Let me start by saying that breastfeeding is natural thing. It’s also full of health benefits and way cheaper than formula. And while I’ve never found the actual act of breastfeeding that difficult, breastfeeding isn’t easy.
But MAN OH MAN is it hard to breastfeed and work fulltime. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t that much easier to do it while I was at home but I was getting brave. Not carrying my pump everywhere. Feeding Vivi in “mother’s lounges” at the mall or on a bench or my car when I was out and about. We had such a good little system that when I came back to work I had almost NO stash…. And the stress began.
I hated pumping today for tomorrow. Not to mention that my days are so crazy, any hopes of pumping three times a day on a normal basis were out the window on day one.
And did I mention that there are two lactation rooms in our building? Seems like a nice idea, but there are a BA-ZILLION people that work here. And about half of them are women. And, by the way things are working out, it seems 95% of them are breast feeding. Oh, and the building is a quarter mile long (That’s NOT an exaggeration. It really is a quarter mile long.) So if the lactation room closer to me is full, and I walk to the other end of the building… well it just takes forever.
And the constant planning…. And calculating… When did she eat? Add three hours to that, so I should pump at 9:30, but I have a 9:00 meeting and if it runs long, I won’t be able to pump until 11, and that would be too long. So maybe I should pump at 8:30, but is that too soon? Ok, if I go with 8:30, then I’ll need to pump twice more before I leave… But someone is talking to me right now and it’s 8:30 right now and if I don’t go by 8:40, then I won’t be back in time for my 9:00.
Then there’s… How much did she eat? 15 oz!? I pumped only 12 oz. today. I am going to have to dip in to my stash. How much to do I have frozen? How long will that last me? How can I boost my production? I have to get up to 15 oz. per day or my child will STARVE!
But you know what? Six weeks in, I’ve got a pretty good little routine at work. And we have a nice little routine at night. And, I’ve learned that if I can pump only twice a day, it’s OK. I still come home with about the same amount. And water keeps my production up. And drinking water is the one thing that’s actually easier at work. And stress is bad for production. So I’m not stressing anymore.
And you know what else? I stopped breastfeeding Ben at about 4.5 months... and he turned out just fine. So we’ll try and keep this breastfeeding thing up for as long as I can… and, as long as I can avoid walking around with my shirt on inside-out, I’m going to be OK.