That’s 120 ounces, people! You’re also going to be so busy with your hands (holding the baby, eating one handed snacks, trying to keep your baby on top of the pillow) that you need a water bottle that is huge and has a straw. It helps you chug easier…

5. My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow You have no idea how hard nursing is. It sucks for the first 4-8 weeks. Seriously. It’s awkward. It’s painful. Your back and shoulder hurt. And you need a pillow. Some like the Boppy, but I swear by My BreastFriend. Plus, it has the best name ever. Don’t skimp. A must have. Plus, it has a cute little side pocket where you can add your VETgirl chapstick (which you’ll need, as you’ll be so dehydrated from breastfeeding despite drinking out of your huge water bottle!).

NOTE: Some people say that this Lansinoh Breastfeeding Salve salve helps. I didn’t think it worked wonders. Natural breast milk worked better for me. And mupirocin antibiotic ointment for all the wounds. Seriously.

6. An as*load of Fig Bars If you’re nursing, you’ll soon discover that you’l be ravenously hungry at 2 am. And 6 am. And 12 pm. And it’s hard to juggle drinking water while nursing the baby while running the Roomba at the same time, so you really need some snacks that you can eat with one hand. I loved these as they were filling but healthy and not calorically too dense. And delicious!

NOTE: You burn approximately 20 calories per 1 ounce of breastmilk that you make. Be smart in what you eat, but live it up a little too, because this is really hard.

7. Nursing glider & ottoman You’ll be sitting in this thing for about 10 hours a day, for the first few days to weeks post-parturition. Make sure it’s a comfortable one. I love this one. And my cats love it too…

8. Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit A must have. While I swaddled James for the first few months (Loved this HALO SleepSack Swaddle too!), this Merlin sleep suit, a weighted sleeper, helped him sleep through the night once he was bigger. Loved this thing. It helps prevent startling and waking, and while it makes your baby feel like a Micheline snow man, it works wonders.

9. A Ergobaby 360 baby carrier. This one comes with an infant carrier also (A ridiculously priced pillow that your young one needs to sit in). While this is pricey, it’s the only way I was able to get my baby to sleep sometimes. I’d walk around the house, cook, clean and get things done while the baby slept. I even walked on my treadmill with this while the baby was sleeping, so we could both catch a break.

10. A While noise machine. It’ll help your baby sleep and help drown out the cries and screams, to keep you sane too…

So, these are the top 10 things (#ad) that helped make me a more efficient mom and veterinarian. I extensively researched these before getting these on my baby registry (seriously, who has time? Trust me – these work), and they saved my butt.

The first 6 months have flown by. Enjoy the infant stage while you’re in it – it’s hard. Really hard (especially from weeks 4-8-12), but it goes so quickly you’ll miss it soon.

Do you have any other hints or comments on what helped you during motherhood? What made you more efficient?


  1. Instead of the tote, I highly recommend a Sarah Wells breast pump bag…stylish, trendy, fits all major pump brands, and has an insulated side pocket to bring home liquid gold. It’s big enough to fit your lunch and even a laptop! Also equally helpful is a Pumparoo – storage pouch for parts with a food grade lining. You can store your pump parts in between sessions in the bag, and no one at work will be the wiser, unless you tell them!

  2. Might I add Medela sterilization bags, milk bags, and munchkin bottle drying rack. If you are the husband, while assisting your wife, DO NOT SPILL ANY BREASTMILK!!!! This is especially hazardous during the first 4-5 weeks. When assisting your wife, transfer from bottle to bags while she is napping or pumping. When she tells you how to pour it, DO IT THAT WAY! Do not be logical, do not explain why your method works better, just do it. Good luck and God speed!!

    Written by dad of 5 week old daughter

    • Congrats dad! The first 4-12 weeks are SUPER hard, but you’re doing great. But don’t spill the liquid gold, haha. 🙂

  3. I would agree with your top 10 Justine but I would also add the mamaroo swing by 4moms. As a veterinarian & practice owner, the swing works wonders for me when I need my hands free. (I have one at home and one at the office- can you tell how much of a “mat leave” I am on, haha!). The swing mimics our normal rocking motions rather than the back and forth of a playground swing so both my babies loved it. Also it has a built in “white noise” machine you can turn on at the bottom as well as a smart phone plug in if you want to play them your own music or lullabies. This item was a MUST for me and well worth the investment!

  4. I’m currently expecting and updated my Amazon baby registry as I read. THANK YOU!

  5. Omg. James. His hair. His SHIRT. That is the most precious thing I’ve seen. I’m 46, almost 47. Never had the chance to have kids – part infertility, part divorce, part not thinking it was fair to be single mom and deny a kid a dad….. I will live vicariously through you, and my nieces and nephews.

    • Thank you!! 🙂 Yes, I was living vicariously through my nieces and nephews also (I was working on the “Best Aunt Ever!” award). Go you!

  6. What a pathetic alternative to the woman who dedicated her life to her child or children recognizing NOTHING replaces the quality and quantity of time a child can gain by having their mother focused on them.

    • Um, excuse me? If you’re assuming that female veterinarians should be staying home taking care of their children full-time, we’re going to beg to differ. I’m all for quality and quantity time with my child, and do joyfully provide that as a part-time-stay at home mom. Likewise, fathers should be spending quality and quantity time with their children too.

    • Dr. Silverberg,
      All of us veterinarians are in our own unique situations. Do you think you are in a position to call your colleagues pathetic for working and having children? I for one work full time because I am the sole bread winner and caretaker for my children and not by choice. It is not appropriate for any of us the hurl judgement at each other. Rather we should support and learn from one another to make our industry better.

    • Dr. Silverberg,
      This post was offered to be supportive and helpful to working mothers in our field. The world would be a better place if you spent your time trying to do the same instead of tearing down colleagues you know nothing about. How dare you?!

  7. Freemies handsfree pump parts are amazing! Also put pump parts on ziplock bag and in fridge between pumps so you only have to wash every 24 hours!!

  8. Almonds were a great snack too, and they help with milk production supposedly! And books nearby to read to the four year old! Lol

  9. I was able to get my breast pump a few months before my due date, and when I changed insurances several months after having my baby, was able to order a second one with no questions asked. And for what it’s worth, I have both the Medela pump in style and the Spectra 2- the Spectra is hands down a much better, more comfortable pump!

  10. Although not approved for safe sleep, the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play, was amazing with its vibrate function. My son would instantly fall asleep in it within minutes, so soundly that I could be in the room doing things and he wouldn’t wake up. They even make one with an auto rocking feature you can control with your phone!

  11. Hi! Total game changer for me as a new mom and criticalist was the Willow breast pump which released last year. I got a Spectra from my insurance company for use at home, and the Willow for use at work. This eliminated having to lug a huge pump back and forth every day which is AMAZING. And the Willow is cord free and fits under my scrubs discreetly, so I have literally been able to PERFORM CPR WHILE PUMPING!!!! Complete game changer. I can walk all around the hospital, run to the OR if a patient is crashing, type records, place an art line- all while pumping. IT was slightly expensive (it isn’t covered by insurance yet) but SO worth it! There are only two parts to wash and I store those in my Pumparoo bag in my office fridge at work and wash them at the end of the day. Piece of cake.

  12. Pingback: Top 10 TODDLER items you need as a working mom and veterinarian VETgirl Vet Blog

Only VETgirl members can leave comments. Sign In or Join VETgirl now!