Does ANYONE work FT and EBF? Please tell me it's possible... - Mothering Forums

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Old 12-14-2011, 08:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am a teacher and will be going back to work in the middle of January when my LO is 12 weeks old. Please tell me it's possible to EBF while working full time! I HAVE to go back so I really need encouragement and support. Thanks, mamas.


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Old 12-14-2011, 08:38 AM
 
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I did it while in the military and was able to continue to both my girls were 15 months.  I would have gone longer but I hated running everyday with my milk jugs bouncing around.  I know sounds terrible but man it was painful.  You can totally do it! 

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Old 12-14-2011, 09:09 AM
 
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I did it for 13 months working full-time.

 

I found the Kellymoms site and the Nursing Mother's Companion to be good sources for information, especially for learning techniques for increasing output like massage and larger horns on the pump.

 

I think a good pump is key.  I got extra tubes and horns so I didn't need wash them at work.

 

I scheduled pumping into my day and did not allow anything to infringe on that time.  


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Old 12-14-2011, 09:40 AM
 
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Yes! Here's a link to my back to work thread, started almost 2 years ago.

 

I am still working full time, and nursing my 2 year old. I pumped through 13 months and then day-weaned him to cows milk, and we were lucky enough not to have to use formula to supplement during those 13 months.

 

Here are some things that helped me a *lot*

 

Having a great daytime caregiver who understood how much nursing was important to us and who worked to make sure my son didn't get ahead of my supply.

Cosleeping. Kiddo reverse-cycled, and cosleeping got me through that. 

Support at work. I had some place that I could pump and work at the same time, so I didn't have to add an extra 30 minutes to my work day.

 

We EBF though 5.5. months, then added some solids, and continued with BM in bottles through the day until 13 months. 

 

good luck!!

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Old 12-14-2011, 09:47 AM
 
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Totally doable.  I went back to work when mine were each 8 weeks, and both were/are exclusively breast fed until we started solids.  My daughter is almost 3 and just weaned, and my son still gets 90% of his nutrition from breast milk (other 10% from solids).  Mine both reversed cycled, which helped (we coslept/cosleep), and like other have said, Kellymom.com has great advice.  This site is old and doesn't seem to be updated, but I found some of the guidance useful as well.  Good luck!

 

http://www.workandpump.com/

 

 


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Old 12-14-2011, 10:02 AM
 
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Coming back to add that DS started solids around 6mo.  (I can't remember the exact timing, it was when he could pincher pick up peas and such.)  I noticed a decline in my milk production around month 9 and reduced my pumping to once a day.  We did not co-sleep at that point but I would nurse him to sleep in our bed where he had an unlimited amount of time to nurse. 


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Old 12-14-2011, 10:23 AM
 
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I have worked with/know SOOOOOO many moms who have gone back to work and EBF their babies well past the 6 month mark (obviously, if solids are involved their no longer EXCLUSIVELY BF, but BM was still primary source of nutrition). My cousin didit with all three of her kids. I'm getting ready to go back to work in January also, though my DS will be 4 months old at that point, he still eats about every 1-2 hours around the clock (he's a grazer...sigh) so I'm expecting my OS will just become regular supply :)

 

You'll be fine mama!!


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Old 12-14-2011, 10:38 AM
 
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I worked full time and he received breast milk exclusively until 6 months with my son then supplemented with formula while I was at work but continued breastfeeding through 16 months.

 

With my daughter I also quick pumping at 6 months (I really dislike pumping) but had a good enough freezer stash and she tended to reverse cycle so that she made it to 12 months without formula and then went to cows milk while I working, continuing to nurse until 15 months.


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Old 12-14-2011, 05:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That's so much for all the encouragement. I think I'll be able to pump three times a day. My cousin will be watching at our home for January, feb, march, and half of April till her own baby is due and I know she'll help me out with the bm. I'm working on building a supply now. I know I don't need a ton, but it will help me mentally to know it is available if needed...

 

What is reverse cycling?


