I have a baby girl. Aulia'. And everyday I returned to work full-time (meaning 60 hours away from her each week) when she was 8 weeks old. I was also blessed with a pair of boobs made for producing milk.
Oh wait! Maybe I should start this with a disclaimer?
If you have no interest in reading about breast milk, bottles, pumps, or sore boobs, feel free to leave and return another day. I swear this will be my last time talking about boob juice until my next kiddo comes along (who's not even twinkle in our eyes as of today). For those of you who can relate to me, or want some advice, or maybe just really like reading about breastfeeding, please stick around.
I always knew I wanted to breastfeed my child. I also knew I probably wasn't going to be one of those parents who breastfed their kid through age three like my sister did for example. I would have loved to make it until my kiddo turned one, but that didn't happen. However, given the circumstances I am extremely proud of myself for trucking it out as long as I did. Here is my story with my baby girl Aulia'..
Aulia' is my firstborn. And she don't have any brother or sister. Yet. As a first time mother, I was a paranoid mess when she came along. I breastfed her every two hours on the dot those first few weeks- stressing out when she wouldn't latch on, thinking she was going to starve to death if she missed a feeding. And it didn't help that my supply was INSANE. I mean, seriously. I could pump 8 ounces in under 5 minutes. By the time the end of my maternity leave was approaching I was a mess over how I would handle my engorged boobs in the office and making sure that she didn't have to have any formula for as long as possible.
Long story short, here's the gist of how I kept up breastfeeding while Aulia' was an infant in daycare..
- When she would wake up in the morning I would breastfeed her on one side while pumping the other. I figured out how to rig the pump cone up to my nursing bra with a ponytail elastic so that I could go hands free- pretty sweet! That session would provide a whole bottle of breast milk for me to send to daycare with her. (She slept through the night very early, so I was always super FULL in the mornings.)
- At work, I would take two pump breaks-one around 10 am and one around 3 pm. I work in a cubicle so it was always a little awkward because everyone would knew what I was doing. So I did it in the Musolla. I would pump for around 10-15 minutes and each session would provide me with 2-3 bottles worth of milk for the following day.
- Every night after I put Aulia' down for bed, I would take the milk I pumped that day and put it into bags to send to daycare the next morning. I had a note taped on the door of our bedroom that reminded me to grab the milk and my pump so that I wouldn't forget it each morning.
Aulia' was exclusively breastfed until she was 8 months old. At 8 months, I was exhausted. I couldn't bare the thought of pumping anymore at work. So we introduced formula, but I continued to breastfeed her every night. In all honesty, I just couldn't bare the thought of pumping at work again. I hate pumping! (But really, who likes it?
For the first couple of months after I returned to work, I would come home and pump so she could have at least one bottle of breast milk at daycare each day. When Aulia' was around 1 year old, I stopped pumping at all and she only got breast milk straight off the tap first thing in the morning and throughout the night. At that moment I just wished that my kiddo would hold her own bottle and not depend on my boobs. Oh my! but at the same time I felt very guilty of doing it so I just continued breastfeeding her as long as I can. Throughout the year, I had sleep deprivation and body ache.
The moral of this super long and probably totally-boring-for-you story is that when it comes to breastfeeding your baby, there is no right or wrong way to do it..you just have to do what works for you! Yes, breastfeeding is GREAT for baby, but it is some seriously exhausting business when you're the momma. Add pumping into the mix and it can become a full time job on it's own. I have go through the experienced of breastfeeding journey and I came to the conclusion that I have been so much happier breastfeeding with Aulia'. Yes, she had formula since she was 8 months old, but she's also super happy and healthy! It didn't kill her! And it helped take some stress off me. At least she got the added benefits of SOME breast milk for as long as she did.
FYI.. I left out TONS of details (Hard to believe with the length of this, right?) on things like how I battled painful engorgement & borderline mastitis, so if any of you have ANY questions about pumping or breastfeeding or boob "training" please please PLEASE don't hesitate to contact me :) :) :) I'd love to share more of my experience and help in your BFing journey :)