Has anyone successfully worked and NOT used formula?

Bonnie - posted on 01/09/2009 ( 53 moms have responded )

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I am exclusively breastfeeding/pumping and I have no desire to ever use formula. I am going back to work when my daughter will be 4 months old. I have a place and two times a day that I can theoretically pump, but I have so many friends that gave up once they started working again. They said it was too hard to keep it up. Can you share your story of success or failure and offer any advice?

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Jessica - posted on 08/06/2011

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It is absolutely possible. My now 2 1/2 year old son has never had a drop of formula (and thank God I never gave in and tried because he has a severe milk,egg,nut allergy). I returned to work when he was 6 months old and still nurse him in the evenings now. My best advice is to build a big frozen stash now. Double electric pump is essential. If your insurance won't cover local WIC office will,even if you don't qualify for WIC assistance. Once back to work BF before leaving baby in the morning and of course on demand when with the baby, Stay hydrated throughout the day and get your body used to pumping every few hours,like you would while at work. Stick to the schedule as best as you can, it will make pumping easier and more effective.If you find you aren't pumping enough volume for your baby while you are away look into using a tea(Mothers milk,etc) or supplement to help increase it-it works. Also, kelly's mom has a wonderful information sheet to give to caregivers feeding breastmilk to baby,about hunger cues, how to not waste breastmilk,etc. Good luck,you CAN do it!

Carly - posted on 08/05/2011

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Both my boys were both breast milk exclusive until 12 months and I went back to work 4 wks after my first was born and 7 wks after my 2nd was born. I work for a great employer, so I was able to make sure they had a clean, private place for me to pump. With my 1st, I pumped at least 3 times during the work day. I was new to the whole thing, so I didn't start pumping right after he was born and I was always paranoid my milk was running out, but he had MAYBE 2 bottles that were formula the whole time. I had the hang of it by my 2nd one and worked for a new company w/ onsite daycare and was actually able to go in and nurse him at least once a day when we first went back and they let me use an empty office to have a clean, private place to pump. I got down to a routine of pumping at about 3 times a day, sometimes only 2 after a while, and had a great supply stocked up so i was able to stop pumping and would just nurse in the mornings and evenings at home. It seemed overwhelming at times (hormones don't help), but I stuck it out and have never regretted it!

Tanya - posted on 08/03/2011

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I had to go back to work when my oldest was 6 weeks old and i would feed him from one side only before i left and then pump the other side to leave a fresh bottle for him that morning, i then pumped durring my lunch break and then nursed him when i got home from one side and pumped the other side to freeze. on the weekends i would pump at least 2-3 times to fill up extra bottles for freezing and the first 6 weeks i had been pumping to have extra in the freezer. i worked outside the home until he was 14 months and he never had formula. i am currently nursing 18 month old twins and they have never had formula either- your body will make more if the demand is there. good luck

Rosalie - posted on 01/12/2009

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I was able to do it with my daughter! I went back to work when she was 10 weeks old... my mom was here watching her so I asked her to call me everytime she fed her so I could pump at the same time and keep up my supply. At the time I was working M-F 8-5. My schedule was: up at 5:30 am - pump - shower/get ready; 6:30 - wake up the baby and nurse her before I left for work around 7:15 or 7:30 am. I was averaging pumping 3 times per day at work and she was getting about 3 bottle a day (of breastmilk). I did this for about 3 months until I started working more from home, when she was about 6 months old. She didn't have any formula until she was almost 9 months old - when I went back on the pill and she started getting teeth (ouch!).
What was very helpful about that job was that I had my own office with a door so it was easy to pump. I am going back to work again in 6 weeks after I just had my son and he will be about 3 1/2 months old. Unfortunately, I don't have the luxury of an office this time but I am determined to do it!!

Burnise - posted on 01/12/2009

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I've been succesufully working , pumping , and breastfeeding for 8 months. If you have an understanding boss, motivation, and a place to sneak away and pump. Everything will work out fine.........Good Luck.

Allie - posted on 01/12/2009

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I managed to work and not use formula, I was lucky not to have to return to work until he was 9 months and I kept up pumping at work until he was 13 months. He noe has cow's milk during the day but I still feed him at night and on my days off. I had a very supportive employer who protected my time so that I could pump regularly.
Good luck

Tisha - posted on 01/11/2009

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I have successfully worked and continued exclusively breastfeeding.I pump as much as possible even at work. My son is 7 months and loving his mommy's milk. I feed him from the breast when I'm at home so I can save his pumped milk for a later time. It can be a little more work but I would not trade it for anything. When I come home from work my breasts are usually full,so pumping is easier.