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Old 12-14-2011, 06:08 PM
 
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Reverse cycling is when a baby nurses more at night to make up for being away from mom during the day.
I just wanted to point you to a couple of good resources on kellymom.com. There's a milk calculator to figure out how much expressed breast milk your babe will need during the day and a fact sheet on bottle feeding the breastfed baby to prevent overfeeding and flow preference.
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Old 12-15-2011, 07:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, Megan! Good to know! I'll check out the websites everyone. Any more personal tips? Things that helped you a lot?


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Old 12-15-2011, 08:09 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Hannahkatiebell View Post

Thanks, Megan! Good to know! I'll check out the websites everyone. Any more personal tips? Things that helped you a lot?

I'm super lucky - I haven't had to go back to work with either of my sons until they were past the EBF stage but I did/plan to pump at work mostly so I can nurse on demand on weekends. This time I plan to do two things - buy a hands-free pumping bra so I can do lots of breast compressions while pumping (it can double output) and take time to listen to this relaxation track: http://bfmed.wordpress.com/2011/04/14/now-on-itunes-an-audio-galactogogue/

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Old 12-15-2011, 08:21 AM
 
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I'm super lucky - I haven't had to go back to work with either of my sons until they were past the EBF stage but I did/plan to pump at work mostly so I can nurse on demand on weekends. This time I plan to do two things - buy a hands-free pumping bra so I can do lots of breast compressions while pumping (it can double output) and take time to listen to this relaxation track: http://bfmed.wordpress.com/2011/04/14/now-on-itunes-an-audio-galactogogue/



Absolutely, I was amazed how much more I could pump.  I remember seeing a video (maybe on Kellymom's or Medela) showing a massage technique where you apply gentle pressure in downward strokes towards the nipple that maximizes output.  I didn't have a pumping bra as I could sit in such a way that I didn't need it but they do work well for some women.

 

I got larger horns for my pump.  I was doing a lot of research about pumping and one resource recommended close evaluation of how your breast fit into the horns.  Again, I found videos, probably on the Medela site, showing how the breast tissue should fit into the horns.  I talked to my lacatation consultant and she told me that I did not need larger horns, that she never had a client that did and so on.  I went against her advice (the horns weren't that pricey) and tried the next size up and it made a big difference for me.   My breasts aren't huge but with the way my breast tissue is situated, the larger horns made pumping more effective and more comfortable.

 

For whatever reasons, I didn't have any pumping issues.  I was comfortable doing it and viewed it as a time to relax.  I would take fun stuff to read while pumping and treated it as "me time."


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Old 12-15-2011, 11:49 AM
 
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I am! I have a very supportive work environment, so I've been happy with how easy it has been compared to what I expected. Here's my tips (most already mentioned by PPs):

 

-bookmark Kellymom.com and read every single page of workandpump.com (especially this page about using your freezer stash)

 

-Don't worry about having a giant freezer stash. For some reason, everyone told me I had to have a ton of milk saved up pre-work. Really, you don't want to rely on your freezer stash, except for emergencies, because you want your milk output for each day to be the same or more than what your baby eats that day.

 

-make sure your care provider is familiar with how to feed a breastfed baby. they can overfeed the baby if they are only familiar with feeding formula fed babies, and then you won't be able to keep up your milk production. Kellymom has tons of resources for this, including great handouts to give your care provider

 

-I love my double electric pump (mine is the Hygeia EnJoye) and hands free pumping bra.

 

-Be sure your boss is on-board with your needs, and be very vigilant about keeping to your schedule (especially since you are a teacher, I imagine your time is very limited). Here's info about federal pumping laws

 

I work in an office setting, so I spend a lot of time on MDC while I'm pumping. Feel free to PM me anytime. I've only been doing it for a few months now, so I'm no expert, but I can definitely commiserate!


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Old 12-15-2011, 02:12 PM
 
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I took the pump to work Monday morning & brought it home Friday night. I just brought the pieces and the milk home on a daily basis. I have a subway commute, so that was really helpful for me.

