Breastfeeding while working, Can it work?

Megan - posted on 10/25/2009 ( 19 moms have responded )

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Im currently breastfeeding my son (7 months) but Im going back to in a month. I do want to keep breastfeeding for as long as I can. Am i being unrealistic still wanting to breastfeed while going to work?? Has anyone done this and have some advice??

(I am only going back to work for eight hours a week to start off with then i may increase my hrs depending on how things work out.)

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Minnie - posted on 10/25/2009

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Since your son will be eight months old when you go back to work he can have solids and water or expressed breastmilk in a cup and you can nurse him at your breast when you're together.



In fact, it's not necessary that you send him pumped milk while he's at his caregiver's as long as you're getting in at least four good nursings a day and making sure to nurse at night.



Truly, at his age, it's not as hard as one would make it out to be. I would imagine that the difficult issue would be his source of comfort, not nutrition, if he's used to deriving comfort solely at your breast (as is my own 12 month old). I have heard that infants who are breastfed tend to not expect it so much when in the care of others as long as they are sensitive to providing comfort to the baby- in the form of rocking and carrying a lot.

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User - posted on 10/28/2009

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What also helps too is starting to pump after every feeding and storing them in the freezer.

Jessica - posted on 10/28/2009

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Hi Megan
I can tell you that it does work if you want it to. My DD will be 2 on the 7th of november and I had to go back to work when she was 2 months old. I had stored about 2 months of milk in the frezer and my daughter quit taking the bottle one night after I had been at work for about a month. she just refused to take the bottle and so my sis in law or my husband brought her to work so I could nurse her at work everyday for the 6 months. I am going to let her self ween.

User - posted on 10/28/2009

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Great job for making it for 7 months!

I was breastfeeding also, about 2 months after Kaytlin was born I decided to go to school full time (8 hours a day). At first it was easy pumping about every 2-3 hours, but as I got busy it was really hard to keep it up. There are days that I missed the whole day pumping, or I forget something at home, or only can pump once or twice... or something. So she switched to mostly formula by 6 months.

So my advice to you is... it is realistic, if you can really commit to it. But, since you are going only 8 hours a week, I think it will be very realistic.

Happy nursing!

Jamie - posted on 10/28/2009

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Just chiming in with everyone else. It is possible. I went back to work part-time when my daughter was 4 months old working 4 hours in the morning. We're at 13 months and still going strong. And she NEVER took a bottle --- or even a sippy cup of breast milk. I've never had an issue with my milk supply and since she wouldn't take expressed milk I rarely pumped. It can be done!

Stephanie - posted on 10/28/2009

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youre definatly not crazy many moms feel this same way! what i did when i went back was just pumped while was away from baby to keep my supply up and had the caregiver give my milk to the baby in a bottle there are a lot of good books with good advice on returning back to work at your library or even on the net

Amberlee - posted on 10/28/2009

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when I had my second child I was working full time. I managed to brestfeed exclusively the entire time. I was lucky in that I had a boss who let me take my 15 min breaks in his office to pump, and spent my lunch hour pumping. It takes a lot of work, but I think it's definately worth it.

Heather - posted on 10/28/2009

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I went back to work after three months and breastfed my son until he was 14 months old. You can do it - get a good pump and be sure to pump on a regular schedule. I fed him or pumped before I left for work, pumped at 11 am, pumped at 3 pm, sometimes nursed when I got home if he wanted snuggles and then nursed my son before bed. It's tough but you can do it! Good luck.

[deleted account]

It is absolutely possible. I had to go back to work when my son was 6 weeks old. He's 13 months, and is still breastfed. I did pump around every 2-3 hours in order to provide bottles for when he was at daycare, but stopped needing to pump at about 11 months (though I was nursing him at lunch time every day). I think co-sleeping has really helped us to maintain breastfeeding despite my working full-time. My son nurses on demand in the evenings, and nurses some in bed at night. Supply was never an issue, and (once I had some practice with the pump) it would only take 5-10 minutes to pump well more than I needed to fill bottles for the next day. At 8 months, your milk supply is likely well established.

