Friday, June 6, 2014

Nursing and Working

The part I am most nervous for about going back to work in a few short weeks is maintaining the breastfeeding relationship I've worked hard to establish with Noah even with a major bump along the way in the beginning. With Nicholas I went back to grad school full time when he was 4 months old which had me away 2 days/week and with Brendan I took a couple of evening courses, also at 4 months.

Here in Canada, parents can collect up to a year of maternity and parental employment insurance benefits. Most do take the entire year off. This means that most women stop breastfeeding by the time they return or only continue to nurse in the hours they are not at work. Consequently, breastfeeding and the workplace isn't an issue that comes up a lot so I'm anxious to broach the subject with my employer, especially since it is a new employer. I guess I don't want to look like I'm high maintenance or demanding special treatment. Kelsey's posts on breastfeeding and working have been such a go to resource for me.

My goal is to maintain breastfeeding for at least 6 months and ideally to 12 months. Right now I've started pumping once in the morning and once at night using my Medela Freestyle Advanced (double electric) pump to try to build up a bit of a freezer supply. Noah takes a bottle no problem but I've only ever been away from him for 3-4 hours at a time.

My plan for the first month is to come home at lunch time when I can to nurse and pump. Taking travel into account, I'd still have 30 minutes at home. Another alternative would be to meet the boys and my sister (who watches the boys) at my mom's house on occasion which is 5 minutes from work. This would give me more time. Since I'll need to pump at least one additional time, that'll have to be done at work. For that I'm planning on bringing my hand pump and cooler bag like I did when I was at grad school. I found when I could control the suction and frequency by hand I was able to pump a lot more. The manual pump is also light weight and can be used anywhere. I don't have to worry about plugging in. We introduced cereal at 4 months with both of the other boys once they showed signs of readiness. If Noah is the same, that should help since we can replace one bottle feeding while I am away with food.

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