Friday, July 8, 2011

Thank you Max, but I didn't need help tweeting

Earthy Crunchy Mama

I had my first son over three years ago. During the nine months of pregnancy, I left my job, got married, did a semester of a masters in social work, and then decided to take the next year off from school for just me and the babe. I had my plate cleared and was ready to be a stay-at-home mom!

I’ll summarize what I learned from the first round - staying at home had the following major advantages:

  1. Lots of one-on-one time with the kiddo.
  2. Never have to hand off my adorable helpless child to a stranger at a daycare
  3. All you have to do to get an amazing milk supply is breastfeed 21 hours a day.

Major disadvantages:

  1. Lots of one-on-one time with the kiddo.
  2. Never have get to hand off my adorable helpless child to a stranger at a daycare.
  3. All you have to do to get an amazing milk supply is breastfeed 21 hours a day!!

I kid. Sort of. The truth was that while round one was amazing / wonderful / I-would-do-it-all-the-same-I-promise, I was going a little crazy without some more personal challenges and adult interaction. Babies are cool, but they don’t offer too much in the way of intellectual conversation.

Leading up to round two, I got sort of earthy crunchy - you may have heard of us ;) After a couple of years of part time grad school, I found my true calling in cloth diapers, breastfeeding, and baby carriers. Who knew.

While I was pregnant, there was a lot of thinking about what I wanted to do when Max was born. I had to decide if I wanted to make a go at starting a business now or waiting until I was settled with the kids, maybe even waiting until they were in school. My husband encouraged me to go for it, and now I’m in business -- part of the WAHM club.

“So,” you may ask, “is this WAHM thing the perfect solution?!” Well, of course you should know, there is no perfect solution; nothing in life is that simple, especially when there’s kids. Max is a year old now, and still nursing. Thinking back over the past year of nursing while working from home, two words come to mind: lucky and claustrophobia.
I have been so lucky to be able to work, while still having the breastfeeding benefits of being a stay at home mom. The greatest benefit for me has been the ability of nurse on demand and actually have the baby on the breast. Having the baby on the breast often allows the baby to get the deepest and fattiest milk, creating great demand and a great supply. Though many women pump and work out of the house, I think it would have been much more difficult to for me to have exclusively breast fed.

The other side of working from home while breastfeeding can only be described as claustrophobic, at least for me. While, I am so happy to be able to nurse my baby, there are times, I just want to work and not have a baby attached to my boob. Unfortunately, my little one doesn’t always understand that.

In the beginning, it wasn’t too bad, I could stick him in a baby carrier or use my My Breast Friend nursing pillow and write reviews, make invoices and do customer support at my computer. However, there was always a baby between me and what I needed to get done, which could be awkward, and often left me typing one handed and very slowly. Then very quickly, nursing and working wasn’t an option any more. The baby would constantly reach for my papers or computer, often erasing my hard work, or Tweeting for me. When he gets demanding about wanting to nurse, I want to rush through it, to get back to my time working, which is something I do so I can have something just for me, not mom or kid related.
I want to be able to focus on something without having a baby hanging off of me. I am often envious of parents who work out of the home and can focus only on their work. But despite it’s challenges, being able to work at home has been a wonderful experience. I know it has made me closer to my boys, and has absolutely facilitated a wonderful nursing experience.

My best advice for those in the same situation: don’t become a milk bar, but also, don’t rush the breastfeeding for work. My first time around I nursed on demand, all the time. This time, especially through baby-led weaning, I’ve been able to get the nursing down to 5 or 6 solid sessions a day by the time he’s one. When I do sit down to breastfeed with my little one, the times I feel most claustrophobic is when I spend the whole time thinking about how much I need to get back to work. It’s not always possible, but when you can, try to relax a little and use it as a break. Catch up on your TiVo, because getting frustrated isn’t going to make it go any faster, and you’ll miss out on enjoying the bonding time.

Jenn Leggett
Chief Executive Mama
Earthy Crunchy Mama

1 comment:

KarilynAley said...

this is a GREAT post!! i'm feeling a lot of this right now. haven't worked since i got pregnant, starting to get tired of being around DD all.the.time., getting annoyed with breastfeeding... the whole shebang.. i'm trying to open up my own business but i can't be away from DD overnight yet, we have no family around to help babysit, and DH's hours are such that i really have no time to work. you are definitely an inspiration!!!!!