Although breastfeeding is “natural,” it sure isn’t always easy. It’s even more difficult if you are a working mom. I’m Amanda, mom of three, and I do a lot of the social media magic behind the scenes at the Baby Jack office. I’ve had three very different experiences nursing my children. All moms have different experiences feeding their children, and I feel that it can be helpful to hear the stories from others. In celebration of World Breastfeeding Week, I wanted to share my breastfeeding stories with my babies.
My first daughter was born as an urgent c-section after a scary labor and the nurses urged me to supplement with formula right away. I was exhausted and terrified and I believed them when they said my baby wasn’t eating enough. When I went back to work full-time after 10 weeks, there was no specific room for me to pump. I had to wait until my manager went on break so I could pump in his (yes, HIS) office. I struggled for two months to breastfeed her before my supply was depleted by infrequent pumping, not enough support, and a nasty case of postpartum depression. I dealt with a lot of guilt when I stopped nursing my first daughter (other moms made it look so easy!), but I knew that she was much better off having a happy/sane mother and getting formula instead.
My second child, my son, was born as a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) in a hospital. I was determined to breastfeed longer this time and did a lot more research during my pregnancy. We had wonderful support from a doula that I hired and we had a great breastfeeding relationship from the beginning. The hospital I worked in at the time had a great pumping lounge for working moms to use but I was only able to pump 1-2 times per shift. However, for some reason my son had a very difficult time gaining weight and was labeled “failure to thrive” by our pediatrician. I breastfed him for about 6 months before deciding, for my own sanity and for his health, to begin feeding him formula.
My third child, my daughter Hazel (who is a frequent model for Baby Jack) was born at home (on purpose). We’ve had tremendous support from the beginning and whenever we hit bumps in the road on our breastfeeding journey. My midwife visited us at home during the first six weeks postpartum and always had great advice regarding nursing. I took my job with Baby Jack when Hazel was only 8 weeks old. I am very lucky in that I get to bring Hazel with me to work every day and never have to worry about pumping. It’s so wonderful that I can just nurse her at my desk while I keep working! Baby Jack owner Kelley and my other coworkers are extremely supportive and I never feel uncomfortable nursing Hazel in the office.
Hazel is now nine months old and I’m proud to say that our breastfeeding journey is still going strong. I’ve already had family and friends asking me when I am going to stop nursing, and honestly I have no idea. Right now this is what works best for us, but I know that may not be the case a month from now. Breastfeeding really is difficult in the beginning, but after the first three months things do get much easier.
No matter where you are in your journey, know that you are doing a GREAT job, mama! No matter how you feed your baby, YOU know what’s best for you. If you ever need extra support, please feel free to reach out to me in our #babyjackfan group on Facebook! We are a very supportive, non-judgmental group and we all have different stories to tell.