How I Got Here and Where I'm Going

Abigail Walston

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.

I gave birth to Joshua on March 12, 2010, after a 41 hour labor. He was a healthy 9lbs. 8oz., and he nursed shortly after birth. We developed a wonderful nursing relationship, and I'm so happy that I'm able to give him nothing but the best. I credit our success to having a husband and family who are supportive of breastfeeding in addition to having enough time on maternity leave to establish successful breastfeeding. I nurse Joshua throughout most of my day. In fact, he's nursing right now as I type with one hand.

Prior to deciding to start a family, I achieved my goals of becoming a high school science teacher, earning a Masters in Science degree and gaining tenure. I love being an educator almost as much as I love being a mother, so I knew I would continue to work after having children. I'm headed back for my eighth year of teaching at the end of the summer, and while that will present challenges to nursing, I'm confident that we will be able to overcome them. I'm going to do everything in my power to keep on nursing Joshua. It's my personal goal to nurse him for as long as we both want, but at least for the one year recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Fortunately I'm a planner by nature, because combining work with breastfeeding is going to require serious organization. In order to ensure success, I'm planning to do each of the following before I go back to work:

• Help Joshua learn to like taking a bottle. He knows how to drink from a bottle, but he's not happy about it and tends to only take it if he's starving, as a last resort, when I'm not there. I've purchased a variety of different nipples and bottles in order to figure out what works best, and I'm planning to have my husband, mom and mom-in-law practice giving him the bottle.

• Build a supply of milk in the freezer. This means that I will need to get more comfortable using my double electric breast pump and develop an organizational system for the freezer. I'll also have to find time to express milk each day.

• Find out about expressing milk at work. Where will I pump? How often will my teaching schedule allow me to pump, and for how long? Where will I store the expressed breast milk?

• Talk to colleagues about their experiences expressing milk at work. They'll be great resources for tips that apply to my specific workplace, as well provide an on-site support system for days when I'm feeling overwhelmed or stressed about pumping.

It seems my summer vacation is going to be a busy one, but by working on each of these factors before school starts I'll be setting myself up for success. Being prepared will help reduce my stress at a time when I'll be missing my baby. Joshua will benefit from breastfeeding while he's with me, and from expressed breast milk while we're apart.

11:51am on Tuesday August 3


12:26pm on Wednesday September 8

I'm a mom of a one month old and plan on expressing milk when I return to work. I'm looking forward to learning about your experience as you start the school year. Good luck!

8:18pm on Tuesday September 7

Thanks so much for all the words of encouragement! I love to hear from mommas who made it work, and I love that I can be a resource for other moms!

3:30pm on Tuesday September 7

What a great article! I'm glad that you were able to prepare for returning work and continuing to breastfeed too. This is an encouraging piece for all mothers who want to breastfeed and work full or part-time.

Lisa Sharp
11:35am on Tuesday September 7

I have no doubt in my mind that you will make this work very well for you and your son. You should be very proud of yourself!

12:20am on Tuesday September 7

It sounds like you're really thinking this through. I know you'll be successful, and I can't wait to hear how your journey unfolds.

9:34pm on Monday September 6


It is always a difficult task to return to work after the birth of a child and breastfeeding can occasionally complicate things. I returned to work after 3 months and continued to breastfeed for the full recommended year. I had the whole process of pumping down to 7 minutes to extract 10 oz. after a few weeks (I used the Medela Freestyle and loved it!). You'll get into a grove and time will fly before you know it! Good luck! And cherish the nighttime nursings!

3:21pm on Friday September 3


It sounds like you have a wonderfully thought-out plan. Your baby is beautiful and is so lucky to have you for a mother!

All the best to you and Joshua as you return to teaching!

2:55pm on Friday September 3

Love it! Can't wait for more articles... hoping to be far more successful this time around!

11:10pm on Thursday September 2

You are amazing. Best of luck during the school year

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