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returning to work and pumping, stressed! advice?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hi moms! Im in need of a little direction here. My dd is 13 weeks old and ebf and i return to work in 2.5 weeks. Im desperately trying to figure out how to feed her while im away.

My typical work day is about 10 to 6 and dd will be watched by my mom who lives close to my job. My current plan is to bf when i drop off about 930, then bf again around 2 at lunch, then again around 6 when i pick her up.

My concern is that right now she is fed on demand and i dont want to leave my mom with nothing should she get hungry. I was thinking i could pump once at night and once after i bf at lunch. I wont be able to pump any additional sessions during the work day. So the last 4 nights ive pumped around 8/ 9pm after her last feeding but i know this is when my supply is lowest and im getting less than an ounce from both breasts combined. I want to try pumping in the morning but havent figured out how to do this yet...dd is way high needs and i can barely fit in a pee break, nevermind a pumping session, ugh :/

So then i was thinking (reluctantly) maybe i should just send her to my moms with a few ounces of formula in case she gets hungry but i dont want to risk screwing up my supply.

Im really starting to panic because i dont want to go back to work to begin with and worrying about this is driving me crazy. Any advice? Anybody supplement with formula and still successfully bf the rest of the time? Bfing is very important to me, moreso than i expected going into this and i really dont want to jeopardize it, but i dont seem to be having much luck pumping. Im also leary of doing anything to drastically increase my supply because im finally getting over some awful oversupply issues.

TIA for ANY input anybody has!
post #2 of 13

Is there a reason you can't pump at work?  I went back to work in a professional setting when my ds3 was 4 months old and pumped every three hours beginning from the last time he ate and sent 3 4 ounce bags to the sitter's house each day (plus kept a spare in her freezer just in case).  I would also be uncomfortable leaving your mom with nothing.  If you sent formula and your mom had to use it, you'd just need to pump in place of that feeding to keep your supply going.  That 2 to 6 gap is awfully large.  Does your daughter often go 4 hours between feedings?

post #3 of 13
With my twins, I do supplement some with formula at daycare as I just can't keep up everyday with pumping for two. I was barely able to do it for one with DD1. So far it has not affected my supply, but I am careful that if I see their intake creeping up because of a growth spurt that I pump more to make sure I'm increasing my supply and I only supplement 8oz a day maximum, most days it is 0-4oz, so I think that helps. I also make sure to let them BF a lot on the weekends/evenings to try and boost my supply, I know some folks pump extra on the weekends too, but I like to get a break from pumping smile.gif

If you are able to pump at work, I would try and do that 2x a day. Could you maybe come in a bit early and then take a 20 minute break in the morning and maybe come back from lunch early and another 20 minute break in the afternoon? It's much easier to get something out of the pump when you are replacing a feeding instead of pumping just after a feeding. If for some reason you aren't able (which legally you should be able to, but I also know reality doesn't always match up) to pump then I would carefully supplement only when really needed by explaining to your Mom not to supplement unless absolutely necessary. Sometimes food looks like a good solution to every cry to a caregiver and that's not the attitude you want for this kind of supplementing.
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by liberal_chick View Post

Is there a reason you can't pump at work?  I went back to work in a professional setting when my ds3 was 4 months old and pumped every three hours beginning from the last time he ate and sent 3 4 ounce bags to the sitter's house each day (plus kept a spare in her freezer just in case).  I would also be uncomfortable leaving your mom with nothing.  If you sent formula and your mom had to use it, you'd just need to pump in place of that feeding to keep your supply going.  That 2 to 6 gap is awfully large.  Does your daughter often go 4 hours between feedings?

Thanks for your reply! The longest she has gone during the day between feedings is 3 hours. Usually its about 1.5 to 2 hours. Overnight is anywhere from 3 to the occasional 7 hour stretch. So im definitely not comfortable with her eating nothing for that long while im at work, i just cant figure out how to manage pumping :/

Technically i know im legally entitled to pump at work on my own time but in order to take say 2 20 min breaks like you suggest, id have to give up my designated "lunch" time which i wanted to use to nurse her and hopefully eat. In addition to that, i work in a tiny dirty public library and the only place id be able to pump is in the single public bathroom which honestly grosses me out. So this is why i dont know what to do greensad.gif
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quinalla View Post

With my twins, I do supplement some with formula at daycare as I just can't keep up everyday with pumping for two. I was barely able to do it for one with DD1. So far it has not affected my supply, but I am careful that if I see their intake creeping up because of a growth spurt that I pump more to make sure I'm increasing my supply and I only supplement 8oz a day maximum, most days it is 0-4oz, so I think that helps. I also make sure to let them BF a lot on the weekends/evenings to try and boost my supply, I know some folks pump extra on the weekends too, but I like to get a break from pumping smile.gif

If you are able to pump at work, I would try and do that 2x a day. Could you maybe come in a bit early and then take a 20 minute break in the morning and maybe come back from lunch early and another 20 minute break in the afternoon? It's much easier to get something out of the pump when you are replacing a feeding instead of pumping just after a feeding. If for some reason you aren't able (which legally you should be able to, but I also know reality doesn't always match up) to pump then I would carefully supplement only when really needed by explaining to your Mom not to supplement unless absolutely necessary. Sometimes food looks like a good solution to every cry to a caregiver and that's not the attitude you want for this kind of supplementing.