 

You don't have to wash all the bits between each pumping session! Just refrigerate them (this is a huge timesaver).

 

I always stashed a cloth diaper in my pump bag, and I would lay it out on my desk to keep everything clean.

 

Definitely second the tip on trying different sized horns for the pump. It took me three tries to get ones that really fit.

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Old 12-15-2011, 02:40 PM
 
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Another vote that you can do it! The first few months are the hardest. I know teachers often have a hard time with finding time to pump as your schedule is not really your own, but if you think you'll be able to pump 3 times a day, with committment and compulsion you'll do great. I have a 5 yr old for whom i pumped until 17 mos and nursed to one month shy of 4 years and a reverse cycled 7.5 month old who had nothing but BM until we started solids at 6 months. Things become easier once solids come into the picture regularly as you can probably by shy an ounce or 2 on any given day and be fine.

 


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Old 12-18-2011, 01:09 PM
 
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My dil worked and when my grandson 10 months she didn't need to leave milk or pump. My grandson ate solids with me and nursed all night. He nursed almost 3 years until she weaned him so she could get pregnant again. I live with them and we are having another baby. I say we because she works about 60 hours a week and sometimes travels a week at a time for her job (she started traveling after my grandson weaned). My son works unusual hours and also travels for his job. Sometimes both of them are gone for several days. I am the constant adult of the household. My grandson usually sleeps with (on) me. My dil plans to cut back on work after the baby is born at least for a few months. She very much wants to breastfeed. I've known of other mothers that worked long hours and traveled and breastfed. She was blessed with a huge milk supply and my grandson was a super nurser.

 

The first 4-6 months are the hardest when the baby is EBF. After that you don't have to leave as much milk and somewhere between 9-12 months you can stop leaving milk at all depending on your baby and your hours. Gale Pryors Nursing Mother, Working Mother is an older book but it has great info about reverse cycling and how to make working and breastfeeding the easiest possible.   


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Old 12-21-2011, 06:47 AM
 
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You can do it! My son got breastmilk while I worked until he was a year old. Then I hung up the pumping bag and he nursed only when I was home (he never really took to cow's milk. would drink water or juice when he was thirsty at that point)

 

Like PP, I leave my pump at work and only bring in supplies. I bought extra horns and stuff so I didn't have to wash them at work (the water never gets hot enough here anyway).

 

You don't need a huge freezer stash. What you pump one day should feed the next, etc. I ended up with a ton of extra BM (wish I had known how to donate then). 

 

With DD - she's 10 weeks old - I plan on doing pretty much the same, if she permits - hanging up the bag at a year, and nursing on demand otherwise until weaning.


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Old 12-21-2011, 07:46 AM
 
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Yes!  I pumped and breastfed for over a year, and DD didn't completely wean until around 2.5.  I was lucky that I had a very accomodating work environment which allowed me to pump when I needed to.  We co-slept, so DD clung to breastfeeding for a very long time.  I found that it took some work, but it is totally doable. 


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Old 12-21-2011, 07:54 AM
 
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I'm a full-time college professor and went back to work five weeks after having my son in 2009. Not out of any love for my job or any bravado, but simply because I'm the breadwinner and my maternity leave was UNPAID. He was EBF until age 2! He never had a drop of formula. I started pumping and trying him on a bottle at three weeks (the LLL flipped out about it--but I had no choice) and had a small stash by five weeks (only an extra day at a time, not a huge stash). On days I was home I nursed on demand all day and night. When I was at work I pumped every 3-4 hours. Of course, it helps that I have my own office! It was so much easier after the first year, when I stopped pumping and only nursed when at home.


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Old 12-21-2011, 11:21 AM
 
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Yes you can!  I pumped at work until my ds3 was 1 (I went back to work when he was 4 months old) and pumped 3 times a day.  As he got older and took fewer bottles (and started eating solids), I was able to reduce it to twice a day and then once and then, when he was a year old, I quit pumping.  He's 15 months old now and still nurses like crazy at home.


