Thursday, August 7, 2008

Support


It's actually the last day of World Breastfeeding Week, but I wanted to post something about it anyway. This year's theme calls for supporting the mother in giving her child the best nutrition. I've heard breastmilk called 'liquid gold' before, and it is.

Two of the big supports I have had in being able to continue breastfeeding my son were the St. Luke's Hospital Milk Bank while he was in the NICU and the policies of my work. When Little Bit had to stay in the NICU for two weeks, I was able to use the hospital grade breast pumps at the Milk Bank, just down the hallway from the NICU. I also rented a hospital grade pump from them to have at home. Encouragement and information helped me to continue pumping every 3 hours, even when I got out so little milk. I was tired and worried, but providing Little Bit with what only I could give him was important to me. The walls of the pump room had pictures of success stories -- pictures of little ones in that NICU and then months later as happy, healthy toddlers. The antibodies and nutrition of breastmilk are so important, especially when a baby needs the extra care of the NICU. I was able to keep my supply going, and Little Bit was fed my milk along with supplementation when he was able to eat again.

Once I returned to work, I had the use of a dedicated breastfeeding mother's room. There is a mother's room at all locations of my company. This program came about due to the hard work of other women before me, including a coworker who had to pump in the restroom a few years before. She (and other women) protested having to basically prepare her baby's lunch in the restroom. Yuck. Once when I was at a meeting at another site, I had to pump in the ladies' room. I had to balance on the toilet with a pump and supplies, trying desperately not to let any of it touch the walls around me...if that was my only way to pump, I just don't know if I could have kept up with it. A clean, quiet room with a lockable door, a table, a chair, and an outlet is a much better option.

3 comments:

shuttle mom/belinda said...

I remember all too well having to pump in the bathroom at work. I did this with my first two children, after the 3rd I became a stay home Mom.
Then the pumps had bulbs connected to a bottle and was done manually. There was only one stall in our bathroom and I would have to do this at the sink area in full view of who ever came through. Our snack bar was kind enough to let me use their fridge to store my milk each day. Needless to say I was the butt of many many jokes, especially working in a male dominated business.
I'm glad to hear some work places are providing "Mother's Rooms" especially now that it takes 2 incomes to raise a family!

TxGambit said...

I wish I could have breastfed my children. It is probably my biggest regret as a mom, but I know it wasn't all my fault. I also didn't know or have the resources that moms seem to have now: The Internet and the seemingly neverending support from other moms.

Avonlea said...

My mom told me that when she had my brother and later me, there was never any question -- the docs just gave her pills to dry up her milk, and she used formula.