This post is a part of the Adventures in Breastfeeding Project sharing mother’s unique experiences, successes and struggles with breastfeeding. This post is by Rebecca. Here’s what she had to share:
You go to classes, research at home, and talk to other people about what to expect. None of it fully prepares you for what you agree to when you decide your baby will only drink breast milk. There were lots of hardships in the beginning, but that’s not the story I want to share today. From the day Maverick was born I had a countdown till I returned to work. Till the day he would be away from me for 9 hours, and would have to receive my milk from some foreign object instead of his warm mom. Till the day I would have to wake 3 hours before work to nurse him as quickly as possible and check my pump bag a dozen times to assure I had every crazy piece to my free Ameda pump. Till the day i would have to hook up tubes and bottles to my breast and have it forcefully suck the milk out. As that day grew closer, the more I wanted to call and say I couldn’t work anymore.
Knowing I needed as much milk as possible, my boss agreed I could pump 3 times a day. Day one I nervously watched the clock, doing the math in my head, “I fed him at 7, so I MUST pump at 9, 12, and 3” believing my mill would dry up the next day if I didn’t do it correctly. After a few whispers from coworkers, and one rude comment, the day was done and I proudly had 11 ounces for my son, who only took 9 while I was away.
As the time went on, my pump sessions got further apart, sometimes being 5 hours before I could pump again. Being painfully engorged and constantly checking under the apron to see if I started leaking milk all over and more rude stares from coworkers because I got extra breaks during the day were pretty normal in my work day. My supply has never taken a drop, but it also has not increased. Maverick makes sure he gets the amount of milk he needs each day because he wakes 3-5 times a night to nurse. Add that with the extra time you have to wake to prepare the bottles, assure you have clean flanges, and extra bottles to store milk in, you spend more time than moms who use formula!
But knowing what is best for my son and loving his eagerness to nurse when I’m around has kept us going strong.