Back to work blues

I don’t know where the time has gone. It seems like just a week ago I was pregnant and waiting anxiously for B to arrive. And now he’s here and it’s almost like he’s always been here and suddenly I’m due back at work today!

I have given myself a small reprieve in that I have accrued all my annual leave for the year and I am going back almost mid year. So I have taken just over a week of annual leave so I can postpone my return to work until 1 June. It’s a bank holiday here in England which means we have the Monday off, so I do get a “free” day to add to all that. 
And yet… it seems so not enough. 

I know in the US and elsewhere that maternity leave tends to be short. I believe it’s sometimes even as short as six weeks. I’ll have had 19 weeks, but it seems so little time. I can’t believe I initially said I’d go back after two months!

It’s a bit of a drag workwise as my boss (who I managed to chase down after several weeks) said that he doesn’t want me to go back to my previous client. But he doesn’t want me to tell them either. So it’s a bit awkward. He also said when I spoke with him a couple of weeks ago to call him back when I have two weeks to go. I do, and I have, but of course he’s on holiday. 

So instead of going to my client which is about half an hour away, he wants me to go to our base office which is about an hour away and three trains. I’m really not thrilled about this prospect as I know I’ll just be sitting in the office with nothing to do until he appears, and apparently he’ll be traveling that week anyway, but I suppose at least that means I’ll just leave early if I have nothing to do. 

That’s my boss! He’s a great guy and I totally (platonically) love him, but he’s one of those people who has very little time and then if he ever gets round to giving you his time, you just have to drop everything and give it. 

Anyway. Aside from the obvious pain I have of being separated from B, I am concerned about the whole breastfeeding thing. If you’d have said this during pregnancy I would have had a very different view. But for us, breastfeeding just works and it’s the one thing I seem able to do without much effort. After the infertility and difficulties getting pregnant, and the emergency caesarean birth, I feel it’s something I can do for him that can bring him benefit, and I want to carry on doing it as long as possible. 

I’m not anti formula per se, but I don’t want to give him formula if I don’t have to. I have a good supply of milk and I’ve been pumping around once a day for the last month and a bit, and it seems to be fine. (We switched from a rather unpleasant Tommee Tippee to the Medela Swing Maxi I bought at the Baby Show – it’s way more expensive but a much better pumping experience.)

Unfortunately, B is rather resistant to the bottle. I have friends who have the opposite problem. But of course my child would have to be different! We’ve tried a bunch of different bottles… Tommee Tippee, MAM, Nuk, even the expensive Medela Calma which is meant to mimic the nipple (whose nipple, I have no idea… a bionic person’s!). Eventually we think we have found that he will take… the Lansinoh mOmma. Although apparently only from me. T has used the MAM bottles a while and he will take about 1oz extremely begrudgingly. Either way it’s about 1oz at a time. (Update: Yesterday he took 2.5oz and looked at me expectantly as if to say, “Where’s the rest?!” So I had to breastfeed him! Maybe we’ve turned a corner?)

So last week I left B for the first ever time! Well I’ve left him before for a short time like to walk to the local shop or walk Dog, but not for an extended period. I am due back to work at the beginning of June so I am in dire need of a back to work wardrobe. My pre pregnancy stuff doesn’t exactly lend itself to breastfeeding or expressing, as I tend to wear higher cut dresses (and I sure as s*** am not going to sit around pumping in my underwear!

My mother very kindly gave me some money when we were on holiday, which was to put towards some new clothes and a haircut. It was so nice of her! Think she realised I was feeling a bit unconfident when I had a mini meltdown about what to wear to the family do we went to. 

I think when I first gave birth I sort of lost most of the pregnancy weight. 

And then… the brunger!!

Omg. The breastfeeding hunger is something else. Turns out I’m not one of those people who wastes away to nothing and I just want to eat all the time! Luckily breastfeeding also burns calories! But it’s not really my usual amount of eating. I’m a bit of a pig lately. Also I confess that during pregnancy I really didn’t worry about diet, although I also felt fuller quicker because B took up so much room. 

