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Breastfeeding while working or going to school

Poll Results: How long did you breastfeed?

This is a multiple choice poll
  • 0% (0)
    Never tried
  • 0% (0)
    less than 6 weeks
  • 0% (0)
    6 weeks to 3 months
  • 0% (0)
    3 months to 6 months
  • 0% (0)
    6 months to 9 months
  • 5% (1)
    9 months to 12 month
  • 15% (3)
    12 months to 18 months
  • 20% (4)
    18 months to 24 months
  • 60% (12)
    24 months or more
20 Total Votes  
post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

How long did you breastfeed? What is your best advise for making breastfeeding work while also being away from your babe part of the day? What were your biggest challenges and how did you overcome them.

post #2 of 12

Each babe nursed about 25-26 months. Pumping was easy once a rhythm got established; easier once I was back at work and not with the baby. Each baby just kind of picked up where s/he left off when I got home from work! There was never any confusion. I can't really think of any major obstacles; perhaps one was when there was a power outage at work and I couldn't pump!

post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

I breastfed both of mine to 15 or 16 months. Neither ever took a bottle from me, but both did fine if I wasn't home. My daughter reverse cycled so ended up eating far less milk at daycare than I pumped. I stopped pumping for each of my kids at 6 months. For my second child the freezer stash made it to a year, with my first we did supplement with formula at daycare once my freezer stash was gone.


I built up a nice little freezer stash before going back to work. Each of my kids started sleeping a 4 hour stretch during the night at some point during the first 2 months of life. I'd wake up in the morning with more milk than they could eat and would pump then.

post #4 of 12

I breastfed 28 months.  However, my son began refusing a bottle around 13 months--when we were apart, he just ate food--so I stopped pumping a few weeks later when it was clear this was going to last.  Here's my advice on breastfeeding while working outside the home.  My biggest challenge was that I worked in a cubicle at the time, so I had to arrange a space to pump in; it wasn't especially convenient or inviting, and one time I was locked out of it while my pump was locked in!


I also found it pretty challenging when I spent a day in the hospital when my son was 11 months old and not yet eating enough solids for me to risk skipping a day of pumping--but this is something that would be a problem for a SAHM, too.  I was really glad to have a manual pump as well as the electric one I used at work.  What happened was that I'd stepped on a sewing needle that broke off in my foot, and when the emergency room people couldn't get it out they bandaged me, gave me crutches, and sent me out into the sleet telling me to see a podiatrist in his office next day (this still doesn't make any sense at all, to me or the podiatrist!  Why not set me up to get into an operating room at the hospital, since I was already there?!) so when the podiatrist heard my story, he saw me first thing in the morning and arranged for his surgeon friend to work me in that day...but I had to hang around the hospital until he had time between his scheduled procedures.  Using my manual pump while sitting in bed in a hospital room was not too difficult.  I had brought ice packs to keep the milk cold.  The real challenge was that they wouldn't let me eat anything in case I might need general anesthetic!!!  And I wound up waiting all day, getting weak and shaky, and then they did do it with a local.  When I called my partner to pick me up, I said, "BRING FOOD!!!"

post #5 of 12

About 30 months with my first (I got pregnant when she was 20 months though, gave tandeming a shot but it really wasn't for us, and tapered her off pretty quickly).  I'm still nursing my second who just turned two.


My biggest issue was supply.  My body seems set to make just as much as is needed with no extra, and there is no way I could pump enough to feed a baby if away from home 40 hours per week.  I worked part-time for a year with my first but I was still away about 20-30 hours per week, add in that we had a weak start to breastfeeding and I ended up with about an 80% supply and had to supplement.


With my second I was much more knowledgeable about breastfeeding and also had a lot more flexibility at work.  I was able to work at home most of the time for her first year, only going in about 5-10 hours per week.  I did have to have a full-time nanny at home so that I could work, but luckily the baby was a great sleeper (she often slept for six of the eight hours the nanny was there) so things worked out really well.  I was able to build up a freezer stash this time, and the whole thing was a lot less stressful.


I think my best trick was to pump in the car going to and from work.  I'd set up the whole thing and turn it on before I left, and then not touch it until I stopped the car.  I had a sort of cape thing I wore where I could flip the tails over the pump setup.  It really reduced the need for pumping at work (although I did still have to do a lot of that because of the bare-minimum supply issue).

post #6 of 12
With DD1, I breastfed her for 19 months and that is when I decided to wean her. I went back to work full time when she was 16 weeks old. I'd say the two biggest challenges were (1) getting enough pumping to meet her needs (I never had more than 4-6 oz stashed away, my body was also ultra efficient) and (2) keeping daycare from wanting to overfeed. Her daycare was great in pretty much everything else, but they always wanted bigger bottles and I already felt like she was wanting to eat too much during the day, especially since she was still waking 3-6 times a night for a long time and eating every time. I was and am quite lucky to have a private office, so all I have to do to pump is shut the door, I can even keep working on my computer while I pump. The other challenge with my job was about 6 months I started traveling for work again, luckily I kept it to just driving and not having to fly, but it was still a challenge to find a place to pump and I did pump while driving a couple times and pumped in the back seat of my car with a nursing cover a couple times. I stopped pumping about 13 months and switched DD1 to whole milk at daycare then and just breastfed at home.

With my current babes who are 6 months, I started out supplementing some and while I've had times where I've been able to fully feed them with just my breastmilk, I've mostly been supplementing about 1 bottle a day for each. Now, I make the bottle happen at daycare so I don't have to pump as much. Same daycare and they still tend to want to overfeed, I actually need to talk about that with them again soon, but yeah again overfeeding and getting enough out of the pump are still my biggest challenges. I plan to nurse them for at least as long as DD1 and will probably stop breastmilk/formula at daycare at 12-13 months again.