Erika - posted on 01/11/2009

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All it takes is a strong will to continue pumping, and you'll be fine... i left my oldest daughter at home when she was 5m old, I pumped 2x a day at the office -- in fact, even on business trips! I believe a good pump is key (invest in a hi-quality electric pump, or borrow one if you can!). The second key for me was organization and a schedule -- i breastfed right before leaving the house and right away at the end of the day. We breastfed exclusively, no formula, for 9 months straight. I am now a mother of 3, and on my 3rd wonderful breastfeeding experience. You can do it!! Congratulations for asking, you have gotten wonderful responses. Good luck!!

Erika
Mexico City

Jill - posted on 01/11/2009

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I pumped and worked for two years with my three year old and never needed formula and I'm doing the same with my 4 month old.  Its alot of work but  VERY worth it.  Get the best pump you can afford and keep at it.  Good luck.

Ciera - posted on 01/11/2009

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My daughter is almost 8 months old, she has never had formula. I also never want her to have formula. Breast feeding is very important to me. I made sure my employeer knoew that. I only pump twice during the day at work, on my 15 minute breaks. My milk supply has not been effected. I nurse her whenever we are together, I think this helps alot. My daughter is also eating babyfood now, so I pump at those feedings on the weekends. To build up a milk supply I also pumped on my lunch for 2 months. I did this after I had to dump my previous supply, due to her new found allergies.Just remember every women is differant, you will find what works for you. Do not stop suooner than you want to no matter what others think.

Stephanie - posted on 01/11/2009

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My baby is 5 1/2 months old and I've been back for almost 3 months. We've been able to do it, although it gets difficult when she gos through a growth spurt. I've had to reach into my frozen supply that I started right before I went back. We'll see how long we can keep it up, but any breastfeeding is better than non. Even if you can't continue to exclusively breastfeed due to your baby's demand or work schedule, you can still nurse whenever you can. Good luck - it takes commitment and dedication, but it's a nice way to take time during your day to do something just for your baby. It keeps you connected with them while you're away.

Jessica - posted on 01/11/2009

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I just went back to work as a sales rep, so I drive a lot, while calling on hospitals. After one week I can honestly say that this is going to be a roller coaster of ups and downs. The places I found to pump are: my car (front seat covered by coat, back seat still covered by coat) in parking lots both full (jump everytime I hear someone) and empty(still jump), babies r us mother room, hospital nicu pumping room, and a friends office. It is so hilarious to see people's faces when you first ask them for some space to pump your milk. My son is 12 weeks now, eating around 9 oz during the day while I am gone and nursing in the evening and at night. I am nursing in the early am, getting ready for the day, then pumping before I leave the house. I pump twice through the day about every 3-4 hours when its convienent, then nurse as soon as I get home. An LC suggested skin contact that first nursing time once home because this will help him realize I am home for him, and its all okay. This was because he didn't do so great on the day we had a nanny come, the other days he was with my husband and was fine. So I stripped him down, took off my shirt and we cuddled. It really was nice for me as well, as I am starting to feel a little blue/exhausted with all my responsibilities. Because even though I went back to work, I am still mom and wife first, and my load has not lessened at home, and it has gotten bigger at work! I don't think husbands or the world realize that sometimes bf moms have the energy of a 9mo prego woman, we just don't have the big belly to show the world we need some slack!

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Oh yeah forgot to mention. I would nurse her at 6am, then pump at 9, 1, 4, nurse her at 7 and then pump again at 10pm while she was sleeping. That was the only was I could get enough for her. I was also weird about having some in the freezer even though I've heard it's better to have it fresh because your milk is dynamic- changing as they age to meet their current needs. It still made me feel good having a stash in there.

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Bonnie,

I think the main thing is making pumping a priority. It sucks, but you can do it.

I was dead set on NO FORMULA. It just was not an option for me. Sadly my supply got so low at one point I was pumping for 30 min and getting just drops. :( I was sobbing! I took drastic measures and I was able to continue giving her as much breast milk as I could but had to use 1 scoop of formula in each bottle while she was at daycare. It broke my heart but my lactation consultant told me formula is like medicine. When you need it, you use it and thank God we have it and when you don't need it anymore you put it back on the shelf. She told me formula is not evil and it will not be the worst thing. I nursed to 14 months and I think I used 1 can of formula to supplement the whole time.



