I’ve been officially back in work for three weeks now although it’s not so bad as I’m using my annual leave spread out meaning I’m only actually doing one day week. I decided to go back earlier than planned as I was getting a little bored at home. I’ve never been one to just sit around doing nothing and being on maternity pay meant that I didn’t have any spare cash to just go for coffees or meet friends for lunch. I love my boys to the moon and back but I’m also cut out to be mummy 24/7 I felt like I needed a little bit of space back, being in work has given me that. I have a lot of respect for mummies that stay at home all the time either though choice or circumstances. Being in work, gives me time to use my brain again and feel a bit more needed and that I’m actually helping. It also gives me a chance to have some adult conversation and selfishly a chance once a week to drink a cup of tea with two hands which is still hot while typing away! Of course it’s hard to think of my boys being in someone else’s care all day and especially for Flixster as he’s my little velcro baby and always by my side, but I’m blessed to have places for them at a nursery I really like. Their nursery is in a large old cottage and is still lived in by the owners, so it very much feels like a home away from home. The preschool room often have their evening stories read to them in the living room of the house which is nice. To me having that time away is also important to keep me sane too.
Having returned to work much earlier this time though than I did with the boy I am breastfeeding more through the day so I’ve had to think about how I manage that. There is no way I’m stopping feeding him myself so in order to maintain my supply and make myself comfortable I take my breast pump to work. The maternity policy at my place of work mentions breastfeeding upon returning to work and the workplace manager taking this into account.
There is a really good information guide on the maternity action website about breastfeeding and returning to work which can be found here.
Before my return I informed my manager that I wanted to continue feeding and so would wish to pump milk a couple of times in the day. Thankfully my work had no problem with this at all. I can imagine that in some situations it may be difficult to ask work or mummies may feel embarrassed to even ask. I hope that’s not the case but I know speaking to a few mums at the breastfeeding group I volunteer at it can be, especially in situations where it may be difficult to find time to use a pump.
So once I’d got my head around pumping at work I needed to make sure I was organised. In the weeks leading up to returning to work I tried to take more notice of how often Flixster was feeding during the day. As he is in the process of complimentary feeding his milk feeds have dipped slightly. I always try to offer a feed before his meals but it depends on the situation as it was not always possible. He was however and still is feeding quite a lot throughout the night, which would remain unchanged as I’m still be there for him at night times.
So on his first day at nursery I sent in 3 bags of 4oz of my milk, when I picked him up, the nursery reported he’d drank just two lots of 1oz, the rest I presume was wasted ( I try not to dwell on all the lovely liquid gold going down the sink!) Unfortunately the whole day at work for me was spent with a painful blocked duct on one side, this was not due to Flixster being away as it had started the day before. I pumped a few times during the day after massaging the area quite heavily but nothing would work to clear it. Within 5 minutes of his first feed back on the breast it was almost eased completely. I was in awe once again at the power of a breastfeeding baby, after trying all day to clear it, it only took one feed! During the day at work I carefully placed my milk in the fridge to take home and freeze for the next week at nursery. The next two weeks at work I only had time to pump during the day which felt enough as I didn’t feel full and I was busy getting on with work. I was able to give lots of cuddles and feeds when I got home.
I think I’ve found a good compromise for now, I get to ease myself back into work while still being able to give breast milk to Flixster when he’s not with me!