Making time to pump was challenging at first, but I just made it a priority and now I have no problem with it. It's just like a regularly scheduled meeting I have to attend twice a day smile.gif
post #7 of 12

I BF for 13 months. I pumped until he was just under 10 months old... I couldn't take it anymore and we lived close and at that point I'd get to go home early some days so I was able to sub in those pump sessions for nursing. I'm very proud of myself for the length of time I pumped. I think back and I can't BELIEVE I pumped 3x a day for 5 months (every. single. day) and then 2x a day for 4 more months. (I went back to work when he was 10 weeks old) It was a lot of work... and I hated pumping... but I did it! I still maintained my supply enough to BF him any time I was home until 13 months when he weaned. I would of liked to BF longer but the nighttime nursing was the last to go and one night he just didn't nurse and that was that. Back to pumping I guess I didn't really run into any challenges per se... but I did have a really good freezer stash until he was about 5 months old and we moved several states away... I think all the stress got to me and I wasn't pumping quiet as much. DH (who is a SAHD) was using 1 3-5 oz bag for each feeding but then got to where he had to use both bags (as I double pumped) to make a full bottle. By the time he hit 8 or 9 months I was pumping "paycheck to paycheck".... basically only 0 or 1 feed ahead of him. I know I probably could of done stuff to increase my supply bag (herbs, pumped MORE-- noo!!) but I really didn't want to so I didn't!

post #8 of 12
My baby is 4.5 months old. I have been back at work 3.5 weeks. The hardest part was having enough milk in the beginning. Some of my freezer stash melted, and I wasn't getting as much when I first started pumping at work so I had to pump in the evenings and on the weekend to have enough. That only took about a week though and then I was pumping enough in 3 sessions to get him through the next day. I read that pumping is a learned skill and that was really encouraging to me. I have gotten better at it and now I get a consistent amount and it is plenty for baby to eat. My advice would be to practice with the double pumping and with your hands-free bra, if you are using one. Try to make your pumping sessions relaxed so your milk flows well. I look at pictures of my baby and watch videos of him sometimes. I cover up the bottles so I am not obsessing about how much is in there. Also, I massage before and during pumping and when I am done I do some hand expressions to get a little bit more of the fatty hindmilk.
post #9 of 12
13 months and going strong so far. I work full time but am allowed to work from home one day. Supply was an issue as mine fluctuates due to stress, sleep deprivation, that time of the month, forgetting to drink water etc. I always plan to eat oatmeal for breakfast but end up buying a chocolate chip muffin instead smile.gif!

I pump 2-3 times at work daily and do night feedings. Baby starting solids at 6 months was a huge help as well and boy she loves her solids! I keep an electric pump at work and they provide with a designated room for pumping and I also have a manual pump for days when I have to attend conferences and wont have access to my work pumping setting. My supply has never been optimal but we managed it so far. My baby has also always been on the skinny side weightwise and my family (including myself) always questioned if she was 'getting enough'. She is a very smart, happy and healthy girl that is meeting all the milestones so I think we are ok. The key issues I think are that working+ pumping just does not leave time for much else in your life! Its always about trying to make sure the baby gets all her nursing sessions so supply does not fluctuate and there is so much stress when there is a request from boss to attend a conference with fitting in pumping. Other than that my workplace is quite supportive in that they give me an hour+ daily to pump.
post #10 of 12
My oldest nursed till she was 5.5, youngest was 3.5. Went back to work after 8 weeks for one and 12 weeks for the other. I pumped and they both reverse-cycled. We all went to bed at the same time every night (early!).

Biggest challenge- getting enough sleep! smile.gif
post #11 of 12
Decide what is really important to you. For me, formula was really unacceptable and I hated that I had to work at all. So I was really careful about stash building with all three kids and I pumped longer at work. I double pumped twice a day for my first. Way too much milk and much was donated. I pumped less with my second and had to pump 4 times a day at work to meet daily demand. My stash is insurance rather than for use, at least I think of it that way. I pumped twice a day from birth with my third and just gave away a lot of milk.

Maybe that sounds stressful to someone. It was a lot LESS Stressful for me than under feeding while away, feeding crazy made up stuff, or formula all of which I see all the time in these boards and other.

My supply really tanks when I stop pumping during the day so my kids self wean shortly after.also, as much as I hate pumping I totally don't understand weaning a happily nursing babe to the milk of another mammal. So I pumped until 18m and 24m and the kids have never made another milk a big part of diet. We have cow's milk etc but i don't think it a good option, in quantity, for a young toddler. The kids just drink water.

Finally, I co-sleep and I never leave a baby or young toddler for an extended period of time without pumping.

I've never given a bottle, babies are never given a bottle when I am around. I act Like a nursing mother all the day except whe. I am physically separated from my baby.
post #12 of 12
 I totally don't understand weaning a happily nursing babe to the milk of another mammal. So I pumped until 18m and 24m and the kids have never made another milk a big part of diet.

I agree.  When my son stopped taking a bottle of my milk, we didn't offer him fluid milk of any kind on a regular basis or stress about whether or not he was eating dairy foods.  We told the babysitter it was okay to give him dairy but his usual beverage should be water.  Her response was, "Good idea; with water it's much easier to clean the sippy cup."


He's 8 now, loves cheese and ice cream and cereal with milk, sometimes eats yogurt, but rarely just drinks a glass of milk.  He likes beans, tofu, and a wide enough range of vegetables that I think he's getting enough calcium.  He's certainly growing well!

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