I never used to believe those women that said they couldn't make enough milk but it does happen. I just thought they weren't dedicated enough and didn't understand lactation--until it happened to me! However, I can be proud of what I was able to do for my daughter. Whatever, happens it will be ok. Best of luck! Happy pumping!

Kirsten - posted on 01/10/2009

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I went back to work full time when my daughter was 3 months old. She is now 8 months old and I has not had a drop of formula yet. I nurse her first thing in the morning (6am) then pump at work at 9:30am, 12:30pm and 4pm. About a month ago she decided that she wanted milk faster that it would come out of my breast, so I went to evening pumpings as well...when before I was nursing in the evenings too. So I will usually pump again at 7pm and 10pm before going to bed. My milk supply has actually gone up since going to the evening pumping because I don't think she was draining me completely due to getting frustrated. There have been a couple of days in the last 8 months that we've had to use the stuff that I have frozen, but we still have a good stash of it in the freezer, and with her eating more solid foods now, I still haven't had a problem. Pumping isn't as nice as the breast feeding, but I think it's better than formula for baby's health and for my pocket book! Good luck! You can do it! It really is possible!

Sara - posted on 01/10/2009

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My daughter is almost 5 mos old, and I went back to work full time at 12 weeks. My pumping schedule is similar to many above: wake up, nurse, pump, nurse - drop off at daycare - pump at 10, pump at 12:30 (although I'm fortunate enough to have a daycare close enough that I can actually go and feed her myself a couple times a week), pump at 3, pick up from daycare, and feed at home. My daughter takes three 4 oz bottles during the day. Sometimes she will get hungry at 4-4:30, and so I leave an extra 2 oz bottle to get her through until I can feed her myself. I pump in the morning on the weekends. I sometimes have those "not so much" pumping days, so I try to pump after I put my baby to sleep a few times a week, if I can.

I am very grateful when I am able to pump hands free at work. I use this method:

http://www.kellymom.com/bf/pumping/hands...

and sometimes these tops also allow me to pump hands free:

http://www.motherhood.com/Product.asp?Vi...

I just get the shields wedged in behind the fabric and can try to get some paperwork done while pumping.

It can definitely get tedious. Pumping is just not as enjoyable as BFing your beautiful baby... but it's worth it on in so many ways. Economics not the least of them!

Shay - posted on 01/10/2009

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I am doing it right now. My son is 8 mos and I went back to work when he was 4 mos old as well. It is difficult but you can definatly do it. I just do some extra pumping on the weekend when my stash gets low and it gets easier once they start solids too. You can do it!

Brandy - posted on 01/10/2009

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Hi, it's possible it just takes a lot of work.  My baby is 7 months and I recently returned to work. I pump first thing in the morning and once mid afternoon.  I allow her to breastfeed in the evenings until bedtime.  I pump again right before bed.  If you're worried about your milk supply you can try a bowl of oatmeal every morning or try drinking a cup of Mother's Milk tea 2-3 times a day.  Good luck. It'll be easiers as the baby gets older and starts taking cereal and baby food.

Sara - posted on 01/10/2009

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My daughter is 3 months, I went back to work at 6 weeks.  We are exclusively BF and no formula.  I am a teacher and do not have time to pump during the day other than at lunch.  So I do it then and get 2 bottles, and do once in the morning before we leave for her 3rd for the day.  In the beginning I would also pump during the night.... but now I prefer the extra sleep because I am able to pump her 3 bottles she needs a day in the 2 times I pump.  I worry that my supply may lessen over time (especially with stress level) but when she starts cereal I figure that will help a little too.  I say hang in there, and you can make it work, but if you have to add in formula don't be too hard on yourself!!!!   

Diane - posted on 01/10/2009

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My son is 7 1/2 months old and I do not use any formula.  I think i just got use to the pumping and breastfeeding that is just became part of my day.  I have the medula double pump and I use that to get my 2 bottles at work and I pump in the morning.   It works for me that way.   I had also started freezing milk every chance that I could.  Good Luck

Audra - posted on 01/10/2009

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I breastfed my daughter exclusively without using formula for over a year. I had to go back to wok after 3 months It is possible!!! Don't give up. As long as you work somewhere that is supportive of your pumping you will be O.K. If your milk supply goes down there are things you can do to fix it(herbs, etc). I had my second child Oct 6th and go back to work next week. I plan on continuing to give him breastmilk only for at least a year. If you have any questions...please ask!

