Some of you may have read part one of my breastfeeding story last month – you can catch up here if you’d like! I am Lisa, the PR Manager for Medela and have a little boy, Toby, who is nearly 8 months old.
I went back to work when Toby was 3 months old (I left a very loving husband in charge being the chief stay at home parent!) at the time I was breastfeeding and I was not going to let my return to work stop me… so my breastpump became the most important piece of kit!
I am not going to lie, day one being back in the office was not easy (you can also read dads side of things here!) aside from the emotions, my boobs got full, so very full and sore! I am very lucky to work close to home so on day one, and every day that followed, I had a little visitor for his lunch time feed…this was such a special treat for me and I will never forget the moments feeding Toby at my desk!
I did start pumping before returning to work as I wanted to stock pile, so I started expressing when toby was 6 weeks old and boy did we get a good supply! At one count we had over 10 litres – my husband even created an excel document to monitor the milk! Alongside my Goodfella’s Pizza and tubs of ice-cream piled high was a mountain of pump and save bags of my breastmilk! Having a freezer full ensured we never had to panic and milk was always readily available – but of course I pumped everyday anyway, for comfort more than anything, and to keep up my supply.
I used two pumps – the Symphony was my godsend… an industrious looking machine that sat by the sofa waiting for me to plug in each day! I would settle to watch the morning news and in the evening catch up with some TV while pumping. I mainly double pumped to be most efficient.
I also had a Swing Maxi which came in my bag with me when I was in the office or at meetings… pumping at the spa for a work Christmas do had to be a highlight –pumping in style!
People often ask when the best time to pump is, but for me I pumped when I had free time, between working and whizzing home to do bed and bath I squeezed it in! Goodness managing my time – that was a challenge! I always did the morning feed and then pumped at about 8am. I returned from work and fed Toby, but if he only opted for one side I would pump off the other at about 5.30. Then at 10pm I would settle on the sofa and pump for Britain! I did the night feeds and then started again in the morning! Needless to say I was tired… but I was not willing to stop feeding.
The weeks flew by and by Christmas I had been back at work for 2 months and Toby was 5 months old! Now this is when things changed, as much to my surprise and upset Toby got his first two teeth – teeth he loved to bite with!
I tried every tip going and persevered… some days were ok and the night feeds easier as he was sleepy, but he just wouldn’t stop biting! I became nervous feeding and had to sit with my finger just by his mouth to stop him when I saw a nibble coming. I felt like a total failure as so many women online have said about tips that worked for them, but having tried them all and failed I got frustrated.
I was not ready to give up feeding, but felt forced into a corner, as determined as I was the pain was too much and to be honest the damage he was doing was nasty – when I saw he had drawn blood I knew enough was enough.
I found the days during this period really upsetting – one low point I will never forget was at 3 in the morning –Toby desperately trying to latch on and getting very cross by the bottle being offered – he cried and so did I!
This is where my breastfeeding experience ended, earlier than I wanted that is for sure, but I eventually made my peace with it and in all honesty I still have such a happy little boy and that is what matters! Giving up feeding is rarely talked about, the emotional journey I went on was hard, in fact I would say it was the hardest part so far but please don’t feel guilty, whenever it happens for you – whatever breastmilk your baby gets is amazing. I felt by moving on I would undo all my good work but that is not the case at all.
High five to all the breastfeeding mums I say – however you choose to do it and for however long.