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Old 12-29-2011, 06:54 PM
 
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I work full time and pumped for one year each for all three of my boys.  None of them had a drop of formula and the last 2 were extended breastfeeders until age 3 and 4.  Luckily my mother was our care provider for the first year, because I never had extra milk to spare, so I sometimes had to go to nurse the baby on my lunch break because I was out of milk (and she didn't freak out on me!).  I personally would like to have a bit of a freezer stash for baby #4.  

 

 


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Old 12-29-2011, 07:13 PM
 
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Went back to work full time when my daughter was six weeks. We still nurse now at 2 1/2. I pumped till a year.

 


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Old 12-29-2011, 07:27 PM
 
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I am a teacher too and had to go back at 8 weeks (AWFUL maternity leave).  I pumped for 12 months (well, more like 10 or 11 and my freezer stash got me to 12 months) then he had cows milk while I was at work and nursed until 2.5.  It can be done, it takes a good deal of work but it's worth it!  

 

I second a lot of the tips already-- start pumping 3 times a day initially with a hands free pumping bra and lots of breast massage/compression.  I'd aim to get 10-12 oz a day, then leave home 3 3.5 to 4 oz bottles (at first they were smaller, but they never got bigger than this).  Depending on how quickly I could get home and if we nursed JUST before I left in the morning, he often only drank 2 and the other went to the freezer stash.  I started with a big stash but didn't need it.  I ended up donating A LOT.  

 

We nursed so much at home!  All afternoon, evening, and all night long.  It was good to get all those snuggles and skin time in, even though I was tired, of course.  Co-sleeping with a side car crib really helped.  

 

By the time he was 5 months or so I was able to just pump twice a day, but still get 12 oz.  I got the most in the first pump, would drink gatorade or a healthier electrolyte drink at least an hour before my afternoon pump, and that would really help.  Just drinking water didn't do it for me, I needed the electrolytes.  

 

Once he started solids he almost never drank the 3rd bottle, so we always had plenty to spare.  

 

We never had any nipple preference problems.  I did get plugged ducts often (probably from oversupply) so Idid have to bring the pump home at night just in case I had to unplug one.  

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Old 12-30-2011, 12:50 PM
 
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I am so happy I found this thread!  I am a teacher and I am due in June with my 3rd.  DS1 and DD1 were EBF at home b/c I was a SAHM.  I simply must work for insurance/medical cost reasons.  I feel enormous guilt over not staying home and debating my maternity leave.  Anything I take will be unpaid.  My new babe will be onsite with me as my school has childcare but I haven't had the discussion about how breastfeeding friendly they are on site and there are no privacy areas that I know of for pumping....


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Old 12-31-2011, 10:37 AM
 
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I'm so glad I found this thread...I'll be going back to work full time in 2 weeks when my DD is 3 months old. She'll be staying with my mom and I plan to EBF. I've been pumping and freezing so I have a bit of a stash built up and I'm planning to pump at work. The hardest part is getting her to accept a bottle from my mom. We've been "practicing" when my mom watches her for a couple of hours here and there. She is NOT into the bottle, but she'll take it only when she's hungry enough so I'm anticipating that she will be reverse cycling (that much more reason for her to continue sleeping in our bed thumb.gif). 


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Old 01-07-2012, 07:00 PM
 
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Hello.  I am a high school teacher of an EBF baby who is now 10 months.  She was EBF until starting solids at 6 months.  I went back at 11 weeks pp but only for 3 weeks (it was June) and then returned to work in Sept when she was 6 months.  Here are some things that worked for me:

1) I use a small office that is primarily used by department chairs.  I have a do not disturb sign and most people know.  I have had a few issues with people needing it for testing purposes, but it has not been a huge problem.  I would definitely keep your pump stocked with batteries just in case you end up in an unusual location.