So the upshot of it is that I’m about a size larger than my pre pregnancy dress size. And that is two sizes larger than my fighting weight before IVF round 1 took its toll on me! And not to mention the boobs! Seriously they’re out of control. My usual size is 32C. I’ve been wearing 36DD and it’s not really the right size but I couldn’t really bear for my breasts to be touched during pregnancy and I’ve been wearing stretchy nursing bras anyway because they’re more comfortable for the Amazing Humungaboobs™ and their waxing and waning. 

Anyway I measured myself according to Boob or Bust (a nursing / bra measuring website) and it turns out I’m currently a 32H! OMG, WTF, etc! So obviously that necessitates different clothes as well, because a lot of nursing clothes are a bit low cut and quite frankly nobody wants my Humungaboobs™ in their face (least of all at work!). 

So I spent a day clothes shopping at the big shopping centre. T was texting me updates with pictures of B looking remarkably happy without his mother! I kind of didn’t know what to do with myself, but it was worth doing as it’s pretty difficult to try on clothes whilst babywearing (which we seem to do most of the time) and I’m the kind of person who likes to try on clothes on my own without an opinion! (Probably accounts for my dreadful dress sense!)

I’d already got some stuff from Mamalicious which I wore a lot during pregnancy, so that covered off nursing dresses. Also a couple of bits in the sale from Dorothy Perkins and New Look. (These are all fairly low end high street shops.) I’m really not a person who buys very expensive clothes often. I wish I could be one of those classic dressers but I’m not! Although I do seem to have a uniform of mainly black… On maternity leave I’ve mainly lived in jeans and JoJo Maman Bébé Breton feeding tops. Clearly not suitable for work!

Anyway, here are some headless pics to demonstrate some of my purchases. I was quite proud of myself!

Feeding vest top from B Shirt. Light jacket from New Look. Skinny jeans from Marks & Spencer. Flat shoes from New Look. 

Feeding vest top from B Shirt. Jacket from New Look. Skinny jeans from Marks & Spencer. Court shoes from New Look. 


Feeding vest top from B Shirt. Midi skirt from H&M. Jacket from Top Shop. Shoes from New Look. 

I was pretty pleased with my haul. (Most of the pics were taken in New Look changing room so didn’t show all my stuff from H&M!) I also got some shirts which are good for a casual look. I’ve been living in stripy Breton feeding tops from JoJo Maman Bébé which are great for casual but not for work, so it’s good to have something a bit smarter. 

I mentioned I got a ridiculously expensive breast pump bag from Sarah Wells which is an American brand. I looked everywhere for some kind of multipurpose bag but it doesn’t so much exist round here because people tend to take maternity leave until the baby has been weaned. Also the UK has a really low rate of breastfeeding so mums who go back to work tend to move to formula if they haven’t weaned. Unfortunately I was hit with a gigantic customs charge which added insult to injury! However I’m fairly happy with the bag. Just as well! I have used it for my shopping trip and it’s massive, but I haven’t tricked it out for pumping yet. 

Anyway, I took some pics for interest…


Sarah Wells pumping bag, “Kelly”. 


Rucksack straps or handbag straps can be tucked away / pulled out as desired. The handbag straps are long enough to put it over your shoulder and carry it that way. Which is a good deal as it’s a big bag!

 

Pump compartment which is insulated and water resistant so you can store your pump and your pumped milk with ice blocks. There is a photo pocket where you can add a pic of your baby to aid expressing (oxytocin!). My Medela Swing Maxi double pump fits in there easily.  


Top view. You can easily fit a laptop in the laptop pocket. Also room for shoes, lunch, and loads of other paraphernalia. 

So I’m pleased with it all! I feel like I’m sort of physically prepared for work. Just not mentally. 

The other day I went to a breastfeeding and working coffee morning run by La Leche League. It was themed around going back to work so obviously I was interested. Anyway I’m completely mortified because when I introduced myself and started talking about going back to work, I cried! Wow. I’m so not a crier. It turns out that B has turned me into waterworks central! Everyone was really nice about it and I wasn’t the only one to get emotional but still! Shocking!

It was great to meet other members of “the breastapo”. I had had no intention of joining LLL but actually have found the fb group really helpful with tips on breastfeeding, and the book (tongue in cheek named The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding) is really helpful and full of tips including on going back to work. 

I can’t believe my time with B is coming to an end. It’s not to say I won’t see him, but it will be different. He’s going to stay at home with T (his dad) for a while and then go to nursery a few weeks later. So we will be working parents. It just feels so soon to go back. I’m sure I will cry my eyes out when it happens. 