Amanda - posted on 01/10/2009

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I went back to work full time when my daughter was 7wks old and was able to pump when I needed to It was hard but I determined I had a hard time pumping alot but my daughter was a very light eater and a lazy nurser so I never had a great supply but I was determined and she never needed formula and 16 months later I am still breastfeeding although at 12 months I stopped pumping. I am glad I made ith through those 12 months I feel my daughter really benifited from it. Don't stress if you can't pump enounh and need to use formula too, she will benifit from any milk she gets from you. good luck

Carrie - posted on 01/10/2009

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wow.  You've already had a ton of replies.  Just wanted to add if anyone else hadn't said it already - Read the milk memos.  such a good book.  I pumped from 3mo to 13mo with my son - it can be done, but it can be a hard road.  i just set small goals for myself when I was having a hard time.  telling myself I'd pump for at least one more week before deciding if i'm going to quit.... then another week, then another, before i knew it, it had been six months :)  the last half of the year went a lot faster because I was really in a routine.  by the end i was actually sad to quit. 

Kandi - posted on 01/10/2009

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I wanted to add:
I have an Ameda pump and it cost us $200.00. My husband at first shrieked when he saw the price of it- and as he was calculating the cost we WOULD HAVE spent on formula- he figured that by the end of the first month of me working, the pump had paid for itself in the money we saved on formula. Now we are expecting our second baby and plan to do the same- and the pump has more than paid for itself.

Good luck!

Michelle - posted on 01/10/2009

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I went back to work when my daughter was 7 weeks old. Now she's 4 months, and I've still been exclusively pumping & breastfeeding. My husband takes her to daycare before I have to leave for work, so I usually feed her in the early morning, pump around 6:30 - 7am, then go to work. I can only pump on my lunch break, and usually get around 6-7 ounces at that pump. There's a refrigerator where I can store it, so that works well. I have a Medela PUmp in style & it works wonderfully. I pump again when I get home, usually feed her if she's hungry then pump. So far it's been working well. Mothers Milk tea is the best! It can help increase your supply if you're having issues. My goal is to go for 1 yr too. At first it is very lonely at lunch, cause you're all alone pumping while your coworkers are having fun, and you have to get good at eating w/ one hand while pumping, etc. But you get better at it as time goes on. It can be done, but now I understand WHY people would want to stop. It is definitely hard work! Good luck to you! : )

Lori - posted on 01/09/2009

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I've been back at work for a little over a month now.  I work nights (5pm-1am) so it is easier for my husband as Dean sleeps the majority of the time and only goes through about 10 ounces a night on average.  I pump 2 times at work once at 8pm and once at 11pm.  I also breastfeed as soon as I get home and then whenever else he wants to eat at night.  He nurses during the day and he just started eating abit of cereal mixed with breastmilk.  I did not think that I was going to be able to handle working and pumping, but it is actually quite easy.  I enjoy the time away from the phones and I use the first break to call home and check on the kids and my husband! It was much harder with my oldest and I quit beastfeeding her at a young age and went to formula.  I will not put another one of my children on formula because she had too many issues with trying to find one that she could keep down.  Anyway, good luck with going back to work.  It is hard at first, but it does get easier!

Brooke - posted on 01/09/2009

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I went back to work when my daughter was 3 months old. I was committed to breastfeeding, so when I returned to work, I spoke with my (male) supervisor and simply told him that I was breastfeeding and would be taking pumping breaks as needed. I was working in consulting, so I was staffed at a client site, which made it a little more challenging to find a spot to pump. I then found a floor coordinator at the client site and asked if they had a comfort room. They did not have one designated, but we agreed I could use a file room. And from that point on, I continued to pump for the next 10 months.

I would wake my daughter up in the morning before leaving for work and breastfeed her and put her back down to sleep (we were fortunate to have my hubby's parents come to the house to care for our daugher). Then at work, I pumped mid morning, at lunch, and then mid afternoon. As soon as I got home, I would then nurse my daughter. I made sure to have my in-laws time my daugher's feedings at home so that she would be hungry when I got home and would be ready to nurse.

