EBF, working full time, pumping, tiredness - how long can I go on?? - Mothering Forums
Breastfeeding > EBF, working full time, pumping, tiredness - how long can I go on??
maggie coulthard's Avatar maggie coulthard 11:51 AM 02-21-2003
My son, is now almost 9 months, I´ve been back at work full time four months and handpump one side when he feeds first thing in the morning (6.30) for a bottle (3.5 oz) for the creche for after his afternoon solids. Until now I have been adding frozen milk for a second bottle but the creche tell me he now takes very little after his late morning/lunchtime solids so I could stop. I´ve reduced it to just over an ounce and find it hard (emotionally) to cut it altogether but will do so!

I then pump just after lunchtime (Medela, two sided) at work so I have milk for the freezer and the second bottle next day.

6.30 in the evening Robbie has cereal (buckwheat flakes) - we mixed it for quite a while with breastmilk only but that seemed to be too insubstantial to see him through the night (he started sleeping through at 3 months - I know I´m lucky). I then added a hypoallergenic formula and he began sleeping through again - except when he has colds, wakes with blocked nose and wants comfort. I guess he wakes and feeds one night in three.

My question is, how do others overcome the tiredness, carry on pumping and keep up the supply? I´m caught between wanting to let the supply diminish as it is doing (I guess by around 20% in the four months since I started working again), and not wanting to let go...

It´s hard to sort out what´s going on with the chronic tiredness, the desire to get back to ´normal´ energy and resilience levels, and the real ambivalence about reducing breastfeeding... I´d love to hear of others´ experiences, just to have some reference points. All the cohort of women in my pre-natal group have now stopped breastfeeding and I have one friend who is also continuing with a son the same age as mine, so we give each other support and suggestions when we get stuck - both knowing the real health benefits for our babies from carrying on.

Any comments and experiences would be really welcome,


Iguanavere's Avatar Iguanavere 12:30 PM 02-21-2003

Congratulation on getting this far! I always think that women who WOH and pump are so amazing! I can't seem to ever get my breasts to let down for a pump.

There are so many reasons for you to continue nursing and pumping. your baby still really needs the immunilogical and nutricious benefits from your breastmilk.

As for supply, you should continue to offer the breast as much as possible and pump as much as possible.

Is a creche a Nanny or babysitter? Tell them you want them to give the breastmilk and to milk it with baby's cereal. You are in charge! You get to tell them what your child will eat.

Chronic tiredness sucks. Are you eating enough, getting enough protein, iron? Are you anemic? Are you drinking enough water, getting enough sleep? I woul dneed to know all of this before making any recommendations. Have you had a physical? Nursing all by itsself can make you more tired, but I would suspect that there are other things at work to make you this tired.

Good luck! I can't wait to hear other peoples thoughts.
lisamarie's Avatar lisamarie 12:38 PM 02-21-2003
Feel so proud!!! I also pumped and worked FT for a year (my dh was unemployed). I too had those days where I didn't know if I could go on pumping. This was 6 years ago and now MDC, so I would call my friend whom I met in a breastfeeding class (our son's are 8 wks. apart) and vent. She would give me the strength to continue. And on my days off, when my ds would nurse and would fall asleep at the breast and I would just let him nap in my arms~that helped me too. Besides of all the benefits for the babe, I loved having the closeness and the bonding time of nursing after I returned home from work.

But, by the end of the 1st year, I was exhausted!!!!! I stopped pumping when he was about 13 mo. old, but he continued to nurse until he self weaned.

Please know that you are not alone!!!! Also, is there a LLL in your area? That was also helpful for me!

Good Luck & Great Job~

ramonasmama's Avatar ramonasmama 08:44 AM 02-22-2003
i'm just so impressed with you - and happy for you and your baby! way to go good mama!!

i was thinking IRON too - it really makes a difference for me in the energy level department. iron and water. and NAPS! if someone can give you a nap everyday that might seriously improve life...

good luck, you're doing so great taking care of your baby - just remember to take care of your baby's mama too!
maggie coulthard's Avatar maggie coulthard 08:50 AM 02-27-2003
Thanks for you replies.....

I feel better for receiving them and having your support. I will contact LLL again... they were really helpful in the early stages.

Also, last week I was pre-menstrual (seems to make everything worse of course and although I´m taking all the multivits I should, the tiredness just gets worse then. I was also feeling dizzy with the tiredness as well as the other aches and pains). Sun´s shining this week and I have a week off, so everything is much better...

Thanks for all your comments and look forward to any others...

Best wishes,

DaryLLL's Avatar DaryLLL 10:09 AM 02-27-2003
Have you had your iron lvls checked? Do you eat enough? Some moms don't, they forget, and then its a downward spiral. They get too tired to eat, (not my problem, hehe).

Want to encourage you to keep nursing. Even tho it seems unusual in your community to keep nursing a baby this age, rest assured, there are lots of moms worlwide how nurse long time. The average age for weaning is 2-4 years!

The Amercian Academy of Pediatric recs at least one yr. WHO recs at least 2 yrs. The longer, the better. More health for you and your baby.

Toddlers can be picky eaters, and it is so great to know they are continuing to get perfect nutrition from your body when all they want to eat that day is a handful of crackers and 1/4 banana!

Read: Mothering your Nursing Toddler. Nursing Mother Working Mother may help you too.
stormborn's Avatar stormborn 10:46 AM 02-27-2003
I don't have much time, as I should be asleep now ...but I just wanted to tell you to hang in there!! I've been working and pumping since dd was 4 mos(she's 18 mos now) ; and 9 to 10 mos was the most difficult in terms of lack of energy.
So keep it up...it will get easier!!

