It’s World Breastfeeding Week from August 1st until the 7th and the theme this year is all about juggling breastfeeding and working.
As a working mom who went back to work at 7 weeks postpartum and has been pumping since then, this theme is very special to me! If it wasn’t for my job allowing me to pump at work, my breastfeeding attempts would have failed. Best of all, my job is still allowing me to pump at work despite the fact that my daughter is now 13 months old and by law they only have to allow me to take pump breaks the first year. Of course, I do my part by not pumping if we’re too busy and by eliminating my pump breaks on my Sunday shifts because that was always the hardest day to find time. Luckily my daughter now only needs milk if I work at night and only about 3 ounces before bed while I usually pump 5+ ounces. She’s stopped nursing during my one day shift on Sunday’s and is content with water and solids until I get home after about 7 hours apart. My situation isn’t common though. I work at a restaurant and only work 4 days a week. Most women struggling with pumping work full time, 5 days a week from 9-5, and need to pump 3 times a day in the beginning. And their children are usually in a daycare where the caregivers aren’t properly educated on paced bottle feeding or other breastfeeding/formula feeding differences.
Honestly, the fact that my restaurant is so accommodating isn’t normal either. The management team works so well with me and they watch my tables so I can take my 15 minute pump break and my coworkers are also amazing at helping out if my tables need anything while I’m gone. The hosts always hold off on seating me if I’m in the office on my break as long as I tell them I’m going away. I have never had a table complain either! I usually just tell them I need to take a 15 minute break and let them know what server will be checking on them and most people don’t even care enough to ask. Those that do I happily tell them that I’m pumping for my daughter but I don’t volunteer that information unless people actually ask.
I have the best parts of being a stay at home mom while also being able to work. My daughter doesn’t need daycare because I work opposite of her dad so she’s always with a parent. All the variables came together for me so my breastfeeding journey has been a great one. I know not all moms are as fortunate and struggle with not being able to get enough when they pump at work or struggle with their employers who make pumping at work difficult. Some employers don’t respect the laws and definitely don’t go above and beyond past the year mark because breastfeeding past a year is so unheard of. Or some babies start rejecting the breast because they don’t get it enough. It’s really hard to be a breastfeeding mom and work full time. So this year lets focus on making it work! Here’s what the WHO shared on what employers and lawmakers can do (did you know that they recommend breastfeeding for the first 2 years?!).
And if you’re wondering if it’s really worth the struggle and hard work here’s 5 reasons why you should at least give breastfeeding a try. Remember, fed is best and if breastfeeding doesn’t work there is absolutely nothing wrong with formula feeding. We absolutely do not condone shaming other mothers for doing what was best for them and their babies!