I will admit, sometines it got pretty old pumping. But it was important to me that my daughter only had breastmilk. Yes, it's time consuming, but the benefits are obviously worth it. Sometimes I would cherish these breaks just to get away from co-workers! And I also thought that so many co-workers were taking more smoke breaks a day than I was taking pumping breaks, so I didn't feel to guilty. I often would bring my laptop in with me when I went to pump and hold my double-breast pump with one hand and type with the other. Sometimes I would catch up on phone calls too while I was pumping! (I once had someone ask me if there was one of those old-dot matrix printers running in the background!)

My main suggestions would be the following:
1.Make sure before you go back or on Day 1 back at work that you let the person you report to know that you are breastfeeding and will need to take pumping breaks. Ensure him/her that you will make up the extra time by coming in a little early or staying a little late if there are any concerns that you aren't "putting in your time".
2.) Make sure you have a really good pump. The cost can be a bit shocking, but in my opinion so worth it and it's what made my pumping at work successful. It should be a double breast pump, and if it has the 2 phase technology, that's even better (makes the pumping go a little easier and faster). I used the Medela Pump in Style, and it was my best friend! (They've now come out with an even better model, and I wish I could jusitfy getting it.)
3.) Understand that you will have good days and bad days with pumping, and be okay with it. Some days you may pump a ton, other days not so much. Try and get in several extra pumping sessions before you go back to work and freeze them so that you can have a back-up on the days that you don't pump as much as your daughter eats. I actually had a little notebook in my pump bag and wrote down how many ounces I pumped at each session so that I could easily track my production vs. how much the kiddo was eating.

Best wishes!

Heather - posted on 01/09/2009

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YOU CAN DO IT!!!!  I am currently working full-time and have not given my daughter any formula.  My daughter, Myra, is my second child (5 months old) and I also pumped, while working, for my son who is now 3 yrs. old.  I definately say it is a commitment.  You have to be dedicated to this goal, because it is easy for time to pass at work and you not keep up on your pumping schedule.  So, with that said, I suggest you decide the two times that will work best for you and be as consistent with those times as you possibly can.  Also, when you are at home and nursing your daughter....pump afterwards to get any remaining milk and to also "trick your boobs" into thinking the supply has increased.  Have you started storing milk in the freezer?  I think I did about a couple weeks before returning to work.  You should have that freezer collection for emergencies and should be able to pump what your baby needs.  I would gladly chat with you more on this issue if you need any more suggestions or have any questions.



 

Candace - posted on 01/09/2009

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I went back to work after 8 weeks with my daughter and was able to pump and breastfeed for nearly two years.  I actually stopped pumping at work after she was about a year old.



My son is about 7 months old now and same thing, went back to work after 8 weeks and I plan on pumping for a year, breastfeeding as long as he likes.



With both kids I've kind of kept the same schedule.  I pump in the morning, either before or after feeding my son--depends on when he wakes up.  Sometimes if I'm rushed for time I pump while I'm feeding him, but he tends to get distracted easily.  With my daughter, who was a bit less distractable I just used a hand pump on the side I wasn't feeding her.



I then pump 2 times at work, once at 10:30 and once at 3:00.  I make sure I bring a great book or magazine and sometimes my Nintendo DS.  I try to make these pumping breaks something I really look forward to.  I find that I can pump a lot more if I'm relaxed. 



I usually feed my son as soon as we get home, then throughout the evening.  I follow my morning pumping schedule on the weekends as well.  I also try to throw a late night pumping in if at all possible.  I've been able to keep my supply up enough for daycare and for a couple of extra bottles a week so daddy can feed him.



 

Tami - posted on 01/09/2009

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I went back to work when LO was 6 weeks and she's only 12 weeks now. So I'm not past that point to give full advice, but I have noticed my supply has gone down some b/c I can only pump at lunch - of course before I was engorged by 3 hours! If you are able to pump more then that will help. But I rent a medela symphony from the hospital and it works wonders!!! Plus it has a car adaptor and I seriously use it! haha And I EBF at home and weekends. I also still pump in the middle of the night and quite a bit on the weekends for daycare and the deep freeze. It's just amazing what we can provide our little ones and it is worth it. Good luck Momma!

