Today kicking off World Breastfeeding Week, we have the lovely Jennifer Dixon from My Mummies Pennies, giving her experiences of Breastfeeding and juggling returning to work….
When I had my son I really struggled with breastfeeding and ended up feeling like I’d let both him and myself down when I stopped after just two months.
Therefore with my daughter, 3 years later I was determined to take each day as it came, I would breastfeed for as long as I could but not put myself under too much pressure. I would be proud to have fed her for however long I could manage.
So as you can imagine, I was quite surprised when 11 months later, as I was getting prepared to go back to work , I was still going strong and realised I’d still be feeding her when I returned to working eight hour days in the office. I hadn’t planned for it but now I would have to figure out how I would combine being both a working mother and a breastfeeding one…
After chatting to friends and checking out some really useful websites, I built up the courage to call HR and was really surprised about how open and encouraging they were about the idea of me expressing in the office! I knew that as my employer, they had legal obligations but I had prepared myself for some resistance.
For a few weeks before I started back I arranged for a relative to take my daughter out for the afternoon so she was used to spending some time away from me and I could get expressing. By this point I had tried a few different pumps but hadn’t been able to produce more than a few ounces at a time until I invested in a double electric pump which felt so strange at first but soon I was pumping for England and the freezer started to fill up…
It wasn’t just work that I had been worried about but also my daughter’s childcare, after a long search I had found what I believed to be the perfect nursery, the facilities were great, the staff were friendly and approachable and they were happy to use cloth nappies and encourage BLW, but how would they react to me sending in bags of frozen breastmilk for my one year old daughter? Would this be a step too far?
I needn’t have worried at all as they were great about it and really put my mind at rest by confiding that my daughter would not be the only child at nursery still nursing.
It wasn’t long before my maternity leave was over and my first day back at work had arrived! After dropping my almost one year old at nursery with no tears (from her anyway!) off I trotted to the bus stop, loaded up bags filled to the brim with my breastpump, milk storage bags, a cool bag with ice blocks and a spare top (just in case!)
It went quite smoothly and I actually enjoyed my ‘pumping time’ in the quiet room, it was time to reflect on my day and think about my children. I had thought that my colleagues may resent this time and as skiving, however their reaction was really positive and I found that a few of them had breastfed their children past a year too!
I continued to nurse my daughter until she self-weaned at 23 months and I know that the support I got on my return to working life helped this wonderful journey.
Guest post from Jen who blogs at My Mummy’s Pennies.