What About Breastfeeding When I Go Back To Work?

ORIGINALLY POSTED: September 27, 2009

Welcome, Carnival of Breastfeeding readers!

When my eldest child (PB) was 15 months old my partner and I decided that we would be better served if I was able to supplement the single income a bit more than I had been with the limited labour support I was doing at the time. It nearly broke my heart to think of leaving PB at home with my partner because I liked to be the one to meet his needs.

I applied for a job in a local bakery and was hired to work weekends and holidays. We felt this arrangement would suit us best as it would always allow one of us to be with our boy and would save us the cost of childcare. My partner was excited about having a chance to get to know our son in a way that hadn’t yet happened because I was always home with them. I was terrified of how my baby was going to cope without his mommy there to look after him. (Please understand that I trusted/trust my partner without hesitation. The issue here was completely my own.)

It surprises many to know that this wee lad who was a total of 32 lbs at his first birthday was not a child who enjoyed eating solid food. His lack of interest in ingesting anything other than momma’s milk was fuel for my fear. My partner and I talked at length about how we would manage and how they would cope if our baby wasn’t interested in eating anything. We came to the agreement that once per 8-hour shift PB would be brought to me to nurse. This way we would know that he was eating something but I could still work.

Our mutually satisfying approach only lasted for a few months and by the end of the summer, when PB was 1.5 years old, he stayed happily with my partner all day and nursed only when I was around. He learned very quickly that he could only have nursing when mommy was there and not when she wasn’t.

After how smoothly things unfolded with us the first time around we developed the confidence we needed to do it again, this time sooner, when we had our second child, SB. He was 7 weeks old when I returned to teaching prenatal classes. (I waited until he was 6 months old before I started attending births again.)

For the first 5 or 6 weeks I took SB to work with me. I figured the couples in my classes were going to need to see how easy multitasking was when you had a baby. He happily hung out in the sling while I taught and everyone was happy. PB and my partner were happy too because it gave them some time at home alone to maintain the connected relationship they had established before SB arrived.

By the time SB was about 3 months old he had decided that he didn’t want to spend two straight hours in the sling and wanted to interact a little more with me, or anyone really, so I began expressing my milk and leaving it for him. He still needed to be rocked to sleep and slung a great deal but he, my partner and PB learned to enjoy their evenings together. (In fact, I still sometimes feel as though I am a bit of a “third wheel” when I am home in the evenings and am interrupting their flow of things.)

I had a terrible time achieving a milk ejection reflex so I learned to express my milk with a pump on one side and SB nursing on the other. If I was able to do both simultaneously then I would get lots of milk for the next time I would be away. I also began to savour those special nursing sessions just before leaving and immediately after returning from work. Those were our own private moments to reconnect and, just as I had with PB when I was nursing him before and after work, SB and I soon got into a rhythm knowing that those moments were sacred.

I have long believed that it is important to nurse my children well past the first few weeks or months. I have also long believed that it is essential for our children to see us working AND, more importantly, enjoying the work that we do. I LOVE the fact that I get to attend births, teach prenatal classes and offer lactation services to new families. The fact that my children were able to witness the fulfilment I get from the work I do AND that they got to benefit from the extended breastfeeding that I was able to achieve will only have taught them a pair of valuable life lessons.

Posted by Sam

OTHER POSTS IN THE NURSING AND WORKING CARNIVAL INCLUDE:
Breastfeeding At My Family Daycare by Breastfeeding Moms Unite
A Job Where Everyone Breastfeedsby The Milk Mama
Sorry, Facilities Guy. by Momnesia the Book
Taking Your Working Boobs to Work by Marshins
Working and Breastfeeding a Toddler by Amber
Working and Pumping by The Marketing Mama
Breastfeeding and working is possible, and you can make it work by Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog
Do you really need a pump? by Chronicles of a Nursing Mom
I Think This Officially Makes Me a Mommy Blogger by Vanderbilt Wife
My Breast Pump and I didn’t get Along by Stork Stories
Ask an LC: What About Pumping? by Stork Stories guest posting on the Breastfeeding Moms Unite Blog
Tips for Breastfeeding and Working by Breastfeeding 1-2-3
Breastfeeding and Working in the UK by Breastfeeding Mums
The 5 biggest mistakes working & pumping moms make by Blacktating
Beating the Employment Booby Trap by Best for Babes
This Is A Breastfeeding Office by Mum Unplugged
Nursing Mothers Need Workplace Support by My World Edenwild

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About babyready

I'm a lesbian, feminist, environmentalist, AP supporting, intactavist, lactavist mom to 2 boys & work as a writer & prof. public speaker
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