Jessica - posted on 01/09/2009

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I went back to work when my daughter was 9 weeks old.  Usually I was away from her for about six hours, so I nursed before leaving, pumped twice at work, and nursed as soon as I got home.  If I worked a full day in the office I would pump three times.  I pumped when she would normally have nursed and never needed to use formula.  In order to have enough for bottles I would get up in the middle of the night and pump.  The night pumping, added to the two daytime pumpings, gave me more than enough milk (I still have some frozen!).  I stopped the night pumpings at 1 year, and pumping at work at 15 months.  She's  currently 20 months and still nurses twice a day.  You can do it!!  I'm so glad that I stuck it out, it definitely gets easier as they get older, and it feels good knowing that you're doing something that is so good for them.

Heather - posted on 01/09/2009

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Oh, and I want to add that I chose not to pump during my second opportunity so that I don't have to stay after school to finish my work.  I can go home and see my little guy! 

Heather - posted on 01/09/2009

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I started storing breastmilk as soon as mine came in.  I was able to pump twice during the day, but I'm a teacher and I needed my planning period to get work done so I ended up just pumping once.  My son went through my supply within two months.  Now he gets at least one breastmilk bottle at the sitter and then formula.  I nurse him when I am with him.  My body is pretty used to the schedule and it works great for us.

Sandy - posted on 01/09/2009

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I see a lot of good advice here. The only thing I did differently was I would get up in the middle of the night, around 2 or 3 and pump. It only took 10 minutes, then fill the bags, throw the parts in the dishwasher, turn it on and off to sleep. All this in less than 20 minutes. I would be up again at 6 am for work. Keeping the supply going 24 hours a day meant plenty of milk in the morning to feed him before going to work. I would pump at work at 9am and 3pm and when I went home at noon for lunch. I had so much milk that I was able to keep giving him breast milk with his food for a few months after he was weaned.

Kandi - posted on 01/09/2009

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Yep...I nursed for 26 months- and no formula at all. I pumped in the morning at 5:30, again at 8:00, 11:00 and 3:00. I also pumped once each weekend day to keep my supply up. No formula ever.

My motivation??? The awful time our son had on formula. I will not allow formula in this house- ever. It IS work but to me, making formula each night was more work because of the time it took. I nursed him for 6 weeks. Long story short, he had awful colic (15 hours a day, 2 trips into the hospital for dehydration or the start of, and they could FIND NOTHING WRONG WITH HIM!). I didn't know that you could get a baby back on the breast- I didn't know a lot. That is why I like to help women who need it.

YOU CAN DO IT. Take good care!

Linsey - posted on 01/09/2009

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Oh yeah, by the way...remember it is illegal for your employer to tell you that you cannot take your breaks and pump. I had a little trouble with some co-workers and I had to go to my superviser...but they assured me they were on my side and that was important to me. You just need to let them know ahead of time so you are all on the same page about your plans when you go back to work.

Linsey - posted on 01/09/2009

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I worked, but I did cut my hours back a little. I just think you have to work harder if you want it to work. You just have to keep your supply up. I had Brady come in and that way I could nurse him while at work a couple of times , and I also pumped every 4 hours. As soon as I got home I nursed him, and I took my lunch and went home to nurse him. I worked 12 hr shifts...I was stubborn about it, my child comes first and breastfeeding exclusively was my number 1 priority. Brady is now 2 years old, almost 3 and he never had any formula. It is an amazing bond and I am very happy with my decision. Good luck and just remember it will be harder, but well worth it!!!!!!

Amanda - posted on 01/09/2009

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I went back to work when my oldest daughter born in Feb 2005 was 8 weeks old and I successfully pumped plenty for her. I worked the first 3 months after I came back 3 nights a week and always 12 hour shifts because I work in a hospital. I never had a problem finding a place to pump. I told them when I returned and I think even before I returned also that I would definately need a private place to pump and it was non - negotiable!! My management was very nice in providing my needs. I have to say that it did get a little bit tough by the time my daughter was around 6 months old, I think working all night and having to be awake to watch my daughter all day the next day while daddy went to work was hard on my supply. I started on 12 hour day shifts when she was 5 months old and pumping got easier, but that was after I had to live through fatigue for the 3 months I worked nights.



