I'd always been a very career-driven woman. Excited about a new job, a promotion, a job well done. But since having my daughter the things I care about are shifting from my career to my family.
Unfortunately this doesn't change the fact that we need to eat. And while my daughter may be able to survive solely off my milk for the next year, the rest of us need food, and shelter among other things. So in order to pay the bills, I need to get back to work.
The date that I'm set to return to work is sneaking up quickly — much too quickly. I am anxious not only about leaving my daughter for long periods of time, but being able to continue to provide enough breastmilk for her while I'm gone.
I'm a television journalist, so I'm not going back to a job where I'm hanging around an office and can just step out for a few moments and pump on a set schedule.
I'm often on the go and running all around the city racing a deadline. While I love the rush I get from the job, going back to it as a new mother brings on a whole new set of worries. There is no set time I can count on being in the building and I don't know exactly when I'll be out and about. I don't know where I'll be and when I'll be back at the end of the day, and unless I tote my pump around with me to every location, I won't always have a chance to pump multiple times at work. That's why I've been pumping and storing milk for a while.
Pumping and storing has become a sort of addiction for me. I've been pumping since my daughter was a few weeks old and I've managed to freeze over 200 ounces of breast milk so far. I hear for some people their supply goes down after returning to work so I decided it would be best to have a back up to help keep my from needing to supplement with formula, if it comes to that.I've been reading up about when and how to continue to pump and use milk. I know I don't want to dip into my freezer stash on a regular basis without replacing it with new pumped milk because I don't want it to reduce my milk supply. I also need to cycle out some frozen milk about once a week so I don't need to throw out any that's been frozen for too long (more than 3 months in my non-deep freezer).
I normally don't like to play the "what-if" game but I can't help it right now. What if I'm not able to have a pump break every day (not because I'm not allowed, but because things get too busy)? I used to rarely have time to take a lunch break, because things got so busy, much less have time for multiple breaks. What if I just can't pump enough when I'm away from my daughter? I'm so used to pumping with her near, if not eating from the other side. What if my body doesn't respond the same way without her by? I know I'm going to have to just do the best I can do. I may not be able to set a certain time of day to pump but I can set goals to pump after my interviews and maybe even during a car ride (if I get a car adapter).
Luckily my husband will be at home with our daughter so there may be times I can visit her during my lunch break and nurse her then.I keep telling myself if I can make it to four or six months, solids will be able to help close any hunger gaps. And I'm confident if I work hard, I can do it.
There's a lot of changes coming but I'm pumped and ready for the challenge.
Any advice for pumping at a busy job? I'll relay my lessons learned soon!