2) I pump 2x during the work day - about every 3 hours. In the beginning when I was concerned about supply I would also pump after I nursed right before leaving the house.  I also added a pumping session at night about 2-3 hours after baby goes to sleep right before I go to bed.  I did this when she turned 7 mos.  This gets me about 3 more ozs.  I initially started doing this bc I had DH go to her when she woke around midnight so that I could get a longer stretch of sleep.

3) We did cosleep until she was about 7 months.  After that it just stopped working for us.  She didn't sleep as well, and I barely slept at all.  I kept getting mastitis and was generally miserable due to sleep deprivations.  We moved her to her own crib/room and she now sleeps about a 9-10 hour stretch.  I think cosleeping eased the transition back to work when she was really little though (3-4 mos) and kept my supply nice and strong. 

4) I do not wash pump parts between pumping at work.  I keep my parts in a large tupperware at work and bring them home to wash later.  I use a little playtex cooler bag for storing the milk. 

5) Don't stress too much about a freezer stash.  I pumped one side while she nursed the other for 1 feed for several weeks before I went back but I think the freezer stash is mostly psychological and should only be used for emergencies.  My baby is home with her dad and he was awesome about trying to simulate her nursing patterns by giving her small her quantities more often (like 2-3 ozs) rather than giving her big bottles.  This seemed to help a lot. 

6) Try to drink a ton of water at work and bring plenty of food to snack on throughout the day.  This can be hard if you're teaching b/c of bathroom trips but it makes a difference. 

 

GL!  You can do it.  It is hard at the beginning and I would be lying if I said that I didn't loathe washing the damn pump parts, but the time flies and the being able to nourish your baby the best way possible even when you're apart is so worth it. 

 

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Old 01-19-2012, 06:39 AM
 
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My grandson usually sleeps with (on) me. 

I thought you didn't even have a bed?


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Old 01-19-2012, 07:24 AM
 
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Originally Posted by foreverinbluejeans View Post

My dil worked and when my grandson 10 months she didn't need to leave milk or pump. My grandson ate solids with me and nursed all night. He nursed almost 3 years until she weaned him so she could get pregnant again. I live with them and we are having another baby. I say we because she works about 60 hours a week and sometimes travels a week at a time for her job (she started traveling after my grandson weaned). My son works unusual hours and also travels for his job. Sometimes both of them are gone for several days. I am the constant adult of the household. My grandson usually sleeps with (on) me. My dil plans to cut back on work after the baby is born at least for a few months. She very much wants to breastfeed. I've known of other mothers that worked long hours and traveled and breastfed. She was blessed with a huge milk supply and my grandson was a super nurser.

 

The first 4-6 months are the hardest when the baby is EBF. After that you don't have to leave as much milk and somewhere between 9-12 months you can stop leaving milk at all depending on your baby and your hours. Gale Pryors Nursing Mother, Working Mother is an older book but it has great info about reverse cycling and how to make working and breastfeeding the easiest possible.   

FIBJ, I am curious about this because you posted on another thread that you slept in a recliner, not a bed. How do you do that safely and comfortably with a toddler?!?!  That sounds really difficult, and I am sorry that you are in that situation. 
 

 


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Old 01-19-2012, 07:43 AM
 
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I went back to work at 9 weeks with twins. They had no formula. I pumped lots, with a double electric. I made my own hands free pumping bra, by cutting holes for the horn opening at the nipple line of an old bra. It worked very well, and allowed for the massage technique mentioned up thread. I usually pumped for two let-downs.  The twins did not have weight issues, they were, if anything, chubby. We kept them on slow flow nipples in the bottles so they wouldn't suck the milk down super fast. They were started on solids around 6 months.

 

One thing that was different for me, and might work for you, is I had the care-giver (husband at first, then inlaws for a short time) bring the babies to me for one feeding of the day, during my planning period. (I was a teacher at the time) We only did that for about 8 weeks, but it was a nice way to get back in to working-- I'd still see them once during they day, and could nurse directly.

 

I had to be really jealous of my pumping time, and not let people distract me. Administration was supportive, as they had to be under the law.

 

Good Luck!


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