With my second daughter born in Jan. 2007 it was SOOOOOOO MUCH EASIER to keep my supply and I pumped way more than enough. Even now I have all the surplus milk that I pumped each day in my deep freeze... LOL, I think I might use it to make soap!! Anyways, I went back to work after my 2nd baby when she was a little older 12 weeks. I think that extra time I had and the fact that I was nursing my oldest daughter along with the baby did wonders in keeping me with plenty of milk to pump during the day. I would pump every 3-4 hours no longer than that though and I brought home for the first few months around 36 to 40 ounces of milk a day. My daughter usually drank no more than 4 oz. at a feeding even when she got older. MOst breastfed babies will be satisfied on a lesser amount of milk than a formula baby will also! I thought when I had my first baby that I had to keep increasing the milk in her bottles until she was drinking 8 to 10 oz a feed because my sister n law formula fed and she was giving 8 oz bottles to her 2 month old already. IT IS NOT TRUE A BREASTFED BABY NEEDS THIS MUCH THOUGH.... try a lesser amount first and then give more in 1 ounce increments if needed. I used the pump n style advanced from Medela and it was wonderful. I bought it right before I went back April 2005 and it still works great. I pumped with my first one until about 18 months. I quit for a few months because my milk decreased with the pregnancy of my second baby. I started pumping after her sister when I returned to work at 3 months postpartum and did so until I got hurt on job and out of work when she was 13 months old. I am still breastfeeding both, but do not pump right now as I have no need to while being at home. I never had to give any formula. On those tight days with my first daughter around 6-8 months before she was eating that much food and still on my milk , I would add about an ounce of water to each bottle and she was fine. I believe she also got more when I actually nursed her at home and she nursed at least 3 times at night. She did not lose any weight or suffer from having bottles with 3 oz of breastmilk and 1 oz of water. One of my leaders from La leche League actually told me one of her friends had to do this after returning to work. I do recommend that you take time for yourself after you return working, eat nutritiously as possible, and get as much rest on your days and evenings off work. Not getting sleep WILL decrease your milk supply. I found out the hard way, but I still made it without supplementing at all. Good luck!!! If you really try hard and believe in yourself you will make it work.

Sian - posted on 01/09/2009

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Hi there Bonnie, I have a 17mth old daughter who I still breast feed. I had to go back to work full time when she was 7mth old. I expressed and although would not take a bottle she would drink from a beaker or a syringe. You have to do what is best for you and your daughter but it can be done. I am now in University full time training to be a midwife and enjoy coming home and breast feeding Orla. It  may be hard for some people to keep up but once you are in a routine it becomes easier.



Good luck!!

Jodi - posted on 01/09/2009

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My daughter did not use formula.  But she also wouldn't take a bottle at day care.  So she would drink some milk straight for a cup and then she used my breastmilk in baby cereal.   My job gave me time to pump when I needed it so there was no stress there. I did a lot of pumping during the day and we did a lot of nursing at night but we made it thru.   I nursed until she was 16 months while working 32 hours a week.  I'm not saying it's easy and it's not for everyone, but I have no regrets with the amount of time it took or the dedication it needed.  You just have to find a routine that works for you and do what feels right for you and the baby.

Carrie - posted on 01/09/2009

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With my first son I went back to work and had pumped enough bottles before hand so there would be enough the first day back and an emergency supply in case my husband needed more.  (I froze that) I pumped twice a day at work and I was lucky that my pump came with a bag to store 4 bottles with an ice pack...we also had a fridge and freezer at work so I just put the small cooler in the freezer with the bottles.  Gave my  pump gear a good hot water rinse after each pump at work and a thorough cleaning when I got home.  The bottles I pumped each day at work my husband used for the next day...this way we still always had some frozen ones on hand just in case.  You just have to have the will power to keep to it.  I would turn the radio on or bring something to read to pass the time...sometimes co-workers would send me silly text messages to make me laugh while I was pumping.  I am blessed to be able to stay home with my kids now and even more so because we now added a third to the list.  Since I nurse for a year I am greatfull I don't have to pump anymore at work.  You just have to keep telling yourself it is for your baby and YOU CAN DO IT!!!!  Just bring along something to do to pass the time and it will be fine!!!  Hope that helps : )

Maria - posted on 01/09/2009

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I did it with my first baby. I returned to work after 8 weeks, but only worked M/W/F. By 12 weeks, I was back full time.



I used the Medela Pump in Style, I've read that it's one of the best ones. I pumped mid morning and mid afternoon at first. Towards the end (and after he started on baby foods), I pumped at lunch and then when I got home with my baby, I nursed him and pumped on the other side (I did that before work a lot too). I never ran out of milk and he never had a drop of formula.



If you have any problems with the let down when pumping, nursing while you pump will empty you out fast!



I didn't start pumping until right before I went back to work. The best of luck to you!

