I remember being pregnant and planning my return to work with such care and precision. I would work part-time and pump in my office, I told myself. Then, I'd return home and snuggle with my bundle who I would rock to sleep and place in her crib in the room down the hall (where she would sleep all night).
Then, my little beauty arrived and she was much more precious and beloved than I had imagined. We were inseparable. There ended up being no crib and no walk down the hall (we were much happier with her snuggled up beside us). I also found that pumping was more difficult and time-consuming than I had imagined.
As the time drew near for my return to work, I cried and debated and prayed and listed the pros and cons. Sometimes, I felt sure I could return to work (and part of me definitely wanted to). Other times, I felt certain that I wouldn't be able to leave her.
In the end, I went in and told my boss that I couldn't return. I'll never forget when she said so matter-of-factly, "Why don't you bring the baby to work with you?" Her support and encouragement provided me with pure relief. I accepted her offer. My new "office partner" and I returned...her head bopping in tune to my keyboard as I worked.
My experience, coupled with the stories of many other moms that I admire, helped me to see that you can make working and breastfeeding work. Whether that means that you bring your baby to work with you or you work from home or you find that pumping works for you, you don't have to have one or the other. You can keep breastfeeding and work.
If you're looking for encouragement, advice, or pointers from moms who have been there, you might want to join a La Leche League group in your area.
Or read a book like Hirkani's Daughters: Women Who Scale Modern Mountains to Combine Breastfeeding and Working, where you'll find stories about moms in various careers from around the world who have successfully maintained breastfeeding alongside their careers (you'll also find great tips about expressing milk, taking baby to work, and more).
Finally, read the 20 Tips for Working and Breastfeeding article on the Ask Dr. Sears website.
WIN IT! One winner will receive a copy of Hirkani's Daughters: Women Who Scale Modern Mountains to Combine Breastfeeding and Working, compiled and edited by Jennifer Hicks. To enter, simply leave a comment and your e-mail address on this post prior to Monday, January 7, at midnight. The winner will be announced and contacted on Tuesday, January 8. * Winner must provide a U.S. mailing address.
* UPDATED * The winner is #24 holly. Congratulations!
(Photo from the Work and Pump website)