I enjoy breastfeeding, but the days that I don’t have to pump are my FAVORTIE! I had no idea I would enjoy nursing my second baby so much, especially since I didn’t have much success with my first. However, I work outside of the home so I pretty much have to pump all the time if I want to provide my baby with the nutritional benefits of breast milk.
I’m going to be real honest… Pumping sucks! (Ha! No pun intended.) I give so much credit to moms that exclusively pump, whatever their reasoning. The only reason I pump is because I can’t bring my baby to work with me and working from home full-time isn’t a viable option at the moment. I have occasionally had the privilege of working from home and I find that I’m so much more successful in getting tasks done, even with having to nurse my little one. Why? Well, because there’s no setup, cleanup and storing of milk involved. Not to mention that the baby is way more effective at expressing milk, therefore saving me a lot of time when compared to my pumping sesssions at the office.
Pumping at work was a nightmare from day one! First of all, I still hadn’t even established my milk supply when I had to leave my little one and return to work. I had to return just seven weeks after giving birth and I was only beginning to get the hang of nursing and learning my son’s routine. The stress of leaving my tiny baby at home was difficult, not to mention that now I had to get back into work mode AND pump. I was determined to make it to at least six months with breastmilk only.
I hate the fact that we live in such a developed country yet mothers are forced to return to work so soon after childbirth but that’s a topic for another day. Luckily, I have a great husband who was a true blessing throughout my maternity leave. He held down the fort at home and I literally only had to focus on the baby and myself. I was able to rest and recouperate rather quickly in a short time. (Shout out to all the superstar husbands, like mine! You truly make a difference.)
The Monday after my maternity leave ended, I got into my car and drove to work and throughout the day, I cried. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY… for at least a week and a half. I still cry from time to time because quite honestly, it’s not easy leaving my baby at home and I REALLY hate pumping. I have to step away from my desk three times a day (at first it was four times a day) for about 45 to 60 minutes in order to express enough milk for the following day. Some days I pump just enough, others I don’t pump nearly enough and then there are days where I totally crush it and pump enough to also add to my freezer stash for those days that I struggle. I started the stash about two weeks before I had to return to work. I knew the transition would be tough and I needed to have some back up milk but also because really I wanted to practice pumping before going back to work. I like to be prepared and practicing at home was the only way I could help myself try to mentally and physically prepare for my return to work.
I was (and still am) trying to stay sane while I tried to adapt to my new role at work, adapt to being a new mom (again), act like a functioning adult in society, pump and most importantly… stay awake. Having a newborn is exhausting. Breastfeeding is exhausting. Working is exhausting. It doesn’t make for a pretty picture.
Even though my job doesn’t actually provide maternity benefits, my boss has been very understanding. Not many people are fortunate enough to have a job where they can walk away from their desk every two to three hours to pump. For that, I am forever grateful! That being said, there’s so much room for improvement and I could go on for days about that. For now, I will just count my blessings that I am able to nurse my baby successfully.