I have built up quite a stash of frozen milk. Hopefully we will not have a defrosting disaster like we did a while ago! It’s more for backup as my intention is to pump for him the day before. So if I pump at work I’ll just give the nursery that milk the following day. The freezer stash is more just in case. 


I do feel proud that after everything that happened with how difficult it was to have B, this is one thing my body seems to be doing right. 

Other than that we have been concentrating on making these last few weeks really awesome for baby B. He is growing up so fast! He can now roll, which first happened two weeks ago when we were on holiday, but was more of a sort of accidental roll than a purposeful one. Today (18 weeks+1) he did both types of roll (front to back and back to front) in a really purposeful way. 

He’s also gotten kind of sick of being in his rocker. I guess we didn’t really get the full money’s worth out of that but I’m planning to give it to my sister as they can use it as soon as my niece is born, so they’ll get longer to use it. My brother gave us a Baby Bjorn bouncer they were getting rid of, which is okay to put him in if you need a minute to go to the loo or something. Now he can roll, it’s not safe to leave him on the sofa!

So this weekend we took him swimming and picked up a present for him… a jumperoo! I think it pretty much was the best day of B’s life so far! He loved it!


If you’d have told me this was the kind of thing I’d be getting excited about, I wouldn’t have believed you. It’s the most tacky piece of tat! And yet he absolutely loves it. If you can imagine a tiny little dude sitting in the middle of it, playing with the bits and making tinny music come out of it whilst giggling with glee – that’s B!

I don’t think I could love him more. 

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26 comments

  1. Courtney

    Going back to work is HARD. I drove out to nurse Matthew every day over lunch while he was in daycare, and I cried every single time. I lasted 7 weeks before quitting.

    You look great!

    The Lansinoh mOmma was the only bottle Bryson would take too!!! As I started reading your post, I was going to suggest it. Ha!

    Good luck. Hang in there. Sending love!!;!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      Thank you! I should have asked you! B will take the mOmma but under sufferance. Can’t believe you drove every day to nurse Matthew. That must have been so hard! I can’t get back during lunch hour as my commute they want me to do to our office is over an hour! 😭 But my boss wants me to work from home some of the time, so we shall see! Thanks so much for the support!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. RJ

    Good luck going back to work! It’s super hard but you’ll get in the swing of things. I also find that while pumping sucks, it’s actually not as bad as I thought it would be. Good luck with the bottles, sounds like you’re making progress!

    Like

    • Nara

      Thank you! I am sure it will happen eventually… It just seems a bit weird to think of going back after so long (and conversely, so short) a time off!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. My Perfect Breakdown

    First, the outfits are aweome!
    Second, going back to work is soo hard! It does get easier with time. At least it did for me.
    Also, given its taken me a few months to do a daycare drop off on my own, I cannot give advice on how to make that transition less hard.

    Like

    • Nara

      Thank you! I am glad to hear it gets better with time. I bet I won’t want to do the drop off either. I need to go back and reread your blogs about it!

      Like

  4. Dani

    Booooo to going back to work 😩 I reckon B will get used to the bottle thing he sounds like he has been on the same journey as Aviana did and will always still prefer the boob over bottle. But to be sure he returns to the boob did you talk about ‘pace feeding’ at the LLL meeting?
    You look great BTW! Love that jacket 😍 my boobs are no way close to being as big as yours and yet I still had problems with finding clothes that fit properly so I feel your struggle!!!
    The Sarah wells bag is cute! I’ve been meaning to write a post on my copycat bag for a while now! It’s good but I hate the huge chunky zips! Yours looks v practical but v cool!!! Literally 😂
    P.s. Great stash!!! You’re doing great, you’ve got this! ☺️

    Like

    • Nara

      No, didn’t talk about pace feeding. What’s that? We did talk about reverse cycle and I think he’s automatically doing that more or less. Like he only snacks during the day and feeds mainly at night so hopefully he will get used to that.
      There is definitely too much boobage going on! Can’t wait for it to calm down, although I think I might turn into one of those extended bf people so it might take a while! 😂
      I am not sure the Sarah Wells bag was worth the money… I mean I’m happy with it but it worked out too much with customs. 😂 The pumparoo is definitely worth a look though. It’s not expensive in the US! 😂 Now I just need to stop buying expensive slings and I’ll be done! 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. sbach1222

    Good luck going back to work. Once I actually went back, it was much easier than I thought!

