I am the proud mother of a 6-month old baby girl. She is beautiful and wonderful and hungry…very hungry. She was born weighing 5 pounds and decided to waste no time getting caught up to her larger cousins.
I knew from the beginning that I would be returning to work and that I wanted to continue breastfeeding when I did. Our doula recommended an electric double breast pump. The price tag was a bit shocking but we were able to find one for sale at our local kids consignment sale for less than half of what it costs new. We only had to purchase the replacement parts (tubing, bottles, etc.), and my bank account was much happier.
Once our daughter was born we started the process of getting her comfortable with both the breast and the bottle. We started nursing as soon as possible (I had a C-section) and the next day I started pumping. We introduced the bottle during my recovery, it helped her adapt from the beginning and it gave me a chance to rest. Thankfully, she was able to switch back and forth without any confusion.
One of the things that really helped was that I never fed her from a bottle. I always had someone else do those feedings. This way she only ever associated me with breastfeeding. Even now, I rarely give her a bottle. When I’m home she gets her meals straight from the source.
Starting back to work was tricky. I had to figure out a system and schedule for pumping. I typically pump three times a day, once in the morning, at my lunch break, and again in the afternoon. A pump is not a very good replacement for a baby, and it can be frustrating when you aren’t collecting a lot of milk. I started taking fenugreek, a supplement which helped increase my supply. As she has gotten bigger and hungrier, we added an organic formula (recommended by our Homeopath). I was always nervous that I wasn’t leaving her with enough milk and knowing the formula is there if she needs it has helped me relax.
While she doesn’t mind drinking from the bottle there are times when only mommy will do. I have found that she nurses much more frequently in the evenings and will still wake up a few times a night. It’s more about comfort than anything else, and since we’ve been separated all day, I really don’t mind giving her the extra time and attention at night.
Maintaining a nursing relationship while working full time is not always easy, but with a good support system, it is manageable. It may be a bit more work but knowing my little one is getting the very best keeps me motivated.
*Please note: The majority of this post was written in the middle of the night while nursing the above mentioned very hungry baby.
Kailyn Shippee is a wife to Ian and a mommy to Matilda (the baby) and Fenway (the puppy). She loves to crochet, cook from scratch, and dream of the farm they are currently working towards. She blogs about her family, their little homestead and their journey towards a more sustainable lifestyle at A New (England) Life.