Pumpin’ ain’t easy, neither is the constant stress of worrying whether or not you’ll be able to produce enough, or what to feed your babe in the event your caregiver runs out of milk before you come home or pickup from daycare.
I will say that it gets soo much easier once they start eating solids. I wanted to share these tips of what worked for me once I had to be back at the office full time.
Communicate Expectations With Caregiver:
I was shocked that many of the nannies we interviewed had never worked with a breastfed baby. In Brooklyn? So from the very beginning to avoid issues of running out/ over feeding etc. I made it very clear, that yes there are differences between how much milk is needed for a breastfed baby and one who isn’t. I had clear guidelines on how to and how much to feed. When to reach for frozen milk, when to hold off because I was on my way etc. This can be a little bit more difficult obviously if your child is in daycare, but you could still communicate the basics with the caregiver.
Stop worrying about building a stash:
The way some women post their stashes on the interwebs, you would think there was a breast milk Armageddon coming soon. While I’m all for proud mamas showing how it’s done and showing off their fruits of their labor, having 2 freezers full of milk is not possible for most, not to mention completely unnecessary.
I’ve always been a pump just enough to have an extra bottle or two kinda girl. At its best my stash was maybe 50 oz total. I remember being so sad and almost panicking even as it dwindled around 8 months or so. I just had to surrender and know that stash or no stash, Anaïs was getting exactly what she needed.
My “stash” now stand somewhere between 7 and 8 oz, divided between 2 lonely bags at the back of the freezer.But I’m holding on to those bad boys! My nanny asked the other day if they were bad, since I had never mentioned them. My reply: “oh no no, they’re perfectly fine! Just waiting until it’s necessary”.
Have a backup plan, in case you actually run out of milk:
As much as I wanted to not use formula, I had to get into reality with myself and acknowledge that there may be times that it would be necessary to supplement. What I ended up doing to make me feel really comfortable with my decision, was doing a lot of research and trying to come up with a backup plan so in the event that there was no breastmilk available, and my return wasn’t eminent noboby would have to panic and scramble to figure it out.
For us, we settled on homemade coconut milk formula. Since it would only replace a meal or two, I felt comfortable enough that it would provide her with great nutrition until I got home to nurse her. We used it once, she was a few days shy of 10 months. The recipe consisted of coconut milk, a small amount of cod liver oil, baby probiotics and a small amount of Great Lakes Gelatin. We improvised, simply because it was last minute and those were the ingredients we had around. If I were to supplement more regularly, I would use this recipe.
I know, I know, this is not for everybody. But if breastfeeding long term is your goal it may be worth considering. Anaïs still jumps on the boob once or twice at night. Never for long, and it’s probably mostly for comfort but I do think that it has helped keep my supply up and alleviate any concern I have that maybe she didn’t get enough milk during the day.
If mom is traveling , baby travels too:
By the time she was 10 mths, my little jet setter had been on 4 different business trips. I’m really big on trying not to do things before it is age appropriate, and for me overnight travel without baby before the age of 1 is not age appropriate. It’s a non negotiable, if I was going somewhere so was my baby and we figured out the additional details as far as who would travel with us, and watch her while I was at my meetings etc along the way.
The one problem I see often being in a corporate environment, is that women don’t always communicate their needs, especially after having a child. There is this fear of being “unreasonable” and a need to be just like everyone else and not seem like they’ve changed since becoming a mom. I’ve had several women say to me in regards to taking Anaïs with me “I didn’t know they let you do that!”. I just smile and nod. The truth is I never asked for permission, I just did what I know is best for me as a nursing mom. Since it doesn’t interfere with my duties, I didn’t see the need for it to be brought up to anyone.
If you have specific request or boundaries that need to be set upon your return to the office, it’s best to speak up and let the proper people know immediately. Don’t be afraid to communicate your needs. Everyone wins when mama’s needs are met!