Below is an e-mail exchange. I am attempting to become a LeLeche League Leader (LLLL). They are questioning my working and breastfeeding beliefs...how did I do? My answers are in BLUE.
I do appreciate your sentiments on this topic. Its up to you if you would like to answer the below questions. If you prefer not to, I more than understand, but then I cannot start your Application for Leadership. LLL does not have a hard and fast rule about working moms. Every situation is unique and LLL wants to know the details in order to make a fair assessment as to whether a potential Applicants meets the prerequisites for LLL Leadership.
Information about time apart from the baby
How early did separation begin (the age of your child)? 6 weeks
Were you able to provide a gradual transition from being with you to starting work? No
What was your average weekly work/travel schedule? How many hours at a time were you away from your baby? I work 35-40 hours a week. Liath is at daycare (we call it school) from 8:30-4:00 M-F....so 8.5 hours a day is 42 1/2. I drop her off and my husband picks her up. Some days are shorter, but never longer.
How flexible were those hours? Could you go to the baby or home if called or take some time off if baby had a fussy day? I am VERY fortunate to have the most flexible job I've ever had. I work for a small Law Firm in Overland Park and am a legal assistant. The job is Super felxible because the attorneys are only in the office 25 - 30 hours a week because of court and such. The other reason is that my mom is the other assistant. She is always willing to stay later or come in earlier if I need/want to have some extra time. ANY time the baby needs something, I'm in the car...it is not a question of "When can you leave?" It is always, I'll be there in 20. That being said, it has only happend once...LIath is a very healty and happy baby!
Could the baby be brought to the work site or could you take some work home? On occassion I have brought Liath to work, however this is not an ideal situation. I have brought work home, but there is nothing that is at the office that cannot wait unitl I get back or be done by someone else.
Are you currently experiencing regular separation from your child? SEE ABOVE
What is your current average weekly work/travel schedule?
How many hours are you away from your child?
How flexible are your hours? Can you go to her as needed?
If you are not currently experiencing regular separation, what age was your child when regular separation ended? This is an on-going event. M-F
Sensitivity to baby’s needs:
How have you met your baby's needs for food and comfort? Liath nurses on demand (except when I am at work). We co-sleep so she nurses throughout the night. FOOD: We are very careful to limit what she has been exposed to, however, she is a very good eater and has enjoyed learnig about food.
Was/Is there any regular reliance on bottles or formula? Liath has had NO formula! From 6 weeks to 10 months she had three 4oz bottles at school. At 10 months we slowly changed to two 4oz sippy cups.
How was it determined that your baby was ready for the amount of separation involved? Family's financial need.
How has your baby’s needs been met if they were sick? As I mentioned above, if Liath is sick, cranky or just needs extra snuggles, I take the day off.
How have you handled separation if your baby needed you? There has not been a time when she needed me, that I have not been there.
How has your baby handled the separation (both as baby and now)? Liath LOVES school! Some mornings she wakes up a bit cranky (don't we all) and when I ask if she wants to "get dressed for school?" She lights up...smiles and giggles start!
LLL Philosophy in light of your personal experiences:
What would you say to another mother experiencing a situation similar to your own, whose baby was unhappy with her absence? I would say every baby and evey mother is different. Also, different ages will change how the baby feels about this sitution also. Sometimes the choosen school is not the best. Is it possible for you and your partener to change up your schedules? Maybe if you could lessen the time away from either you or your partner, it would be less stressful to the baby. Have you ever attempted or thought about co-sleeping? I have noticed that Liath LOVES to snuggle, rather than be up with her all night wanting to snuggle and then both of us being cranky the next day, we co-sleep, she snuggles and nurses all night. We both sleep better. If this is something you are interested in learning about and/or exploring we have a great book in the library "The Family Bed."
Or a mother who worked and was concerned her baby wasn’t breastfeeding well?
The health of your baby is number 1. We know that a breastfeeding baby is best, so let's think about how to work on making nursing better. When is the baby nursing? When did you last pump? If it has been more than 2 or 3 hours since you have pumped, your nipple might be too big for the baby to get ahold of easily (especially when they are small). If this is the case, either offer the breast earlier, or hand express some milk to lower the milk level. Are you concerned because your baby is waking up more in the night? If this is the problem, maybe he/she is needing more snuggle time to help encourage longer more satisfying nursing. If the nighttime is the biggest problem, try a warm bath togehter where the baby can nurse as he/she pleases. The warm water is soothing and will help both of you relax. Remember the more stressed you become, the more your problems you will start to have with supply.