Shannon - posted on 10/26/2009

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Breastfeeding while working is very possible. Buy a dual breast pump to cut down on pumping time. Also make sure you have somewhere to do it and somewhere to store the milk. If you can't pump while at work then do it right before you leave and as soon as you get home. Make sure to keep extra nursing pads with you and also an extra shirt & bra just in case you leak. In order to keep your milk supply up you can pump after every feeding and then anytime in between baby feedings. The plastic storage bags work great and fresh milk can be stored in a little cooler with ice packs while you work. Keep it up because it is worth it. Good luck!!

Vanessa - posted on 10/26/2009

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Of course you can do it! One of my really good friends went back to work when her baby was 3 months old and she maintained until about 14 months without any problems. My son is 10 months old now and it's going well so far. I pump 3 times while at work (I'm away from him for about 9 hours). I am sending 12 ounces (3 4oz bottles) plus a little more (1 oz) to mix in with his cereal. He seems fine. I bet he doesn't even need the 3rd bottle, but I have it so I send it. We nurse as soon as we get back home and again right before bed. Then I pump a few hours after that to help maintain. Good luck.

Minnie - posted on 10/26/2009

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Look at this logically- there are plenty of babies who sleep through the night at least seven hours without nursing at all. If that happens consistently, yes mother's supply would decrease, but ONLY DURING THAT TIME.



If you didn't pump, your baby had water and solids while away from you for those five hours, and you nursed frequently when together and during the night what you would be doing is called 'reverse cycling.'



It's not going to jeopardize your supply to not pump for an older baby during those five hours. By then you'll have a well-established milk supply, and from the above reason you can see that it really just involves a switch of schedules- more nursing in the evening and night rather than the midday. In fact, more nursing during the night will ensure a good continuing milk supply, as prolactin, the hormone responsible for maintaining milk production, is in its highest concentration during the night.



You can certainly send pumped milk if you wish, but it isn't an absolute necessity.

Megan - posted on 10/26/2009

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My main thought is my milk decreasing and I really dont want it to. My son feeds every 4 hrs but he normally gets a little bit more before he goes to sleep during the day to help settle. I will be gone for 5 hrs and one lady said you need to pump or breastfeed every 4 hrs or your milk will decrease.
Should I pump while at work?? I only have a 15 min break though...

Rachel - posted on 10/25/2009

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It is absolutely possible! I had to go back to work when my first was 8 weeks old--I pumped for him so he could have expressed milk while I was gone until he was 18 months old :) When I was home, he nursed straight from the tap. At 18 months, he told me he didn't want mommy milk in his cup anymore, he would wait for me to come home and get it straight from me :) He weaned himself completely at 27 months. Since your baby is older and you won't be gone a lot, you may not even need to pump--it just depends on what your baby's needs are. At that age, my little guy wouldn't have gone eight hours without some breastmilk (as you can tell by the fact that I kept pumping until he was 18 months old!)--at 8 months he was probably still drinking 10-15 oz while I was gone and then nursing a ton when I was home. He liked solids but at that age they were still more to play with than to provide food :)

Brandie - posted on 10/25/2009

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With my first 2 girls, I went back to work teaching full time and continue to breast feed. I had to rent a hospital grade pump to help keep up my milk supply and used it 3 time a day at work. It was very difficult and time consuming but very worth it. Both girls self weaned after a year of nursing with no problems. Like I said, it's tough but can be done!

Debra - posted on 10/25/2009

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I breastfed and worked full-time for 9 months. I would pump twice a day, the same time and same amount that the baby would feed at childcare. You should have no problem, just dont go more that four hours without expressing your milk or it will start to decrease.

Pamela - posted on 10/25/2009

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Years, ago, I did not pump. But when I got home and the first thing I did was nurse. I would have such a great let down. That I would nurse on one side and express from the other. I always had enough for the next day.

The main draw back is I was only gone 7 hrs, not 8-9 hrs. So be careful that you don't go to long.

As long as you drink plenty of fluids, it's about you taking care of yourself and your body needing to supply enough for your child. The more you drink and the longer you nurse, your body will produce.

Check out LaLeche web. I could have never done it with out them.

KC - posted on 10/25/2009

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I was working 4-5 hours a day 8 weeks after my daughter was born and I managed to breastfeed until 9 months. it is hard and takes a committment but it is doable. I would get the biggest, fastest pump you can and go to town. Unfortunately sometimes my pumping schedule got me out of rhythm from her eating schedule so she would get most of her feedings from the bottle, but it was all breast milk. After her teeth came in at 6 months that was o.k. with me!

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