After I had my first son, I was so busy relishing in the time I got to spend with him I didn’t realize how fast my short 12 week maternity leave had gone by. I was surprised at how many of my friends and family members expected me to wean just because I was returning to work. I had planned to nurse him for one full year and had no intention of stopping at 12 weeks!
When “K” was around six weeks old, I decided to try to introduce him to a bottle. That was a joke. He completely refused each and every bottle there was on the market. By the time I was to return to work, I was very worried about what he was going to do for food for the 9 hours plus commute time I would be away from him. I had started pumping (with my trusty hand-held pump) the week before I was due back to work to build up a little stash for “K”, although I was unsure how he was going to be able to drink it.
My mother (who really wasn’t pro-breastfeeding) was going to be keeping him while I went to work, and she was a bit concerned as well. The day before returning to work, she and I found a solution. It wasn’t the best thing, I’m sure, but it worked. She fed him expressed milk through a medicine dropper. This took time, but she didn’t really have anything else to do during the day and this was her first grandchild, so I lucked out having someone available that would take the time to feed my precious little one this way.
As far as the pumping went; this was well before all the laws were passed about lactation rooms and a place to keep the milk, etc. but I was fortunate enough to have a place to pump and time to do it. Granted, I pumped in the family restroom, it was large enough that I had a chair brought in and I was nowhere near the toilet. There was also a plug in there in case I had an electric pump (which I never used by the way). We had a sink and fridge in the lounge that I appreciated for clean-up of my pump and storage of the milk. While this is far from what many would see as ‘ideal’, I was impressed that this ‘big box’ store (that gets such a bad rap for how they treat their employees) had worked so well with me before any laws were put into place.
I only had one mishap and it had to do with another employee. I usually kept my pump bag in the fridge because it held my expressed milk as well. It was a simple black bag that resembled a lunch box. The resemblance must have been a little too close to that of a lunch box because one employee (an older gentleman) accidently took it out thinking it was his lunch. I went to pump one afternoon and realized my pump was gone. Frantically, I scanned the room to find it sitting in front of the gentleman reading a magazine. He hadn’t opened it, yet, thank goodness! I went over and kindly mentioned that he had my bag. He graciously handed it to me and I went on my way to pump. I guess things could have been worse and been a little embarrassing for both of us.
If you’re a working mom, what are your experiences with pumping at work? How does baby do while you’re away? Feel free to share in the comments section.