Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Feeding a Baby-Working Mama Style

**This is my post for the PAIL Bloggers monthly theme. 
The theme for August is Feeding Your Child**

There is a country song that has a line in it, "If you want to hear God laugh, tell Him your plan," and at first I never paid attention to that line but as time has gone on, it really hits home. I had a plan when it came to feeding my child, yet like so many other things (our journey to get pregnant!) it didn't work out how I wanted it too...
Even before I was pregnant, actually before I ever thought of becoming pregnant I knew that I was going to breastfeed and my hope and goal was to breastfeed exclusively. I would like to tell you that I did a ton of research on the benefits of breastfeeding for mom and baby but I didn't. My knowledge of breast is best came from something I knew about, my cows. When our cows calve we prefer to leave the babies with the mama's for at least 6 months because it is better for the calf and helps the mama breed back easier. In my eyes this was enough of a reason to know that I was going to breastfeed. Then as my pregnancy continued I learned of other benefits of breastfeeding, weight loss, quicker healing, cost, etc. Again, enough of a reason for me. 

The first bump in my breastfeeding road came when we had an unplanned c-section. Everything went smooth but I didn't get that immediate skin to skin like I had wanted. However, it didn't seem to bother Reagan since she had no issues latching. This made me excited, made me think that this breastfeeding thing was going to be a breeze! Then the jaundice issue arrived. Her pediatrician called it breastfeeding jaundice and suggested that we give her some formula. Not news to tell a new first time mama who had post partum hormones running rampant! Thankfully I was keeping her satisfied and she hardly took any formula. The only other hiccup we had was that she would not nurse underneath a blanket or nursing cover which made it difficult with all the doctor appointments so Reagan learned to switch back and forth from a bottle to breast with no issues. Again, we knew we were so lucky! 

Then I went back to work at 7 1/2 weeks and that is where the issues started. This is also the point that I wish I would have done some research on pumping and storing. As I went back to work my actual nursing sessions became less and less frequent and my supply fell off. I tried everything, oatmeal, mothers milk tea, power pumping, beer and nothing would make a lasting difference. I had told myself that if I had to supplement I would and I wouldn't get upset about it when I started shopping at the formula section of Wal-Mart. However, there was a piece of me that felt like I failed. I know there are tons of working moms who are able to exclusively pump/nurse and I would compare myself to them. I felt like well if they could why couldn't I? I even felt that green eyed jealousy monster towards the moms who were able to stay home longer with their new babes. Not right but I swear once you have been pregnant your hormones are never the same! Then after awhile I let it go, knew I was doing the best thing for Reagan but every once in awhile I will see someone talking about breastfeeding exclusively and it still stings.

Then we started on foods and I have been making her food for her, nothing fancy by any means. However, it does save money and it makes me feel like a good mom. The only things that I have been buying have been the gerber puff and yogurt melts but as soon as I get some time and a recipe I will be making those myself.

I'm still pumping but it is getting to the point I should hang it up. It takes me 3 days or so to get 6 oz so she isn't even getting a bottle a day anymore. I knew this day would come I just wish it would have came on my terms. Once again, I had a plan of nursing/supplementing till she was a year old and it just isn't going to happen. This move may be just as hard as moving Reagan to her crib from our room a few months ago. Pumping, no matter how little made me feel like I was doing something good, I was being a good mom. I also feel that if I quit pumping that I was just that, a quitter. I know crazy right!? So I tell myself, when the bag of storage bags is gone I'm done pumping...but we shall see.

Being a working mama and trying to breastfeed is hard but it is just as hard to be a mom and breastfeed period! Through all this though as long as baby is healthy, happy and growing then I'm doing my job just like every other mom.


  1. Lady, you have been/are doing a fabulous thing in your commitment to breastfeeding! But whenever you decide to stop pumping, that DOES NOT make you a bad mama. No matter if it comes "naturally" or not, breastfeeding is HARD WORK. Period. End of story. But the mommy guilt, we always let it torment us, right?