Thank you for replying! I mentioned the 20 min breaks in my other reply by accident, but i wanted to add also that im already extending my work day so i can take a long enough break to nurse at lunch. Normally i only get a half hour break but i have my hours arranged now so that id be able to take 45 mins on some days and 60 mins on the others.

I guess im also having trouble figuring out how to get started. Pumping right after feeding is ibviously not being very fruitful, but how do i pump when im "full" when i should be nursing at that time? Know what i mean? Id like to get this figured out while im still actually home :::sigh:::
post #6 of 13
Does your baby usually only take one breast to feed? If so, maybe pumping the other breast while or immediately after you feed your baby might work for you? Or just pump both breasts after, but don't worry if you don't get much from the just fed breast. As for figuring it out while you are at home, yeah this is always tough honestly. I recommend pumping in the morning maybe 30 minutes to an hour after your first feed, usually you'll have the most milk in the morning so it would be more fruitful. Also, try to pump about the same time everyday and eventually your body will start adjusting to make more milk at that time. You could also pump late at night/early in the morning, but I'm sure you aren't getting sleep as is, so I wouldn't want to do that!

And as an alternative to the bathroom, what about in your car with a cover up? Not sure how private the parking lot is, but it's something to think about. I've done that a couple times while traveling for my job and it wasn't fun, but it was better than a bathroom, icky. It's the only time I use a BFing cover up, they work great for pumping smile.gif

Has your baby taken a bottle at all yet? Some BF babies much prefer Mom and will wait or start reverse cycling (feeding more at night, less during the day when Mom is gone). I would at least try to pump some milk to have some on had for your Mom the first few days and see how it goes. It may be tough to keep up your supply if you can't pump or BF more while you are at work and it could be totally fine. I know I would be uncomfortable, but liveable, going that long without pumping at work FYI.
post #7 of 13

Legally, your employer needs to provide you with a space to pump that is not a bathroom. Some states have greater protections than the federal laws so you might want to check if your break times should be compensated instead of on your own time.

 

Any chance you could wake up in the morning before your kiddo to pump a bit then while your supply is high? 

post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oread View Post
 

Legally, your employer needs to provide you with a space to pump that is not a bathroom. Some states have greater protections than the federal laws so you might want to check if your break times should be compensated instead of on your own time.

 

Any chance you could wake up in the morning before your kiddo to pump a bit then while your supply is high? 

 

Yeah, they have to provide you with a place to pump, even if that means someone gives up their office for 20 minutes twice a day or they close the break room off.  When I went back to work, I also worked at a library and pumped in a storage closet.  When I was out and about on library business, I sometimes had to hook up the battery pack to the pump and pump in the parking lot, so that may be an option as well (as one of the PPs said).

 

I would shoot for a short lunch and longer pumping breaks, truthfully.  And I agree with pumping in the morning or late at night to get your freezer stash going.

post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much everyone for responding! I guess part of me was hoping for some easy answer because im just soooo dreading having to deal with pumping, but im not ready to risk that slippery slope with supplementing either.

I tried pumping yesterday morning and this morning after one of dds early feeds and got 2oz and 1oz respectively, so im all set for about a half day of work lol. Im going to stick with it tho and see how things go. I know im going to have to try and squeeze in some mini pumping sessions while at work too. Im thinking that if i can do one breast in the am and one in the pm hopefully it will be quick enough that i dont need to call it an actual "break." Not sure where i will do it yet. While, yes, technically employers have to provide a space, we dont actually have any offices or a break room. Theres always the musty basement lol! No, we DO have a public meeting room that maybe i can hijack for a few. My car is definitely out because people come up to my car if they see me in it.

Im still hoping for some miracle that will allow me to just stay home!
post #10 of 13

What pump are you using? I am going to be new to pumping too, but I hear the double electric pumps are far superior to hand pumps.

post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
Im using the medela pump in style advanced. Was able to get it for free thru my ins company so definitely check into that! Its a double pump but i only pump one side at a time. I have a very fast let down so im able to pump both sides in about 10 mins and get about 4oz total. Ive actually been thinking of trying a small manual pump because it would be less to lug to work but we will see. Right now im only working half days so just pumping once while at work. When i get back to full time ill pump 2x a day...at least thats the plan!
post #12 of 13

It sounds like things are going a little bit better than expected!  As for a hand pump - the Avent manual pump worked very well for me for quick breaks at work.

post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the recommendation! Things are slowly getting better! We've been dealing with complete bottle refusal but dd FINALLY drank a bottle of expressed milk today for my mom. Omly took two weeks! :/ progress lol
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