Before I had Oakley, everyone would always ask me, “are you going to breastfeed?” I would always say, “I hope so.” I had heard about people that wanted to breastfeed but couldn’t and I really hoped that wouldn’t happen to me. I knew how beneficial breastfeeding was, plus I didn’t want to pay for formula. I will admit I didn’t think I would enjoy breastfeeding as much as I do because I was always awkward around people that were breastfeeding, especially in public. Kind of like the same feeling you get when someone is trying to talk to you through bathroom stalls. Anyways, now that I’ve done it, I realize the bonding that comes from it and I love it. Butttt, it’s really hard once you go back to work.
The first thing I have to say is it is so much easier and less of a hassle. In the middle of the night, it sure does beat defrosting milk, putting it in a bottle, and then warming it up. Plus, it’s way cheaper than a $30 container of formula. Although I don’t see anything wrong with supplementing with formula here and there or during the first three days before your milk comes in and you’re dealing with a hangry baby.
Luckily, Oakley didn’t have any problem and neither did I. However, I had heard stories about it being hard to maintain your supply once you go back to work so as that day approached I was so worried about my milk supply decreasing. The first two days I was able to pump but not as much as I usually did. I realized I was so busy getting back into the swing of things I barely ate those first two days. The next couple of days I made it a point to make sure I was eating when I was hungry. Eat when you’re hungry, breastfeeding burns a ton of calories. Make time to eat!
I’ve read all about increasing my milk supply and have tried a couple of things that didn’t seem too “off the wall” to me. One thing I read about was sweet potatoes. So, I ate sweet potatoes for lunch every day for a week and sure enough, my milk supply had increased.
I’ve also tried drinking Mother’s Milk tea, which I think helps as well. I like to drink it hot and plain or with a little sugar or honey. It’s good any way you fix it. It has fennel in it, which my friend that’s into essential oils gave me some fennel oil to rub on the bottom of my feet to increase my milk. That helped too!
Breastmilk is 80% water, so it’s really important to stay hydrated and drink a lot of water just like while you were pregnant. I have a HydroFlask and I like to use that because it keeps my water cold on a warm day. I just keep pouring my water bottles into it and it helps me to drink a ton of water.
Pumping at work isn’t easy and there are plenty of days when I only pump once instead of twice or maybe don’t pump at all if we got on a field trip or something. I try to pump during my prep period and during lunch. Special Education just like any teaching job is a 110% go go go type of job, and it’s really hard to give up my prep period to pump because there is always something I could be doing. So, I try to remind myself how important it is to me to be able to breastfeed and realize whatever is on my to-do list can wait.