    Nutritionally speaking, yes, breastmilk is obviously better than formula. BUT it is not always the best option for baby and mama when all other factors are considered.

  2. You are awesome! Being a working mom and exclusively breast feeding is hard work! You are doing nothing wrong, perhaps your body just doesn't respond to a breast pump and that is why you aren't getting much milk. So many things affect your supply and every woman is different. The fact that you are dedicated enough to pump what you can to give her is beyond amazing! You are a wonderful mom and your daughter is very loved!

  3. Working and pumping is definitely hard - did you ever check out this website? Lots of great info there.

    Good luck!

  4. I was so lucky to have six months at home with my daughter. In two months I'm expecting a baby boy and this time I'll only have three months at home, and no ability at work to pump (I'll be part time so it will be a six hour break with no breastfeeding -- I doubt my supply will withstand that five times a week) and I'm trying to prepare myself for a much shorter breastfeeding experience. The funny thing is, I didn't love breastfeeding that much the first time, but I realize that I was very lucky to be able to keep it up as long as I wanted. It will probably be harder than I realize now to give it up before I'm ready because of work. :(

    Thanks for sharing your experience, it is appreciated.

  5. Megan, great job on being such a great mom to Reagan! YOu are obviously always thinking of what is best for her and that is awesome! I totally understand the breastfeeding dillemma you are having. I had similar issues however, I always had to do some supplementing as my little guys didn't latch well, and I never made enough milk for both babies, not to mention I had to give them the high calorie formula in the beginning in order to beef them up :) And I had hoped to breastfeed for a long time, etc, tried many of things you mentioned to get my supply up, but I just never had enough. And after being back at work almost 4 months, I had to hang it up too. I was pumping and feeding them bottles at the same time (as they stopped breastfeeding shortly after I went back to work), and at that time they decided they would not let me pump and feed them at the same time, and that was it for me. I had some momma guilt, but overall when I was all done, I was so much happier because I knew I could spend the time I spent pumping, loving on my babies and doing other things that would serve them better! So try not to feel guilty, we have plenty of that through their whole lives, just enjoy the time with her and know you are doing what is absolutely best for her and yourself!!

  6. Pumping is difficult ... as good as a pump is, it just cannot replicate baby's sucking and efficiency in draining the breast. And quitting pumping does not make you a quitter or a bad mother - it just means you're moving onto other ways of nourishing your baby. And your home-made baby food is a wonderful way of doing that! Should you choose to continue, though, even the 6oz every three days is a super treat for her. Your last sentence is the most important, and it's clear that Reagan is all three of those things!

  7. You are amazing to still be pumping after all of that. I would have definitely thrown in the towel by now. I agree, breastfeeding at all is hard, but being a breastfeeding/working mom is tougher! The pump just isn't the same as the baby for so many reasons, that I'm sure you know. It is hard to relax when you have your boobs hanging out in a closet at work (at least for me anyways ;-). Reagan is very lucky to have a hard-working and dedicated mama like you!

  8. I so so so know how you feel! At about 4 months my milk supply started diminishing & I was so upset. I was traveling a lot, letting our daughter meet extended family & in the end it hurt my supply. I wasn't getting anything really when pumping, my breasts wanted baby. Once it started drying, it went quick. By 4.5 months I was having to supplement after breast because I wasn't making enough so I tried breastfeeding every other meal. My MIL made me feel like absolute shit for using formula but I didn't know what to do. My baby wasn't getting enough food. It was so frustrating & I felt like a failure, why couldn't I get my supply back? I kept her on breast til 6 months for my own selfishness. I didn't want to stop breastfeeding, I wanted my breasts to magically start working again. By the end I was only making enough for one meal a day & she didn't even want that, she wanted bottle. :( It's hard to give up breastfeeding & I vow to do better if we ever have another but the fact of the matter is, I DID breastfeed my daughter. Not everyone gets too & some choose not too but I did get the chance and it was amazing! It's hard but you're doing what's best for both of you. I know how stressful, emotional, & upsetting it is though. I was there & I felt every single one of them (& more). HUGS!