So, I'm back at work a few days a week. That's a whole other blog entry entirely which I will soon get to, but for now it does meet my three basic criteria of a job: not very hard, not very long, a good deal of money. Anja goes to her day care while I am at work and I pick her up when I am finished at about 2:00.
I'm amazingly still breastfeeding. When Anja was born, I was determined to nurse her until she was six months old then transition her to formula. She is almost ten months old now and still sucking milk out of me - thankfully, it is neither as many times a day nor for as long as she did during her early months. I figure I'll go for the gusto and go for a year. What's two more months compared to the past ten??
Anyway, it is probably pretty obvious that Anja can't suck milk out of me when I'm at work. Inherent in any extended separation from her is the need to pump before I explode and provide my surroundings with a giant milk bath. Fortunately, the clients at my new job take their 30-minute lunch break right at the time when I need to get rid of some milk.
I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume that most employers do not offer new moms a nice pumping room, complete with the LaZBoy chair and TV. I know my new employer does not. I'm not even sure the hospital I was working at before Anja was born did, but it was a hospital where a couple of lactation consultants worked so I'm sure some arrangements could have been made. I am OK with pumping in my car; as long as I have a book to read and some fresh batteries I can pump just about anywhere. But lately, it has been a little cold outside so last week I went in search of warmer surroundings.
My new job site is very small. Last week, I carried my pump into the administrative offices and explained to a receptionist that I needed a private room for about twenty minutes to pump my milk for my precious little daughter. First, she offered the private restroom. Which was nice - it had a chair (aka toilet), a table to put my book on (aka sink), as well as an electrical outlet so the pump could work a little faster. Unfortunately, I was forced to point out to her the obvious reality that someone might need to go to the bathroom while I was in there pumping away. Ohhhhhh, she said, good point. So she led me outside (in the cold and rain), around the building, to another entrance where a small lunch room is located. She explained that there was a small room off the lunch room I could use which accommodated my request for privacy. We had to take this journey twice because she forgot the key the first time. The second time we walked in the cold and the rain she stopped to talk to the administrator. Did I mention I had thirty minutes? But we finally arrived at the promised destination which turned out to be a storage closet with no chair, only a small light, and no electrical outlet.
So, I'm back in the car. I can wear a coat. If it is extremely frigid outside, I can always run the engine. I'm fascinated how something so natural can be made so difficult. This brought quite a bit of discussion on the La Leche League message boards last week. I'm proud to be a breastfeeding mom. I just hope someday that breastfeeding moms and the people who witness them will be able to overcome their embarrassment and shame and feel comfortable with the whipping out of boobies and babies simultaneously.