Nursing a toddler and shift work - Mothering Forums

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Old 06-12-2012, 03:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My daughter will turn 1 in a couple of weeks and nursing is still going great for us. I pump at work, but am down to one session from two, and usually get about 5 oz. I came home today to find my husband had not given her any milk for the 10 hours I was gone and that she did all right on big people food and water. I know lots of moms stop pumping at about 1 year and continue to nurse before and after work, and I think that she will handle it okay if she no longer gets milk while I'm gone... but there's one caveat in my situation, and that's that I work variable shifts. Typically my shifts are 8-4 or 2-10 or something similar to one of those, and so I'm gone for about 9 hours. If I worked, say, 9-5 every day, I'd just drop the day feeds and nurse in the morning, evening, and night, but I'm at a loss for how that would work in my current situation because the only time I'm really guaranteed to be with her is overnight and first thing in the morning. Anyone BTDT?

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Old 06-12-2012, 09:12 PM
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You might also try posting this in Working and Student Parents as well.  They might have some really good input there. :)


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Old 06-13-2012, 09:20 AM
 
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At this point your supply is very well established and you will probably have no trouble producing when with her even though the timing is variable. If you want to be on the safe side, you can do one short pump on your lunch/dinner break (whenever it happens to be) just so you maintain some demand throughout the day. Btw it's great that you can pump at this point. At around 8 or 9 months, the pump stopped working for me. DD could nurse and get a nice big feed but my body would only respond to her and not the pump. She is 14 months now and I'd love a chance to leave her with grandma and some milk, but those days are gone lol
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Old 06-13-2012, 11:28 AM
 
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How regular is your shift schedule? I talked to a lactation consultant around that time (12-14 months) about whether I had to keep pumping. DS had stopped taking pumped milk from a bottle (in fact, he stopped a little earlier) and I was concerned about dropping my milk supply if I stopped pumping. She said that I might be able to get away with pumping every other day if I wanted to pump a little less, but trick my body into thinking baby was around more. So, if you have the 8-4 shifts every other day, and the 2-10 shifts every other day, then your body might not know any better and keep producing (albeit confusedly!). But, if you work, say 4 days in a row, 8-4, and then 4 days in a row 2-10, then your body will probably have a hard time continuing to produce. You would probably have trouble getting much milk from 10 to 8. So, I would say, if you are concerned about your supply, keep pumping if it is likely that your body will start getting used to a given shift (as in, same thing at least two days in a row), even though you might not ever use the milk (even better, look into donating it if you can).

 

Your DD is fine with big people food (and milk/yogurt), but your supply will not be!
 

On the other hand, if you are looking forward to weaning, as I know some people are, then you might just go with it and let your supply decrease. Or, maybe producing from 10pm to 8 am might be enough, depending on what your DD's sleep schedule is like (we kept an 11 pm feeding for that same reason -- in fact, at 20 months, still do it, for better or for worse!)


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Old 06-13-2012, 11:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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You might be onto something there, porcelina. My schedule is part-time and pretty irregular. I work three days a week, some combination of M/T/Th/Sat, and which days and times varies according to what is needed that week. So the chances that I'll work the same shift on even two back-to-back days is not that high since I only ever work Monday/Tuesday back to back.
 

Did you do pumping every other day like the LC suggested? If so, how did it end up working out?

 

I don't get actual breaks, I just have to sneak out when it's slow, then fight to get caught up when I get back... another reason I'd like to be done.

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Old 06-14-2012, 02:03 PM
 
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My DD is 19 mths and I have been back to work since she turned 1 and I work rotating shifts (afternoons, days and nights) since I am an emergency services worker.  We're still nursing and going strong and I have never pumped.  I find my supply just goes up and down as she requires.  When I'm gone all day, when we reunite she nurses a good amount to catch up.  Then on my days off she nurses a lot and gets my supply back up.  I haven't found it to be a problem at all....and she refuses to drink any milk when I'm gone but it hasn't affected her growth whatsoever....she is a huge toddler,  

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Old 06-14-2012, 04:14 PM
 
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To answer your question, I actually did notice a slight decease in my supply; I was pumping Tues and Thurs, I think (same hrs of the week). It was fine for me because I gradually just phased out the daytime nursing except for one session. It sounds like your shifts may be spaced out and irregular enough for it to work for you. You can try it for a week or two and see how it goes, and as long as you are nursing enough when you are with her, you can change your min if it's not working for you and build that supply back up if necessary.

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Old 06-16-2012, 12:45 AM
 
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My Dd  is 2.5, but I stopped pumping at work shortly after for 1st birthday.  I didn't change the way I feed her on my days off with her.  I work 12 hour shifts, sometimes 7am-7pm. other times 7pm-7am.  When I'm off she nurses frequently through the day or night, but when I'm at work she does fine without it.  I only work weekends, so I have all week off with her, so my situation is slightly different, but I never noticed a decrease in my supply after a weekend away.  We  both can't wait to get nursing the second I walk in the door after 12+ hours away though!

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Old 07-06-2012, 03:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the responses, everyone. I got through Tuesday and Thursday without pumping at work. I was full at the end of the night but not horribly so, and I pumped one breast after I got home yesterday. I'm prepared to pump when working 2 days in a row, under the principle of keeping supply up. My daughter has been nursing as usual, so I can't detect any change right now. We'll see how this ends up going.

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Old 07-15-2012, 01:32 PM
 
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I stopped pumping 2 months ago and DD still nurses and I feel like I have plenty of milk when I get home from work to nurse her as well as nursing her again before bed. I still wake her before I leave in the morning to get a last feed in since I feel somewhat full when I wake up. On weekends she nurses before nap and sometimes an additional 1 or 2 times throughout the day.

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