    And OMG on the food!!! I eat eat eat like a food dumpster!!

    Like

    • Nara

      Thank you. I’ve had a brief reprieve as my boss wants me to “work from home” until next Tuesday. So I have a few more days at home!

      And you have the brunger too! 😂😂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Nora

    Hope the start of work will be easy on you. Perhaps you will enjoy the change of scene even though we’d all prefer the opportunity to stay with baby as long as we want? I’ll be in the same boat soon.
    What are breastfeeding tips for going to work?

    Like

    • Nara

      Thank you. Yes I’d much rather stay at home! But sadly have to go back. I have a few bf tips but nothing too special… I have been pumping once a day to build up a stash of frozen milk, and then I will pump during the day at work for the next day’s fresh milk (just refrigerated not frozen). Where are you based? I can give UK tips, e.g. Boots own brand milk storage bags are the best! And easy access clothing is a must! If you’re in the UK, message me and I can give you a link for money off a B shirt (feeding too). X

      Like

    • Nara

      Aww thank you! That’s really sweet of you to say. Thankfully I get to go back a few days later as my boss says not to bother going in until we meet on Tuesday!

      Like

  7. Karasone

    Good luck going back to work! I was just talking to someone about how her work in US gives 6 months and we both remarked that it is a great amount of time-for our country! But its awful that a year is not the norm everywhere. I only get about 12 weeks at half-pay and another month unpaid at my current job but we are working on changing that.

    Like

    • Nara

      Thank you! Yeah 6 months is a lot for the US but not a lot for the UK. My sister is pregnant and intending on taking 18 months!!! I’m so jealous! Sorry you only get 12 weeks paid. I get statutory from the government but it’s hardly anything. I guess that means you’ll have a similar time off to me – it’s hard going back at that time, but I’m glad I’ve at least had that.

      Like

  8. MadisonMichelle

    Great haul!! Super cute outfits. & I know exactly what you mean.. I’ve extended my leave twice! Back after 12 weeks? Yea ok! Lol Who did I think I was? lol I hope your day was as smooth as could be! Also, look into Mimbi bottles. I remember bringing the teets and bottles just incase I had issues breastfeeding at the hospital. I didn’t mind if she was formula fed if she needed to be but I eventually wanted to breastfeed… needed a bottle with the promise of no nipple confusion. Perfect match! Was able to feed straight from the Boobie or if I pumped liquid gold in Mimbi bottles… it was super important make sure she could switch back and forth between boob and bottle… esp if I was due back at work… check it out

    Like

    • Nara

      Thank you! Yeah I bet you have! I totally wouldn’t want to go back after 12 weeks. It seems so odd that people are expected to go back so soon, and I include fathers in that too. I’m lucky that T has been off with me – it means we’ve really bonded as a family. I heard about Minbie. He’s able to take Lansinoh MOmma just about so I’m loathe to introduce another! Haha. But if he stops taking those I’ll definitely try it!

      Like

  9. EmilyMaine

    Oh BeeGee loved those jumping things too. I got one secondhand and the sold it in again which was good as she loved it for a short period of time and then went off it completely. Seems to be her personality though lol

    You look fab in those return to work outfits. So nice of your mum to give you that money. Gorgeous. Bummer you don’t get to go back to the old client. I hope the transition is smooth for you. Sending you supportive hugs for the big day x

    Like

    • Nara

      Haha yeah. At the moment he hasn’t even tried to bounce yet as he’s quite little for it still (even though he’s a total chunk!). I’ll definitely sell it on if he gets sick of it. Because we are in London it’s quite easy to sell stuff on.

      Yeah my mum was so nice! Thank you for saying that. Still feeling self conscious about the weight, but also I’m in a half “I don’t care” mindset as well, because I have B!

      I don’t mind not going back to the old client! But I do mind having to travel more – it’s about twice the distance so not a welcome commute! The good news is my boss wants me to work from home a few days so I don’t have to go in until Tuesday. A slight reprieve! Hopefully I’ll get another client closer to home!

      Liked by 1 person

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