This post is part of the Second Annual Breastfeeding Blog Hop! Please visit the other participating blogs for more perspectives on breastfeeding. Links are provided at the bottom of my post.
I’m a wearer of many hats: mom, wife, daughter, writer, business woman, and employee for starters. My passion outside of writing, is maternal and child health – which I am fortunate to do in my day job, my other-other life.
Balancing the various aspects of my life has always been a struggle. I can excel at one or two at a time, while the rest flounder in mediocrity. That’s probably why my first book, Burned, took soooooo long to publish. Six years to be exact. It survived repeated returns to the shelf-of-lost-things, through the birth of two babies, two jobs, and a degree.
After the birth of my youngest (now two years old) I decided to dust off the pieces and parts and get serious about publishing. I stumbled upon the indie world by accident and have gone full-force since.
But I discovered balancing three kids, a career that I love, and one that was just beginning was hard. Duh, right?
As a public health professional, especially one that works in breastfeeding support and advocacy, it was a no-brainer that I’d breastfeed. I’d struggled with my first, overcame obsticals with my second, and figured – I’m superwoman I can totally breastfeed my third while writing, getting a business off the ground, working, and managing a household.
Insert maniacal laughter here.
You know what? I did it. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t easy. There were tears and nights where I would have sold one of them to the gypsies for a full night’s sleep (just kidding….pretty much). I had one thing that is essential: support.
My workplace is breastfeeding friendly. Not only do we support moms who pump, but we encourage moms to bring their breastfeeding babies to work until they are six months. Shocked? It’s more common than you think. That’s part of what I do at my job: I help businesses and organizations make accommodations for their breastfeeding employees. Breastfeeding support in the workplace was actually my final project for my Master’s degree.
I had supportive friends. I knew who to turn for when I needed help, where the free breastfeeding support could be found. When I had questions or was near the end of my rope, I knew who to talk me down from the ledge.
I am married to superdad. Seriously. My hubs is awesome. Once we learned the health benefits – for both me and my kids – and the huge impact breastfeeding has on the environment and our wallets, there was no question. He’s juggled the things I’ve dropped, changed a million diapers, and steered other struggling parents toward the same free resources we used for help.
So where does writing come in?
While I was writing, revising, formatting, and finally – finally! – publishing Burned I was breastfeeding. Sometimes I’d be nursing in a chair and jotting down notes or corrections on a slip of paper, sometimes it was typing with one hand on my phone. Other times I’d be nursing in a sling (babywearing is the BEST way to multitask!) while typing or formatting.
I found a way to fit both into my life. Being the best mom I can be is my priority, it’s the most important thing in the world to me. Life isn’t an either/or. It’s all about finding ways, creative ways, to balance. But we don’t have to do it alone. There are people out there that can help cheer you on, troubleshoot ideas with you, and sometimes provide that nugget of advice that is life-altering.
Whether it’s help from a breastfeeding counselor (many are free!), another mom at a group meetup, or a support page on Facebook, don’t be afraid to reach out, to say I need help.
You’d be surprised what you’ll find. I found my tribe. My glorious, widely varied, mom tribe. Sure I don’t get out much (see the aforementioned crazy-busy schedule) but I know they are just a Facebook message away.
Disclaimer: In addition to all the multi-tasking while breastfeeding there were tons of times I just cuddled my wee baby and enjoyed the moment. Thankfully, because those moments have now passed. This post is just to help other moms know that it is possible to breastfeed AND work. You just need the right tools.
If you are searching for resources for breastfeeding and working might I suggest here and here. If you would like free breastfeeding resources in your community, check out your local Healthy Start or WIC, or see if yours has a breastfeeding task-force, committee, or coalition to steer you in the right direction.
I’d love to hear your story! Feel free to share in the comments.
This blog was written as part of the Second Annual Breastfeeding Blog Hop in celebration of National Breastfeeding Month. Please visit other blogs in the hop for more fabulousness.