Today, we're sharing #pumpinghero Jenna's full interview with Merryweather Co-Founder Lilly Schott. Jenna works as a nurse in a busy South Florida operating room. Her job is high stress and demanding, without a lot of built in time for breaks. As a new mama to Morgan Marie, Jenna balances her duties as a nurse with obligations to her baby, finding time to pump and building solidarity and understanding among her colleagues.
What's the biggest challenge you've experienced going back to work as a breastfeeding mom?
The biggest challenge I found going back to work is finding time in the middle of surgery to pump. Thankfully I work in a department that is family oriented and supportive, as there are currently 5 other babies who were born to 4 other nurses and surgical technicians in our operating room. A couple of them are EBF [exclusively breastfeeding], so I find them to be a great outlet for questions, concerns, and support.
They are more willing to give me a break and work with me without bad feelings because many of my coworkers recently have had babies or have children and understand the struggle of pumping while at work.
Is there any part of your schedule that is predictable? How do you find time to pump?
I pump on my 30 minute drive to work and 30 minute drive home, so I don't have to bother them as much at my job to get me out of the OR and pump. I also don't take any lunch or dinner breaks (I pump and eat). Basically, I don't take any extra breaks.
What do you find most rewarding about breastfeeding?
The best reward by far is the bonding relationship I have with my daughter... I don't think I'd get that any other way. there is just something about her staring into your eyes at 3am that really melts your heart.
Any other challenges you've encountered and overcome that you'd like to share?
I had a supply issue a couple of weeks ago, and I thank god for the support of friends, coworkers, and online support groups. Without them I wouldn't have known what to do to increase my supply again. I was so scared I wouldn't be able to reach my goal of one year EBF. I power pumped, made lactation shakes, and took fenugreek supplements and now I'm back to normal again. There is so much information and support for breastfeeding moms now! It's so invigorating!
Thank you, Jenna!
Editor's note: we share #pumpinghero stories on Instagram each Wednesday because we believe that the challenges and successes of each mom are opportunities for us all to learn and build support systems. Each job, story, challenge is the mother's own, so we don't editorialize it with our own views on break time or give professional advice. xx-Lilly and Tawnya