Meet Amy: a working mom with an MBA, hailing from China, educated in Canada, and now residing in Cleveland, Ohio. She juggles her finance career with raising two babies and loves to write for her parenting blog, AmyBabys.com, while creating unforgettable family memories through travel. Read on to learn how she coped with adapting her plan to breastfeed while working!
When my youngest was born, I felt a real sense of confidence that I hadn’t experienced with my firstborn. My body responded in kind, my milk supply far surpassing what it had been with my first. It was as if my body instinctively knew what to do this time around. I had envisioned the ease of exclusive breastfeeding – no bottles to clean, no measuring, storing, freezing, or warming up milk – just a natural, nurturing bond between me and my baby boy.
However, sometimes our best-laid plans encounter unexpected roadblocks. For me, this roadblock came in the form of my professional life. When my maternity leave drew to a close, a change in my work situation occurred that I hadn’t anticipated. Although my boss had initially agreed I could continue to work from home, he changed his mind, requiring me to return to the office. My heart sank. I saw my dreams of exclusive breastfeeding fade away.
But, as a woman who has made her career in the financial world, I knew how to negotiate ☺ I spoke to my boss, and I outlined a new proposal, a compromise of sorts that would ensure my productivity at work while not sacrificing my breastfeeding goals. It took some maneuvering, but eventually, we agreed on a part-time office schedule.
Despite my best efforts, the reality was that my breastfeeding plan needed to adjust. I had to introduce pumping into my routine, which was something I was originally trying to avoid. The adjustment was challenging at first. The mechanics of a breast pump, the sterilization, the storing and warming of the milk – it was flashbacks to bad experiences with my first baby.
I soon discovered the convenience of a wearable breast pump, which made a significant difference in my daily routine. It was less intrusive, allowing me to continue with my work without interruption (as well as chase baby one around who was now a 2-year-old toddler). My breastfeeding chair doubled as a pumping area and my reliable breastfeeding cover also became an essential tool, enabling me to feed my child during our family outings or my quick visits home without feeling uncomfortable.
There were times when my milk supply fluctuated. I noticed a direct correlation between my stress levels and the amount of milk I produced. The realization made me pay more attention to my emotional well-being, relax, and not put unnecessary pressure on myself.
My journey taught me that sometimes our paths need to change, and that’s okay. I learned to embrace pumping as a part of my breastfeeding journey, not as a failure of my original plans. We, as mothers, have to make difficult decisions every day for the well-being of our children and ourselves.
In the end, every mother’s journey is unique. It’s important to listen to our instincts, advocate for our needs, and above all be kind to ourselves. Whether we are balancing budgets or balancing breastfeeding and work, we are doing the best we can. Let’s not forget to celebrate that.
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