Disclosure: This post is part our series in observance of World Breastfeeding Week and is sponsored by Woman’s Hospital.
Maybe you’ve seen that breastfeeding statistic that’s been floating around social media. You know, the one states that a woman who breastfeeds for a year clocks about 1,800 hours while a full time job measures close to 1,960 hours. I’m not here to debate these numbers because for all I know, this could totally be #fakenews. What I do know, is that breastfeeding, in all its glory and splendor, is A LOT. I’m nursing my daughter as I type this. Let’s break down these “scientific” numbers.
I’ve been breastfeeding since August 2017. I did take a nine month break, (turns out, you CAN get pregnant while you’re nursing) but got right back to it. I had no idea what an undertaking this would be when I first started. When I had my first son 9 years ago, I did EVERYTHING to try to breastfeed him. He never latched and my house was covered in syringes (to feed him), nipple shields and pump parts thrown in frustration. I finally surrendered to Enfamil and Dr. Browns and was a much happier momma with a much happier baby.
Fast forward to 2017. We have a new president. Instagram filters are turning us into puppies but most importantly, I’m finally pregnant! I was completely determined to turn this breastfeeding thing around for no reason other than I knew what formula costed and I didn’t want that expense.
Expense? Cost? I had no clue that my new currency would be time. A typical 24 hours consists of:
• 6-7, 30 minute feedings
• 2-3, 20 minute pumping sessions (this will increase to 4 when school starts)
• 268,775 minutes to set up your pump, with its many parts, then washing and sanitizing said parts. Okay I’m exaggerating, but not by much. It’s about 10 minutes max.
• Also, I should honorably mention the amount of time it takes to get into a comfortable nursing position in your minivan in the Costco / Target / Trader Joe’s / Sprouts, etc. parking lot. Speaking for myself.
Outings are scheduled around pumping and feedings. At 3 a.m I’m fighting to remember how much time was spent on either side. Do I have time to squeeze in another pumping session? What time did I last eat? How much time am I going to need to pump when I go back to work? Breastfeeding is a real commitment, if only for the time.
This very long journey of breastfeeding has been met with bad latches, thrush, supply issues, reflux and tongue ties. With my middle son I supplemented with formula and that’s okay. But, currently now I have a little person who has a full tummy and sleeping on my chest. Who has little rolls on her arms and chubby cheeks, because of me!
My math tells me that a year of breastfeeding my little one will be about 1,820 hours. That doesn’t include the snuggles, smelling her hair (baby sniffing is a thing!) and love I feel from my little one. That’s worth my time.