Before her pregnancy, Janet Machulski, RN, BSN, PCCN, a Heart & Vascular nurse at Christiana Care Health System, wasn’t sure if she would breastfeed when she had her first child. She knew she would come back to her full-time job and wondered how breastfeeding would fit with her schedule. But when she became pregnant, she became more certain.

“I started feeling like a mom when I was carrying Jacob,” Machulski said. “I knew then that I wanted to try breastfeeding.”

When her baby boy was delivered, that closeness soared to a different level as the nurses immediately put Jacob into her arms.

“I had heard about skin-to-skin contact at birth, and it was the coolest thing to experience,” Machulski said. “I delivered Jacob and they put him right on my chest in the labor and delivery room. He latched onto my breast right away.”

Over the next few days, Christiana Care lactation consultants showed her how to properly position her son for breastfeeding and helped her understand Jacob’s cues, putting her at ease and giving her confidence for her return home. That support and advice continued as she navigated her first weeks and months as a new mom.

Machulski relied on the lactation consultants again as she began to prepare for the transition back to full-time work and her plan to pump milk for Jacob.

“They suggested that I try to pump around the same times that I would normally feed, Jacob. That was good advice,” she said.

Machulski had already spoken with her supervisor, Linda Lewis, RN, nurse manager, about her plan to continue breastfeeding after returning to work.

“Linda was so easygoing and assured me that it was all do-able,” said Machulski.  “I knew there was a lactation room on my floor, too, with a refrigerator to store my milk. So, I felt that pumping during my shifts would be something I could manage.”

It worked out for Machulski and Jacob — so well that she breastfed him for a full 14 months, pumping at work twice per shift, and eventually less frequently as Jacob grew older. Even with the unpredictable demands of patient care, she noted that “my supervisor and coworkers were very supportive, and it was fine.”

Jacob is now a happy, healthy little boy, full of energy and smiles. “He was born in the winter but didn’t have colds or other illnesses,” said Machulski. “We continue to have such a special bond. I think breastfeeding was a great decision, and the benefits are definitely worth it.”