By Jen of Quarter Life Crisis
The thing I loved the most about breastfeeding when I was on maternity leave was the ease. When I needed to feed the baby (read: ALL THE TIME, it seemed), my milk was always just ready to go. It was the perfect temperature and consistency, and I didn’t have to fuss with formula and bottles. If I needed just a few more minutes of precious sleep in the early morning hours, my husband would bring the baby into our bed so I could nurse him on my side while I continued to snooze. And thanks to a recent law passed in my state making breastfeeding in a public place a civil right, I could feed my baby wherever, whenever.
The plan was to breastfeed for up to a year, for the bonding experience and health benefits it provided my son, yes, but mainly because I didn’t want to pay for formula on top of all our other newly acquired baby expenses. As my maternity leave came to a close, and I started to prepare for my return to work, continuing to breastfeed suddenly seemed difficult. I began to feel a little apprehensive about the prospect of pumping at work – would it interfere with my workflow, would I be able to produce enough milk for my son’s insatiable appetite, would my co-workers look at me differently as I made the twice-daily trek to my make-shift lactation station?
All were valid concerns, but fortunately for me, the answers were mostly no, mostly yes, and definitely not. I got lucky in that my employer was extremely supportive of my endeavor to continue breastfeeding. Before I came back to work, I sat down with my boss and let her know my plans. I was very clear about when I would need to pump (once in the 10 a.m. hour, once in the 2 p.m. hour), and that if it ever interfered with meetings, I could easily adjust my schedule. Cognizant of the time I’d spend away from my desk and work, I proposed a shorter lunch break to make up the time. Thankfully, my boss wasn’t too concerned about the time it would take to pump. “Just do what you need to do,” she said.
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