Being a Mom is already a full-time job in itself, but once the maternity leave is over, how do you manage both your breastfeeding schedule and work shifts? Some women might carry portable, electric pumps in order to maintain their supply while they’re at the office. Other moms take advantage of the work from home set-up and schedule work meetings around their feeding schedules. But beyond balancing schedules and priorities, it also takes so much effort, sacrifice, and commitment to be able to continue breastfeeding while working full-time. There may be moments when moms already want to quit, but for the sake of their babies, they persevere!
We talked to Mommy Marielle, Mommy Apol, Mommy Erine, and Mommy Keana to know more about how working moms such as themselves are able to continue breastfeeding while they are back at work. These are just some of the things we learned from these inspiring moms as they share how they strive to overcome the challenges of working while breastfeeding every single day. We hope their personal stories will give you encouragement, too! Read on!
Mommy Marielle is a full-time communications instructor at the university level and she is also a mom of two boys, Yain and Elias. Nursing her youngest son who is almost one, her teaching load, and Master’s degree units keep Mommy Marielle always on her toes, but she manages to find ways to adapt. “I have been breastfeeding for almost four years collectively. My eldest weaned when he was 3, and my youngest, who is about to turn 1, is still exclusively breastfeeding. Four years of working while breastfeeding equate to a lot of highs, such as pumping more than 10oz of milk during an 8-hour shift, having a surplus of pumped milk in the freezer, and donating bags of breastmilk to NICU babies in need,” says Mommy Marielle.
As a working mom, Mommy Marielle also shares that what helps her most throughout her breastfeeding journey is the unwavering support of her family and friends. One of the most valuable lessons she has learned is the fact that breastfeeding is tough and it’s not a skill that comes naturally! The struggles are real and that’s totally okay.
“Breastfeeding is a lot tougher than what society makes it seem. Prior to becoming a mom, I thought that my babies will naturally latch, and my boobs will overflow with milk as soon as they come out. I was eventually proven wrong,” says Mommy Marielle.
Mommy Apol is a Management and Wellness Support Consultant who works with leadership teams in maximizing the potential of their organization through strategic planning, coaching, and upskilling. Apart from working as a consultant, what keeps her busy the most is taking care of her adorable baby boy, seven-month old Caleb. “I breastfeed on demand, except for bedtime when my husband is the one who gives my son a bottle of expressed breast milk to give me a breather. This means that I’m always on-call for when my baby gets hungry or thirsty, and as a first time mom, I’m learning that hot summer days mean quicker but more frequent feeds,” says Mommy Apol.
Mommy Apol also experiences the hardship and pain of breastfeeding. One of her struggles is a condition called D-MER or Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex, wherein the physical act of letting down milk triggers negative feelings such as worry and anxiety.
Some of the other things that have helped Mommy Apol are lactation counseling and massages, taking malunggay capsules along with fresh malunggay to boost milk production, as well as support from her husband. Mommy Apol shares, “I’m blessed to have a husband who is so supportive of my breastfeeding journey. Breastfeeding was so difficult at the beginning, with my son having a mild tongue tie and me having flat nipples.”
Mommy Erine was a Retentions Specialist for US Cards as well as a Retirement Plan Specialist who regularly works the night shift while looking after her two kids, 6-year old Luccas and 2-year old Chrissi. After joining a support group, and gaining more knowledge about breastfeeding, Mommy Erine was able to transition from mix feeding to exclusively breastfeeding her eldest child. At the beginning, she also experienced clogged ducts and thought she wasn’t producing enough milk, but as she armed herself with more information, she was able to set herself up for more breastfeeding wins.
Mommy Erine also shares that what has helped her the most in her breastfeeding journey are having the right information and the right products to assist her. Among the most valuable lessons Mommy Erine has learned throughout her breastfeeding journey is that every mom will have a different experience, and there are no one size fits all solutions.
“Having access to the right information is very helpful. I was able to cope much better when I joined a breastfeeding support group on Facebook. I also love my breastfeeding poncho, because it was convenient to use when we were out. Having good quality storage bags also helps,” says Mommy Erine.
Mommy Keana is a Senior Account Executive for a creative agency. When she’s not busy meeting with and presenting to clients, she devotes her time to caring for her one-year-old daughter Luna. Breastfeeding was definitely hard at the onset for Mommy Keana, but she was able to push through even when she started going back to work by adjusting and adapting her schedule to Luna’s feeding times and openly communicating with her colleagues and clients.
Mommy Keana shares, “If I had work to do in the afternoon, I usually let my co-workers and clients know that I need to feed her, and they would understand the need for it since it usually doesn’t take that long to feed my baby.”
Mommy Keana also took the time to search for credible sources that would help her learn more about breastfeeding as well as lactation products that would aid her in producing breastmilk. She also made sure to drink a lot of liquids to support her production. While working and breastfeeding at the same time, Mommy Keana learned that the most important value in this journey is commitment. “We fully commit ourselves to our baby, whether it be for breastfeeding or just generally being there for them as they get older,” says Mommy Keana.
Remember that every breastfeeding journey is unique and what may work for some mothers, does not always work for all mothers. It really does take a lot of love and patience to find the right rhythm for you and your baby. If you’re looking for more nursing guides and tips, you can check out more Breastfeeding articles on our website to help you out.