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.