Friday, March 14, 2014

7 Quick Takes, Vol. 55: Breastfeeding, Lactation Challenges, Work, and More


This week was my first week back at work. I can't say that I was looking forward to it, but it went better than I thought it would. I got back into the swing of things pretty quickly, even attending one meeting and providing an update on my unit's work from the last month. I took some time this week to ignore the administrative part of my job (mostly) and just focus on my main work, the day-to-day stuff that always gets overshadowed by the administrative stuff. It felt good to do those things and this was the perfect week for it.

My suggestion to anyone in a similar boat, when you return to work after a leave, especially a maternity leave, focus first on the part of your job that you love, the part that made you want to do this type of work in the first place. The other stuff can wait. Remember what it is you like about your job and then, once that is back under your fingers like old times, add in the must-do, not-so-fun things. You're welcome.


One of the challenges going back to work is how to deal with breastfeeding. I didn't have this challenge after the boys were born, so this is all new territory for me. I was worried the baby wouldn't take well to a bottle (because I was slack in taking the advise on how to introduce a bottle starting at 6 weeks) and I was worried about how I was going to have milk for him on my first day back. But it all has worked out. He's apparently taking a bottle fine and I had enough frozen milk for him for his first day. It was just so hard knowing how much to bring. I can't measure what he drinks from me, so how was I supposed to know what he would need? I brought 4 bags of frozen milk that first day and he drank three of them. I believe there were roughly 2-3 ounces in each bag. I had to throw one bag away. That was sad.


Silas and I have a good schedule though. I feed him first thing in the morning, then I go about getting myself and all our stuff ready for the day, eat breakfast, pack up the car, and then we all head to day care. Once the twins are settled in their room, I then feed Silas in his room before I leave. This has been great to be able to do!! It means that he really only needs two feedings while I'm gone. By the time I pick them all up, I usually take them home and feed Silas as soon as we get there. Thursday was the only day that I ended up feeding him partially at school before we headed home. Otherwise this seems to be working well.


Pumping at work is interesting. First of all, I do not have a private office. I have a cubicle that sits near the entrance of a heavily used study room and the entrance to a special temperature controlled room for rare or special collections in my library. Inside that room there is actually another door into a professor's office and instead of using the outside door into his office, he uses the Closed Stacks entrance and brings people through the staff area of the library when they come to see him. So, despite my desk being in a back corner where almost no one can see me, it's actually a fairly high traffic area.

All that to say, there is no way I can pump at my desk. I found that the university has four lactation rooms on campus, three on the medical side of campus and one on north campus (where I am). The one in my area is three buildings away. It's not like it's a long walk, but it's not the most convenient spot for me either.
I'm located in the building on the lower part of this map.
The Lactation Room is in the Office Tower on the upper part of the map.
Before I came back to work, I contacted the person who coordinates that room. There are a few people who use it so we had to work out times. I was guessing because I honestly didn't know when I would need to pump. I originally scheduled three slots in that room. At the same time, I asked about any open space in my building, but did not expect an option to be available. Well, much to my surprise something did come up.


I was so excited to have a place to pump right in my building. It was up on the third floor where another college is located, but they were very gracious in letting me use the space. And it worked beautifully. Until Wednesday. :(

Wednesday I got word that they needed the office I was using for a new faculty member. I could use the room through the end of the week, but they needed it back starting next week. 

Lucky for me, when I had cancelled my scheduled times in the room that was a short walk away, I told the person who coordinates it that if anything changed I would let her know. I just didn't expect to have to contact her so soon.


Even so, she must think I'm the biggest flake! I emailed her Wednesday afternoon, told her I needed times there again, and asked if I could come see where the room was so I wouldn't be searching for it on Monday. We worked out a schedule again and set up a time for me to meet her on Thursday. Thursday afternoon around 3:00 pm I suddenly remembered that I was supposed to meet her at 1:30 pm. ::sigh::

She was very nice about it though. I just feel like an idiot. Scheduling to use the room, cancelling that, asking to use it again, asking to come see it, forgetting to actually go. Like I said, she probably thinks I'm a flake. I'm almost embarrassed to run into her.


I think I have a good rhythm down though. Silas eats around 6 am in bed with me. Then around 8:30 am at the day care and then we part ways. I pump around noon and 3 pm and then pick him up around 5 or 5:30. Depending on when he's eaten last, he either eats then before we leave or I take him home and feed him once we get there. So far it's working out well and having two pumping sessions a day instead of three (which is what I originally thought I would need) is going to work well, especially for the various morning meetings I have.

This week has been interesting. I've learned a lot: like that I can get up before 6 am consistently and still function all day. That's been a big surprise! And Silas definitely breastfeeds much more than he eats from a bottle and that will ultimately be best for him, my milk supply, and delaying the return of fertility (hopefully).

There you have it, another Quick Takes post from the slacker blogger. Have a great weekend!! And check out Conversion Diary for more Quick Takes.


  1. Hi Kerri,
    I just found your blog about a month ago and started reading it because we have so much in common. Congratulations on the new baby. Mom's of twins are my heroes and balancing that with a new baby and a job (and a blog) makes you amazing in my book. I look forward to reading more!

    1. Thanks for the comment, Lynda. And thanks for reading along. Love seeing that people are finding me and enjoying my posts. Hope you'll stick around. :)