Breastfeeding for the Working Mom: My Story

Michael has been hounding me for a while to make a blog post.

Haha, I don’t know that this is what he had in mind, but he seems to think it’s pretty well done.

Apparently it was Breastfeeding Week…which is the perfect time to begin this post that I’ve been working on for a while.

First, here’s a little about my story.
You can always check out the about me section. But long story short, I am currently a 4th year medical student. I will be a doctor in less than a year, and, hopefully, an OB/Gyn resident shortly after. I have a 3 year old and a 6 month old.

Let me do the math for you.

My oldest was 3 months old when I began classes.White Coat and Baby

I had always planned on breastfeeding, I guess.
I hadn’t really given it much thought. Honestly, I kind of took for granted that my mom had done it, and I just assumed it would go off without a hitch.

Boy, was I in for a shock…even with a completely planned pregnancy.

Let me say this. Breastfeeding is hard. It takes a lot of work, a lot of time, and a lot of determination. Anyone who tells you otherwise has never done it or has amnesia.

I did not always look down at my bundle of joy with joy when it came time for feedings the first time. She was wonderful. But I was so overwhelmed with the whole thing that I didn’t always have room for the joy.

I looked at those mothers who would nurse in the church nursing room or out in restaurants without a flinch and have a mix jealousy/resentment/confusion about how they made it look so easy.

With Baby #1, I had NO IDEA what I was doing when it came to breastfeeding (or anything else for that matter…)

I made some “mistakes” when it came to being “successful” (as I had defined it in my mind at the time). I had difficulty finding good advice beyond using lanolin or mother’s milk tea, especially when it came to being a successful breastfeeder with a demanding career schedule.

So the first time around, we never had a significant supply in storage. We made it day to day. And, we did half-formula and half-breastmilk.

You know what? I am absolutely proud of that.

Now, it took some tears and a loving friend (whose words you will see later) to get to that point. I had to realize that, no. I had not failed. I had given it my all. And you know what? I stuck it out for 12 months. (Ok, it was 11. But finals were coming and I was cooked. I decided it rounded up.) And I was awesome for it.

 

Baby #2 joined us recently…

Baby #2…and I was determined to use my experience to be more…”productive”. I evaluated what I had done before. I asked around as some other friends have joined us in parenthood. I was also much less intimidated this time. And I was able to look down at my bundle of joy with overwhelming joy, even and especially during feeding time.

We all know the benefits of breastfeeding. If you don’t, you can find out easily by typing it in your search bar. Immunity, less ear infections, less long-term morbidity. “Breast is best!”

And I agree! Wholeheartedly!

And I say, go for it! You CAN do this!

I do, however, want to make this clear.

If you have formula fed, good for you!
If you have breast fed, good for you!
If you have done half and half, good for you!

You are a mother who loves your baby. And that by itself is what matters most.

The point of this is not to make anyone feel bad for the choices they have made.

Rather, it is to hopefully help someone who is making similar choices to those I have made.

Breastfeeding is a very individual experience.

I now think it is absolutely wonderful.
There was a time that I didn’t.
There was a time that I was ashamed that I didn’t.

No part of motherhood should be shaming.
If it is, you need to reevaluate your thinking or find new friends…or both.

In the next post, I’m just going to list out a bunch of things that I wish I had known the first time. Some of it will be geared specifically for those who find themselves in a position requiring them to pump and bottle feed; however, there will be some things that I think will help any nursing momma.

And it’s going to be kind of long…

You will find suggestions from mothers who also happen to be a medical student, a law student, a neuroanatomist, a business owner, and a lactation consultant. So I think you may actually find at least a piece or two of advice that can help you along the way.

I ask that you keep this in mind.
THIS IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE.
If you have questions about anything, I will give you the best answer that I can, but always consult your doctor for any finality about what is said.
Reading the post expresses your agreement to the above statements.

 

*Next up: Breastfeeding for the Working Mom: The Nesting Phase*

Comments ( 8 )

  • Joie Fields

    Proud of you!

  • Amber

    I was completely inverted. I was so thankful to have a nurse who’s daughter went through the same thing. It was hard and scary. But when I weened at 11 months I felt like a champ. Most of all I recall looking like feeling so uncomfortable feeding in public. I used a boppy pillow and a shield to
    nurse every time.

    • It sounds like you found a system that worked for you! 11 months is great! And it’s so important to have that support- sounds like that nurse deserves a big high five!!!

  • Thank you so much for posting this! I read this when you first posted it, which was right around the time my little one was born, and it was such an encouragement to me.

    • 🙂 I’m so glad! I know it is such a specific post, but it’s something I wish I had access to when I started the first time! Thanks for reading and commenting!

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