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Making It Work: An Opportunity To Bring My Child To My Workplace

Angie nursing her baby at her deskAngie Cantrell is the Director of Community Engagement at a nonprofit breastfeeding center in Omaha, Nebraska. Angie and her husband, Jesse, have four children. Angie spoke with New Beginnings several months ago about having the opportunity to bring her youngest child to work with her.

Please describe your work. ​I am the Director of Community Engagement in Omaha, Nebraska, at a nonprofit breastfeeding center serving southeast Nebraska and southwestern Iowa. I work with other community organizations to better meet the needs of our communities, manage the day to day facilities and people, and public facing marketing materials.

Did you always plan to have your children come to work with you? What prompted this idea? ​I didn’t always plan for my children to come with me. Prior to my employment here, I worked in the restaurant industry and didn’t have the option to bring my oldest two with me.

How did this opportunity come about? ​The idea came up when I was pregnant with my third. The then Omaha Director asked if it was something I was interested in doing. Of course, I was so excited at the prospect! We worked out a general plan and guidelines and I was able to bring my third child with me for the first six months.

Angie working at her laptop, sitting, while holding her sleeping babyWhat accommodations has your employer made for you regarding bringing your children to work? ​For my third baby, I worked part time and brought a ring sling with me. I really didn’t need anything else. Now with my full-time position and fourth baby, I have a private office. I am able to keep a bouncy seat, baby carriers, and play mat for him to use while I work.

Describe your workday with your youngest child in the office with you. ​In my full-time role, I spend a lot of time on the computer. It works out just fine for me to nurse him in a ring sling or propped on a pillow while I work on my computer. When he’s not sleeping/nursing, he hangs out on his playmat or in his bouncy seat. My coworkers will help hold him occasionally, which is lovely.

Angie wearing her baby in a carrier at workPlease share how being able to bring your children to work has benefited your breastfeeding relationship. ​Even being my fourth breastfed baby, he has been the most difficult to breastfeed. We needed lots of support in the early weeks. Not allowing any interruption in baby to breast made it easier for us to work out the kinks in our relationship.

It’s been amazing being able to bring both my children to work with me. While it was a little harder in my full-time role, I’m able to meet all his needs while still completing my duties. I was able to return to work sooner – a financial benefit for my family – but don’t feel like I missed out on any bonding time. I am lucky enough to wear both my motherhood hat and my professional hat at the same time.

Update: Warren is now nine months old and attends a daycare center full time. I pump while we are separated. I frequently nurse him at daycare drop off, both so I can start my workday totally empty but to also expose myself to the environment he spends 35 hours a week in. He did initially reverse cycle (nurse more overnight) the first few weeks of daycare but is now back to waking two or so times a night to nurse or just to check in.

Editor’s Note: Thank you, Angie, for sharing such an encouraging story. We recognize that not all parents have this opportunity to combine work and breastfeeding. We hope to feature a variety of work experiences on New Beginnings and would love to hear from you. How do you combine work, childcare, and breastfeeding? Contact Amy at [email protected] if you are interested in sharing your story.

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