Well, I survived my first day back at work. I shed lots of tears before I left that morning, but I was determined that I would leave the crying at the front door of our house—and I did. My mom and dad watched Graham that day and sent me lots of texts and pictures to keep me updated, which helped a lot. I missed him all day long as I had expected, but also felt some things that I did not expect.
I’m a nurse at an OB/GYN office, and now that I’m a mama too, I realized that I can relate to my patients in a whole new way. I’ve now been through pregnancy, delivery and also know what it’s like to have a newborn at home. Everyone’s story is different, but I imagine I’ll be able to understand and encourage these preggos and new mamas in a whole new way. I think I’ll be better at my job than I was pre-Graham, and that feels rewarding. Even though I’m sad to be away from Graham for so long each day, it helps knowing that I’m helping others and that there’s a valuable purpose to my absence.
Being back at work as a breastfeeding mama has some new challenges, namely pumping! I have a whole new respect for pumping moms—especially those who’ve made it to the one-year mark! My goal is to breastfeed for at least one year, but I can see now that it’s not going to be easy. My plan is to pump three times during the eight and a half hours I’m at work (with my commute, I’m away from Graham for about nine and a half to 10 hours a day). I’m terrified of my supply dipping, and I hope that pumping every couple hours for around 20 minutes at a time will be enough.
Even though I have supportive co-workers, it’s a hassle to set up the divider in the office that I share with another nurse, and the mechanical “mur-mur-mur” of the pump is certain to strike a nerve with both of us atsome point. Even though no one can see me, it feels super awkward to strap on the hands free pumping bra and feel so very exposed at my desk.
It’s hard to take myself seriously typing an email as my nips are being stretched to impossible lengths. (It still freaks me out when I look down, but I swear they go back to normal afterwards!) And then there’s desperately trying not to spill my precious milk all over my keyboard as I detach myself from the pump. It’s all very ungraceful and time consuming, but obviously it will be worth it to be able to continue feed Graham the way I want to.
(One helpful pumping-at-work tip that I read was to throw the pump parts in a ziplock bag and put them in the refrigerator between pumping sessions, so you only have to wash/sterilize them at the end of the day.)
The hands free pumping bras, although the most unsexy pieces of clothing I’ve ever owned, are also very helpful. I’m lucky to have two pumps, one for work and one for home, so I’m not lugging an extra bag around every day. I also invested in a bunch of the microwave steam sterilizer bags, so I don’t have to boil the pump parts every day either. Anything I can do to make pumping less of a hassle is sure to make it more likely that I’ll be able to meet my breastfeeding goals. Any of you pumping mamas out there have any helpful tips?