The struggle of the breastfeeder when going back to work.

by - 13:41:00

To understand how hard it is for breastfeeding mothers to go back to work, firstly you need to know a bit about me...
My background is in childcare. I've worked in schools, play centres, out of school care, kids clubs, crèches, nurserys and been a nanny. When I used to look after children of a young age and they got hungry, I'd just pick up a bottle.
(These children were with us for 10 hours, 5 days a week.)

I'd just like to say, those parents were doing a fantastic job... They were FEEDING their babies and that's all that matters. (This post isn't about breast vs bottle, it's about supporting mothers to feed if they go back to work).
The reason I picked up a bottle was because they were all formula fed and why, because breastfeeding and going back to work is just so hard for most people.

Because I worked in nursery, when I thought about having children, I was one of 'those people' you know the ones who's children will never throw tantrums, won't eat chocolate and will sleep in a cot all night from day 1! HA that didn't work out for me!
I didn't give much thought to feeding, in my head I knew I preferred the shape of certain bottles and which formula I thought was best. That, was what I was going to feed my baby!

Roll on 3 years and Kairi was due, everyone kept asking me if I was going to breast feed and that's when I really started to realised what I wanted for my child. I did a lot of research and learnt that breast was best for us, 6 months later our journey began.

It was when I went back to work the really hard part came, all I knew was how to put babies in childcare and formula feed them. I had no idea about the work behind the breastfeeder! It was August and I was due back to work in September, the head ache started. How much milk do I leave her (how do I know, I have no idea how much she takes!) Could I pump enough? Would she want to take the bottle? All these questions raced through my head.
I started pumping and got hardly any out. I was so upset, how was I going to go back to work? I would have to leave her screaming for her food. She was only just 6 months, so not really taking solids much yet.

Then a good friend gave me some great advice 'relax' she said (did she know I had a baby!), 'think about your baby, feed and pump, stare at her or a photo of her, try to enjoy the experience and PICTURE THE MILK FLOWING' I did it, my milk started to flow and soon enought after a few weeks of regular pumping I was pumping good amounts, The day right around the corner.

The day before I panicked, there was no way I had left her enough, but I didn't want to put formula into her body. I researched other milks and found that coconut milk was closest to breast milk, so I brought some for the back up in the fridge.

The day came and I went back to work. I squeezed my breast milk keep sake tight and held back my tears, it was only a few hours, she would be fine.
When I got home she was ready to feed, I held her and the oxytocin rushed through my body, I attached Kairi to one breast and the breast pump to the other. I watched her take every gulp and promised myself I would enjoy every feed.

I took a deep breath and asked how she had been while I was away, was my milk supply gone? Had she drunk it all? She had 1 bottle about 6oz and I had many more store away, the relief was amazing. Kairi unlatched and fell asleep, I looked down and saw I had pumped 9oz!

I knew then everything was going to be okay.

Win a MAM Breastfeeding Set worth £75

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  1. Thanks so much for sharing your story. We need more detailed stories like this of mums experiences with dealing with carrying on with breastfeeding when they return to work.

    Are you planning a part 2? It'll be lovely to read about how you emotionally and practically kept up with it beyond your first day back.

    Also, did you do practice runs with KIT days? It's interesting about coconut milk, I found mixed reviews for it when I googled it. So, I've asked my LLL leader to see if there's any LLL article about it. Thanks for mentioning it in your post, it's another thing within infant feeding to learn about. :-)

    Thanks for joining in with my BritMums World Breastfeeding Week themed carnival. :-)

  2. Wow, 9oz expressed is amazing! I didn't know that about coconut milk x

  3. Thanks for sharing. Some great advice for new mums

  4. This is really reasuring! thanks for sharing and a great tip about the coconut milk!

  5. Thanks for this post. It's nice to know that it's not impossible!

  6. Didn't know coconut milk was closest, thanks!
    It is hard, I had 9 months off with my first, so she was at least having less milk and had started solids when I went back but still had to feed before I left, express for while I was out and feed again when I got home. Definitely doable, don't know how I'd have got on if I went back earlier though! Now on mat leave again with my 3 week old :)

  7. Thanks for sharing, i have shown this page to my wife

  8. Great advice and I like how you supported that whatever is best for you and your baby!

  9. Thanks for sharing - i defo needed t read this - leanne w

  10. thank you for sharing! great advice!

  11. Great prize and advice, my sister in law is due next month so this is very useful.

  12. This is really helpful advice - I'm expecting my first in February, and I'm hoping to breastfeed. Fortunately I'll be able to take slightly longer maternity leave so hopefully we'll have more time to establish feeding, but it's still a worry. I'd never have thought about feeding and expressing at the same time, but it makes so much sense!

  13. Some great advice here. I'm due in December :)

  14. Lovely article! I due on Christmas Day and luckily i wouldn't be working. Can't wait to meet my babies and breastfeed them xx


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Jade x