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It's not easy, that's for certain, but I had to return to work when my daughter was 3 weeks old & have successfully pumped & sustained her without the use of formula.  If you truly believe it's worth it then you'll be successful! :)  Good luck!

[deleted account]

My story of success: I worked hard on finding a comfortable, private, enjoyable place to pump 2 or 3 times a day. I had my iPod with me to help pass the time (needed more to take my mind off work than anything.)



Sometimes I would take work to read while I was there, but found it wasn't too worthwhile.



I actually moved to exclusively pumping... my daughter got eight teeth in rather quickly, and we had trouble with the biting. I'd like to say I was patient in that area but it really hurt!



In the end, I think I was actually more productive at work as a result of the time I spent away from my desk, gathering my thoughts.

Shannon - posted on 01/09/2009

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I am so happy to hear that all of you were able to go without the formula. I however was not that lucky.... even with 2 15 minute sessions to pump at work, and my son still nuring atleast 6 to 8 times a day while I am at home... I just don't have enough. I take fenugreek, drink about 8 12oz bottles of water a day... just can't pump enough. With those two sessions I manage to get a total of about 9 oz... which is only 1.5 bottles for my son while I am at work... so he get 1.5 bottles of formula while I am away. I know e gets enough when I nurse him since he is a huge child weighing in at 17.5lbs at only 4 months... and what you pump is no way to tell if you produce enough since you will never pump all of what is actually in there... good luck to you.. I hope you are able to keep up!

Anna - posted on 01/09/2009

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My little one is 3 1/2 months and I have been back at work for about a month.  Those last couple of weeks I pumped every morning during his morning nap and have about 12 bags of frozen milk in the freezer at all times.  At work I pump at 10am and 2pm and breastfeed him before and after work, all evening, and when he wakes up at night.  It has been smooth sailing until this week.  Pumping is getting old and is a bit of a pain, but I just keep telling myself that it is worth it for him to never have formula.  I am determined to stick with it, even though it is tough at times.



One thing that is keeping me going is that since I use a double electric pump, I can't do much while I am pumping, so I have 2, 10-minute sessions where I can sit, relax, and picture my baby boy and I breastfeeding.  At the beginning this made it easier to be away from him.  I actually looked forward to my pumping sessions!  I know it will get easier again, and in the long run I will be happy I stuck with it.



Best of luck!

Amber - posted on 01/09/2009

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Bonnie, I had to return to work after 14 weeks and my son is now 20 weeks.  I work 12 1/2 hour days, 3 days a week.  I pump before going to work (since he will stay awake if I try to feed him), then every 3 hours while at work and again before going to bed.  I find it to be a pain in the neck to pump but it is the only way to keep up your supply.  I have never had to give my son formula.  I try to have fresh milk in the fridge but sometimes have to dip into the frozen supply. 



Here are some pointers that my lactation consultant gave me:



Before actually returning to work, try to pump in the morning after the first feeding.  This is when you are producing the most milk.  This will allow to freeze some milk that way you will always have some in the freezer.



Try to pump at least every 3-4 hours while at work.  This will help to keep your supply up. 



Either feed your baby before going to work or pump at home.  I pump prior to work that way my husband has fresh milk to start the day and the milk is good for 4-6 hours at room temp.



Use a double electric pump.  You should only have to pump for about 10 minutes to express the milk.  If you cannot afford one, you might be able to rent one.  This type of pump (esp the Medela, this is recommended by my LC) is the most efficient.



Good luck returning to work!  I hope this helps!



Amber

Emily - posted on 01/09/2009

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I am so impressed by all of you Moms who have to go back to work so soon and keep up with the pumping and nursing!!! We are so lucky here in Canada to have a year of maternity leave... you are an especially dedicated bunch... good for you!  I hope for your sake that this new admistration does something to improve maternity benefits!

Jackie - posted on 01/09/2009

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My son is now 6 months old and I had to come back to work when he was 9 weeks.  I pump before work, my AM break, PM break or when I get home or breast feed and then breast feed before bed and sometimes pump afterwards. The biggest challenge is where I have to go to pump!  (I work at the county courthouse and have to use the District Court Library which is supposedly the only room with a door I can lock)  Believe me it is nerve racking to hear someone try to get into the room when I am in there but all I have to do is think about what is best for my child and it is all worth it!   Another thought that drives my decision is the fact that my sister-in-law is using formula and her son has had a lot more health problems than mine so I really believe it is due to the breastmilk.  Hang in there and Good luck!

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