I started nursing school when Macie was 2 months old. I was determined to continue breastfeeding, but didn’t know if I could continue the whole time I was in school. I had spoken with multiple people about breastfeeding, what to do, how to pump, how long to pump, etc. I was nervous because all of the breastfeeding sites told me that it’s hard to keep up supply, while just pumping during the day. Well, it has almost been a year since Macie was born, I’m about to graduate nursing school AND I’m still breastfeeding! All while being in school and away from her 8 hours a day, I still managed to keep up supply enough to still give her mommy milk for almost a year now. So moms, I am here to tell you, that you can do this! I get that you are tired, stressed, worn out, worried your baby won’t get enough, worried what people will think, I get all of that, because those same thoughts ran through my head to. Here are some things that I want you to know from one new “full time student” mom to another working or student mom:
1. You have to have a desire and a “want to” to be able to breastfeed for a year + and be working or going to school, because it takes discipline pumping that much for the first critical months.
2. I pumped three times a day while at school, and that’s the milk Macie would have the whole next day. You have to do this until at least 6 months to get your supply regulated. (Now at 11 months I do not have to pump at all, but we are slowly weaning also.)
3. Do not let people tell you and make you believe that if you have to supplement with formula as your child grows that you are a breastfeeding failure, and you are giving your child bad nutrition, etc. While I am an advocate for breastfeeding, I also believe that some breastmilk along with formula is better than no breastmilk at all! Whatever makes it easier on you, and keeps you able to breastfeed, then you should do it, and that also goes for supplementing! You are not abusing your child if you supplement. We use the Honest company formula to supplement for Macie, which is carefully modeled after breastmilk and is organic. We had to start supplementing around 6 months, because due to her growing needs, my body just couldn’t pump enough to keep her filled for the day. At first I beat myself up when I had to supplement, but then came to the conclusion, hey some people can’t breastfeed at all so I’m happy with breastfeeding, even if it is just three times a day.
4. One of the reasons why I love breastfeeding, besides the fact that it is amazing nutrition for your little. The best you can ever give them by far. Besides the nutrition, I LOVE the bonding time I get with my Macie. My favorite time of the day is getting to slow down for a moment and relax while I nurse her. I also think the calming effects that nursing has on your little is so sweet. Nursing has gotten us through multiple vaccine days, a hospital stay, sicknesses, etc, but that’s for a later blog post.
Basically the point of this post is to say if you are an expecting mom, contemplating going back to work and breastfeeding, I hope this gives you confidence that you can do it. Even if you have to supplement you are NOT a failure. Some breastmilk is better than no breastmilk at all. I truly believe that Macie would not have gotten over her RSV as quick as she did if we were not nursing. Carry your pump bag with you everywhere you go, pump your heart out when you get the chance, don’t beat yourself up if you have to supplement, and enjoy the benefits of breastfeeding you and your little receive. Good luck mamas 🙂