Letters to M.I.T.C2
I’ve taken a bit of a break from blogging mostly due to the usual hustle and bustle that the holiday season brings and the subsequent lack of time. The other truth is, I think I’ve temporarily lost my blogging mojo. Of course, no one wants to read a blog post about blogging ( I know! I know!) but there is part of me that really misses connecting with readers through posts and the time capsule that is created when I press that magic publish button. So, I asked myself what part of blogging motivates me and makes me want to keep at it?
It turns out that my favourite part of blogging is really two fold. I love being able to go back and look at photos and stories on old blog posts from years ago and I can’t get enough of looking at Ben at the same age Josie is now and being able to reflect on how things were and how things are different. However, I also absolutely love hearing from Mama in the City readers through comments or emails or Facebook posts. I adore when you ask me about breastfeeding or what it is really like raising a family downtown.
Awhile back I got an email from a reader who is also a nurse and she emailed me this question about breastfeeding:
“How was it going back to work and continuing to breastfeed? Our little angel, who sounds awfully like baby Ben from your posts, is not too keen on the bottle and still maintains a 3 or 4 am feed. Ughh!”
Going back to work and continuing to breastfeed is a fantastic question and there is lots of information out there about pumping/bottling or even bringing baby to work for a nursing visit. However, being a shift worker with extended shifts changes things a bit. In Canada we are so fortunate to get a 1 year maternity leave. While not all working mothers take the whole year off most RN’s do. We are so lucky that when we have to face going back to work our babies are 12 months or older.
When I went back to work after Josie I just decided to dive into the change and figure things out along the way. For the first few weeks I would come home after a day shift and sneak into her room as she slept in her crib, I’d pick her up and do a dream feed. This was just my way of making sure that my supply would keep up with the changes to our nursing relationship. Often she would be up before I left in the mornings and we would have another quick nursing session together.
I remember on my first week back to work last February one of the family doctors asked me, ‘what is she drinking if you aren’t there?!’. The truth is, the kid was 1 and she can drink a lot of different things than just breast milk. By the time I left Josie for 13+ hours, she was drinking water and sometimes cows milk from a cup. She had gotten used to her dad putting her to bed and I purposefully made sure that she got used to not always nursing to sleep.
While Josie was my easier baby she still did wake up at night and would often want to nurse to go back to sleep. For the first few months, I’d let her come into our bed around 4 AM for a cuddle/nurse/sleep session. My alarm clock would ring by 6 AM and so it was a short couple of hours before work life took over. At the time I remember thinking it was a bit exhausting to have to do this and then be expected to be on my toes and work 12 hours. The truth is, I did it and I sometimes had a cat nap on my break and an extra cup of coffee. Now, in retrospect, I am so glad that I did these early morning cuddling/nursing sessions as it was a great way to transition being back at work and away from my baby.
Josie is almost 2 years old which means that I have been back at work for almost a full year. While I am still nursing Josie, I don’t nurse her over night anymore (unless I’m at my parents and that is another story on sleep and travel!). If she does cry out my husband takes over and soothes her. Turns out she will soothe with him in about 2 minutes versus the 2 hours it would take me if I went in with the milk buffet. On the days that I work it means she doesn’t nurse for over 24 hours or more. For me and my body, this works out just fine for supply and over the last 12 months I have never had a supply issue.
What worked for you and your nursling when you went back to work?