Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Pumping Sucks

Welcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe's Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com

For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today's post is about breastfeeding and employment. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st! 


I had a very demanding job when my daughter was born.  I was the nursing manager of a very busy unit in a large hospital.  I had over 100 employees that reported directly to me.  I was acquiring more responsibility when I went back to work.  The deck was stacked against me.  When I returned to work, I had only been breastfeeding comfortably and easily for 6 weeks.

Within the first few weeks of returning to work, I attended a breastfeeding symposium.  I learned, in Oklahoma, a very small percentage of women still breastfed at 1 year of life.  My heart was broken.  I really felt I was up against all odds.  I was determined though.  I was NOT quitting breastfeeding for my job.  Fortunately, my boss was incredibly supportive.  No questions asked, I pumped when I needed to.  Actually, I think it made her a little uncomfortable, so she let me do it when I needed!  It doesn't matter, I got to pump.

Also, very luckily for me, I had a private office.  I was able to close the door and pump.  I also worked with a great group of lactation consultants, so they totally supported me.  I quickly learned, although the statistics and my job (sort of) were against me, I had a lot on my side.  So, I pumped.  I pumped and pumped and pumped.  When I returned to work I pumped 3 times a day (and that was in only 8-10 hours). It decreased to 2, then finally to once per day.  I actually started enjoying my pumping time (although I never enjoyed hooking myself up to pump).  It was nice to close my door and have some peace.  It was lovely.  Quiet...except that stupid sound pumps make!

Now, actually breastfeeding after returning to work was a different story.  I was so exhausted from working so much, I could hardly stay awake when my daughter wanted to nurse at night.  We, out sheer exhaustion, began to co-sleep.  It saved my sanity.  My daughter began to cluster nurse at night.  She would take a bottle during the day, but much preferred momma to that bottle!

I was also finishing graduate school during my daughter's first year.  I remember sitting in our living room with her nursing and me reading article after article.  What fun that was!  Breastfeeding while working is completely possible.  If you're returning to work, pumping provides you some quiet time.  Some time to think about your baby.  Some time to get away.  Think about that while you're pumping, don't think about that silly pump!

 Here are more post by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.


Whitney =0) said...

Thank you for sharing your story and good job on sticking through it to pump and nurse. Co-sleeping is great, isn't it?

Brooke said...

Co-sleeping saved me! And, it really helped my husband get sleep at night too!