Adri is March’s mom of the month and I’m extremely excited to introduce y’all to her! She’s an incredible person, mother, and friend. I hope that you take away some of the tips she gives 🙂
1 Tell me about yourself
My name is Adri. I am a first time mama to a 20 month old baby girl named Remi, wifey, a former teacher of 5 years (2 & 3 grade) and amateur blogger. I left the teaching profession at the end of the 2018-2019 school year to stay home with Remi.
2. Tell me about your journey into breastfeeding… Did you always have plans to breastfeed? What were your initial thoughts?
Breastfeeding was an unconscious decision for me. There was never a question to me about whether I wanted to embark on this journey. I knew it was my preference and was optimistic about making it work by any means. After sharing my desire to breastfeed, I signed my husband and I up for an introductory class at our local hospital, where we would later be induced.
3. You were previously a teacher and you managed to feasibly pump at work. Can you tell me more about how you made pumping at work look so effortless?
Goodness, it felt anything but effortless! So, thank you. In all honesty, I was only successful because I put motherhood first. I think it’s easy to worry about balancing your roles, but for me I was determined to make the role of “milk machine” work! Upon arriving back at my job, I made it clear to everyone what I would be doing & how often. It wasn’t always easy, leaving a room full of 20+ students isn’t ideal, but with the help of another nursing mama (our schools librarian) I made it work, often by toting my entire class with me to work or read in the library while I pumped in the library’s book closet, yes a closet!
4. In terms of pumping at work, what were your biggest obstacles??
The biggest obstacle was public perception. While I am an individual who does not put weight in other people’s opinions, it was still hard to feel and even be told that others thought I was no longer committed to the job. No one on my team had ever pumped milk for their children, they couldn’t relate. Sometimes it seemed like an inconvenience to them, whether they’d admit that or not. I had someone tell me I would need to exhaust all other sources before asking her to help cover my class if I needed to pump, because she was busy teaching hers. It was disheartening to feel like I was viewed as doing less for my students because I occasionally had to exit.
5. What are the easier parts of your journey?
Breastfeeding is hard, so it’s not often I think about what is easy about it. I still am nursing and some days it seems harder now than when she was a newborn! However, the convenience is the easiest part. If baby is hungry and there is nothing quick to grab or that she wants, I can help! Same as when she was little, there is no wait time with nursing, no extras to tote around, I love that. In regards to pumping, when I started looking at it like a luxury, not just because I know some women have extreme difficulties pumping, such as responding to their machine, it got easier. I began looking at it as “me time”- 15 or so minutes of quiet. I would read on my phone, draft a blog post in my notes, or (more often than not) look at pictures of Rem. I stopped looking at it as a chore and made it more positive.
6. Breastfeeding can be hard sometimes (those first days, clusterfeeding, engorgement, teething, etc.), what helps you get through the hard times?
Omg, yes! I have had to deal with all of these things in addition to mastitis and more than a handful of bites resulting in open wounds. These are things that make people want to quit and I don’t blame them. I think you do what works for you for as long as it works and that’s that. For me, I got through it because I placed this part of motherhood as a priority. I couldn’t imagine looking back and saying I stopped because I was in pain, not when I saw how much benefit it provided my daughter. Sheer willpower is what got me through.
7 What tips do you have for other moms? Tips for other moms going back to work?
Other than trying to shift your mindset from pumping being a chore, there are two things: never quit on a bad day and don’t expect anyone to make it work other than yourself! The first, because it isn’t easy, but it is possible. Don’t beat yourself up over the little things, look at the bigger picture- if that bigger picture isn’t worth it though, then cool, you tried. In regards to the second, your regular job is going to be a challenge in itself and people have their own agendas. At the end of the day, you are the one making the milk and it’s your job to make the time to pump. If there are some nice individuals who make this task easier, great, but don’t count on it.
8 Even though products aren’t always a breastfeeding necessity, what breastfeeding marketed items helped aid to your success? (affiliate links listed below)
I don’t think much is needed other than a few basics like breast pads for leakage, a lanolin cream for sore, cracked, bitten, dried out nipples, and some good freezer bags for storage. My favorites were the Up & Up brand by Target. However, if you do decide to get a “product” I recommend the Brest Friend Pillow! It seriously was a life saver in those beginning months of nursing.
9 You are currently breastfeeding your little one! Congrats! What are your thoughts and feelings on extended breastfeeding and have you had any obstacles this far along?
At the beginning of our journey I said I wanted to self-wean and so far I am sticking to that. I will admit, there is a big part of me that wants my body back for me and I guess that’s an obstacle I didn’t foresee. The other is the dependence. I know that remi doesn’t need her “milky” for diet purposes per say, but she does as a means to reconnect. If we have been out and about, no doubt she will ask to nurse as soon as she is in her car seat. It’s as if she needs to have her time with just me. It is both very sweet and heartwarming, but also inconvenient and often uncomfortable, leaning over a big car seat is no fun!! For now though, we are both content and I know I’ll miss this, so I’m holding strong!
10 Anything else you want to say? Any parting words for the Milk Manual readers?
First off, thanks so much for speaking with me. I absolutely love sharing my journey in hopes that it encourages others to give breastfeeding a shot. But, also I want to say that, while I share my breastfeeding journey and am an advocate for nursing, I also understand that not everyone has the same experiences and that is okay! Breastfeeding moms get a lot of crap too, much of which is in regards to thinking they are shaming non-nursing mothers. There is always going to be a hater somewhere, but don’t let them get you down. So, whatever experience you have or decide on, just make sure it’s one that is best for you. Like they say “if mama ain’t happy, nobody is happy”
11 What are the social media channels or website where we can find you and follow along?