During both of my pregnancies I knew that I would be going back to work at some point. For better or worse, that was the plan. Because of this I started pumping pretty much from day one. Maybe day two. I was always feed, pump, supplement or feed, pump, freeze. Always the pumping.
Of course I pumped at work as well. I was lucky in the fact that I had my own office where I could hole up and pump three times a night, but for the most part it wasn’t enough. Because of certain rules my company had in place, I was only afforded two 15-minute breaks and one 30-minute break. It would have been much better for my if I had been able to do three 20-minutes breaks, but it wasn’t an option. 15 minutes to set up, pump through 2 let-downs and clean-up and be back to work? It’s almost impossible. but, I suppose as long as I was given the option and the space to do it they don’t have to go out of their way to make it work for me.
Because of supply issues I was never able to build up any sort of stash for Judah. There were many mornings (I worked overnight) that my husband would frantically call and want to know if I could get home early because the milk was gone and Judah was going crazy. Of course I was a good little breastfeeding Mama and I didn’t dare let him have formula. It was so much better to torture him by not letting him eat! That’s sarcasm, in case you didn’t catch it. Eventually I did have to get formula because I couldn’t keep leaving work early and I was already pumping around the clock and nursing and it was never ever enough. He was like a bottomless pit.
In my experience, I really don’t know how you can sustain both breastfeeding and pumping while working. I could see exclusively pumping, because you aren’t feeding the baby and then trying to build up a stash with what is left, one or two ounces at a time. Judah could put down 8 ounces in a sitting at 3 months old. I could only pump between 2-6 ounces in a session. It just never equaled out.
Eventually I ended up staying home and although it wasn’t the only reason or even the main reason, a big reason we came to the decision was to salvage what was left of breastfeeding with Judah. I had to quit my job to make it work. In the months that followed I spent the better part of my day parked on the couch with Judah nursing and me tweeting on my Blackberry. A lot of things didn’t get done, but the most important thing was nursing Judah.
And that was enough for me.