Returning To Work
Sadie Wright, Queens, New York
I felt the sensation that usually would cue me to look at my baby to see if he needed feeding — my breasts filling up with milk. However, I was back at work, working a busy dinner shift, and wouldn’t be able to get off the dining room floor to express my cherished liquid gold for at least another hour.
My breasts filled up with milk and my eyes filled with tears.
Why is it that even though I knew he was getting my milk at home from his loving father, I still felt so many emotions: guilt, sadness, regret. I felt guilt that I wasn’t there if he cried and decided he didn’t want his bottle, and I wouldn’t be there to comfort him. I felt sadness because I would much prefer to be cuddled up skin-to-skin with my babe feeding him, and I felt regret that I made the commitment to come back to work. “You didn’t have to come back to work yet” enters my mind over and over again.
I’m in a dark cloakroom desperately trying to pump milk while hoping nobody comes in. I’m not fortunate to work somewhere where there’s some place half decent to express milk. But I do it by any means I can so there’s milk for him when I leave again tomorrow.
I’m coming home on the subway, so mad I missed the train and I’d have to wait another three minutes for the next train. That’s another three minutes away from him. What if he needs another feed and I’ll miss the opportunity because the bus is late? I’m so worried on my way home that irrational thoughts enter my head: “What if he forgets to latch?” “What if my milk dries up?” “What if my breastfeeding journey is cut short because I decided to go back to work?”
I get home and run up to my fourth floor walk up, drop my bags, strip my top half off, and hold him in my arms. Guess what? He didn’t forget to latch, my supply is still abundant, and our journey continues.
I look at my baby boy, and I realize that going back to work is to better our future, and everything I do is for him.
If you’re going back to work, try not to be so hard on yourself. Get the extra pumping sessions in (if possible) and cherish every single moment with your little one.
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