The Job Of Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is not the easiest thing in the world to pick up and it reminds me of starting a new job. To begin, you meet all the new people in the office including the lactation specialist, the many midwifes plus the other new Mums also starting work on the same day and trying desperately to quickly pick up the ins and outs of this new vocation.

Then, all of a sudden you are left at your desk on your own with sole responsibility of the task. Except, this task is not just learning how to input numbers into Excel. It is feeding a little live human being in the unbelievable hope of simply providing them with enough milk to let them live. 

All the other workers who have been there awhile can walk on past and give helpful handy tips but at the end of the day it is your responsibility and this is a job that only you can do.

There’s no 9-5 work hours. This is the ultimate full time job with round the clock hours and no set breaks, if any.

It is honesty one of the hardest jobs I have ever done. It is also the most rewarding, extraordinary and valuable things I have ever done. There have been low points when I wanted to give up, quit and walk out, and there have been high points when I have had the ultimate exhilaration.


Those first few weeks you need help just to fill up your water bottle or if you are really lucky, plonk a cup of tea on your desk. As time goes by, like with any new job, it gets easier. You learn a few tricks to the system, some shortcuts that suit you and the workload lessens. There is the occasional hiccup but overall you work hard and get better at the job as you go. Plus, baby gets better at it as well!

Unlike a desk job though, this is not just a job of the mind, but of the whole body. Planning and care must be taken in food and hydration to maintain output. A breastfeeding woman needs 2000 more kJ than when she is not. Plus, they really should be appropriate kJ to get the best possible milk you can produce.

Like any dietary change, a breastfeeding diet is another job in itself. Plenty of protein and good fats but also more carbs than I have ever eaten before, are necessary to sustain you and your new little life.

It’s a job that I feel blessed to be able to do and that I wouldn’t change for the world. It’s also a job that must not be underestimated. To breastfeed well and stay sane you must rest often, drink litres and litres of fluid per day and eat plenty of nutrient dense food. On top of all of this, I also find I need some breastfeeding support herbs once or twice a week to keep my supply up. Not to mention lots of love and support from a husband who is learning his own unique new job!

If you need help with final trimester, birth preparation or breastfeeding support book in to see Mel.

Melissa Gearing