Do get your iron levels/diet checked, though. The level of exhaustion you describe sounds a little more than normal, esp w/ a babe that sleeps through the night most of the time.
asherah's Avatar asherah 11:09 AM 02-27-2003
I woh fulltime and still pump, too. My ds is 10 months old.
I used to pump twice a day at work.. now I just pump once.. or sometimes not at all, because he eats mostly solids during the day and then nurses more at night.

I drink a lot of mothers milk tea.. it really does work for me.. and I drink a lot of water.

Dark beer, Brewers Yeast and fenugreek has also helped me with supply.

It IS hard.. really tiring, especially with ds night nursing so much still. Plus.. I am soooo sick of carrying around these big old breasts. I really want to wear a nice, normal bra again.

But I know ebf is best for ds and for me. We should give ourselves more credit for doing the best thing for our babies.. even while carrying a fulltime workload.. (and a breast pump!)
seanjoshmom's Avatar seanjoshmom 12:36 PM 02-27-2003
I did the same, pumping three or four times a day for almost 16 months. It IS hard, and tiring, but you are doing an AMAZING job. Breastmilk is so good for your little one. Especially keep it up at least through the winter, to help prevent your DS from getting infections. That is what I did, set little goals for myself, "OK, through the winter" "OK, three more months" etc. I combatted the fatigue by going to bed at the same time my DSs did. Boring, but necessary.
maggie coulthard's Avatar maggie coulthard 06:10 AM 03-03-2003
Thanks again....
I didn´t answer the point about the creche - it´s daycare (I live in Belgium)

I´ve got another iron supplement and some extra B vits... feel lots better, so I´m sure some of it was pre-menstrual and the rest was recovering from the cold.

We´re all well now and better for the support.
I will get the book ´Mothering your Nursing Toddler´ - thanks for the tip.

Good to know I´ve just hit a low patch and it will get easier. I feel I need to introduce a second meal with extra protein in the evenings now... Any views? (At present he has breastmilk for breakfast, vegetables & protein just before noon, fruit and breastmilk around 3pm, cereal/formula/breastmilk around 6.30pm) I feel I want to add some different kinds óf protein to this last meal of the day... I added the formula a few weeks ago to avoid middle of the night hunger...

Thanks again and lookforward to reading more replies...

Marlena's Avatar Marlena 01:40 PM 03-03-2003
Hang in there, and good for you for keeping it up! My experience was that it got harder and harder until dd was 12 months old, and then gradually got easier. A substantial part of the issue for me, though, was that she'd wake up multiple times per night to nurse. I only just stopped pumping at work (today will be my first day, in fact), and dd is 21 months old.

Are you eating enough? Are you getting as much sleep as possible? These will both help. Otherwise, a few months will do the trick.

Again, hang in there!
maggie coulthard's Avatar maggie coulthard 10:51 AM 03-05-2003
I´m making sure I eat more protein and haven´t given up the chocolate... It just seems to hit the spot at the moment!

I have a work trip of three nights away in two months time and want to continue beyond that. Does anyone have tips? The milk shouldn´t be a problem (plenty frozen) but it´s the separation, baby wanting breast rather than bottle early morning, and partner coping that I´m concerned about. Son already wants more cuddles from me than from his Dad in the evenings before he goes to sleep, so that makes me think it will be hard in May. On a practical level I´ll carry on pumping when I´m away to keep up supply so I can start again when I get back.

What can I do to prepare?

Thanks all for reading and replying. Your input is so helpful.

Marlena's Avatar Marlena 12:37 PM 03-05-2003
Boy, I've not dealt with that (thank goodness - only once have I had a day trip for work, causing me to have to leave the house before dd got up - that was traumatic enough for her (and me!)). You might want to post a question in the "parenting" forum about this, as there are a lot of working moms who post there about work-related issues (given that this board still lacks a "working parents" forum : ). Some of the mamas who post there may have dealt with this issue.
delighted.mama's Avatar delighted.mama 04:34 PM 03-05-2003
Hi! I've BTDT! DD is almost 14 months old. I remember that the time between about 9-11 months was the hardest for me. She wasn't drinking as much milk as I pumped and was eating more solids. (she made up for the milk intake at night! LOL!) I was getting tired of pumping 2x a day, plus I ran home during lunch for a nursing session. Although I had tons of energy when I started this frantic schedule, a few months later, I was wiped out. WHat helped me was to start working out. That actually gave me more energy. OF course, eating healthy and drinking lots of water is a must!

The other thing that helped, is that I started cutting down my pumping schedule. I was less stressed out and less frantic when I did that. DD did not drink the ebm that I pumped anyway. At most, she would take about 3 oz a day. So, I started by cutting out 1 pumping session when she was 11 months old. In a couple of weeks, I tried to see what it would be like if I only nursed during lunch. She nursed when I came home, but not too much. So, I dropped the 2nd pumping session and only nursed during lunch. In the last month or so, however, she isn't too interested in nursing at lunch, so I haven't been going home as much. We nurse in the morning, after work, before bed and about 2-3x at night. It seems to be working out so far. Anyway, HTH! Good Luck and hang in there! YOu are doing a WONDERFUL thing for your baby! Be proud that you have made it this far!!!
maggie coulthard's Avatar maggie coulthard 10:56 AM 03-11-2003
... just found these two sites with lots of tips for business travel and resuming breastfeeding afterwards. Thought others might find them interesting...



Marlena's Avatar Marlena 12:15 PM 03-11-2003
Thanks for the links!

By the way, in Parenting the Working Mothers forum is up and running, so you may have better luck trying work-related questions there!