Getting Into the Groove
Posted By: Abigail Walston
I'm returning to work as a teacher in September. I'm not a big fan of pumping and my son has rarely used bottles so I know that going back to work is going to be a big adjustment for both of us.
It's been a month since I went back to work, and I finally feel like we're going to survive! We've been sick off and on (mostly on) for the past three weeks. I knew this would happen when Joshua started daycare, but I didn't realize how sick we would all get. Joshua had his first cold, fever and ear infection, while I had a nasty cough and lost my voice for over a week. It's pretty tough to be in a classroom with no voice! I had to take a few days off (thank goodness I still have 60 accumulated sick days!) and came back to a pile of papers to grade. Well I'm happy to report that, while we're still sick, I got through the whole pile of papers today and felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders!
Adjusting to sending Joshua to daycare has been tough, too. I'm starting to think that they're not as breastfeeding-friendly as they say. I have to label Josh's bottles with a big red sticker so it's clear that they contain a "bodily fluid." The biologist in me understands, but the mom in me is kind of offended. Joshua is the only breastfed baby there, and he takes smaller amounts of milk more often than the formula-fed babies. I got a few notes asking me to put more milk in the bottles or asking about when he is going to start solids, as they weren't sure "only milk" was satisfying him, but they weren't feeding him all of the bottles that I sent. I kind of lost it at that point...
"Only milk"? Do they know what kind of commitment it takes for me to get that milk? If he's acting hungry, then give him another bottle! That's why I send it! After consulting with my mother-in-law to make sure that Joshua wasn't starving on the two days each week that she watches him, I wrote a nice email to the daycare director, with links to articles from KellyMom.com. I explained that since Joshua is the only breastfed baby there, we do things a little differently, but we were happy to celebrate six months of exclusive breastfeeding and would not be sending solids just yet. I also nicely reminded her that we asked for Joshua to be fed on-demand, as he has always been fed, and that if he seems hungry, he should be given the additional bottles that I send. I firmly reiterated that I know the way we are feeding Joshua is what is most healthy for him. She thanked me for the information and assured me that she would share it with all of his care providers. Since then we've had good reports.
When it comes to expressing milk at work, I feel that I've gotten into the groove. In my last post I complained about all the time I spend pumping and resolved to make it more enjoyable. Mission accomplished! By being more organized about re-assembling the pump parts after I clean them and setting it up so it's ready to go when I am ready to pump, I've cut down on how long it takes. I've also started using wipes specifically designed for cleaning pump parts instead of taking it into the restroom to wash in the sink, and that has also saved some time. My pumping station is decorated and I've got a few snacks and fiction books waiting for me, and I look forward to pumping! Pumping has become "me" time at work, when I can relax, take a few deep breaths, lose myself in a great story... Oh! And provide the best nourishment for my son!3:24pm on Wednesday November 17
I love "watching" you be a mom because you are doing things how I would haha. Sounds like you are doing a wonderful job. BTW He looks like a very healthy happy baby to me. :)
Sounds like you did a great job tackling the daycare issue head on. I'm glad things are going better now!
Sounds like you're educating a lot of people about the benefits of breastfed babies and it's important that you're also educating employees at the daycare center on how to support mothers of babies who pump!
I'm so glad you were able to work out the issues with your daycare provider. Although it's not good that you had to go through that, hopefully any future nursing moms will have an easier time of it because of you.