Not sure what to do...

Jennifer - posted on 12/19/2010 ( 9 moms have responded )

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I'm EBF my daughter. She will be four months on Christmas Eve. I recently started working again. I work 7-9 hour shifts, and only get a half hour break. This break is used to pump. I don't get time to eat or drink anything because my whole break is used for pumping.
My milk is starting to dry up!!! What do I do? I asked my doctor about it and they want me to take fenugreek. I don't like taking anything, herbal or not. And I suck at remembering to take anything. So, what am I supposed to do? It doesn't help that my daughter doesn't nurse as long or as often anymore. My breast are almost always squishy now. They don't seem full anymore. And when they do, they are engorged and I am unable to pump or nurse.
My daughter now latches on and drains my breast, and continues to suck. So, I burp her and switch sides. She then precedes to drain that breast and still sucks. I don't have set hours, and my shifts change from day to day.
All these changes are sending mixed signals to my brain. Either I'm engorged or so empty that I'm not satisfying her. I'm getting so frustrated. And it's causing me pain.
I don't want to stop BF, but at the same time, I do.
I feel so awful for wanting to stop because I know it's best for her... but my breast hurt from these constant changes. What would you mommies out there do?
I hate the idea of quitting and switching to formula. But I'm so tired all of the time and sore.
I suppose I should mention that I never have time to eat or drink enough for myself... so I have nothing to really give my daughter. Ahh!!! What do I do?

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9 Comments

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Maria - posted on 12/23/2010

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Also, you could (if you needed to) just supplement with formula and continue to breastfeed when you can. I know it's not ideal when you want to breastfeed exclusively, but you want to make sure your baby is getting enough nutrients, too!

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Also when you're together nurse her frequently. I definitely agree that you should talk to your boss. You need to be able to pump more than once in that long of a time period in order to keep up supply. Contact your local La Leche League. They can help with legal questions if your employer refuses to let you pump.

Wanda - posted on 12/22/2010

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It is federal law that an employer with more than 50 employers must provide a private and clean area for you to express milk, and also allow you the time to do so. I would just be honest with them about your needs and hopefully they will be understanding.

I have taken fenugreek. I tried my hardest to exclusively breastfeed, but couldn't because of a breast reduction years ago. Fenugreek did increase my supply, but only slightly. But again, I've had a reduction so my glands are damaged. It didn't seem to have any affect on my daughter and I took it for 21 days. They only side affect I noticed was my urine smelled like maple syrup. (yes, it's very weird)

I would try eating while you pump at work. You can buy a breast pumping halter top that will allow you to be hands free! Just google bp halter top and a bunch will pop up. You gotta eat and remember to chug water all day, they will help as well. Good luck!

April - posted on 12/20/2010

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you said your daughter is 4 months old? At around 4 months of age, your supply becomes regulated. You will no longer have that full feeling that you felt all the time when she was a newborn up to 3 months.

also...it is okay that you are not on a set schedule. the best way to keep up supply is to nurse her whenever she wants.

You really don't need to switch to formula at all. When she is 6 months old, she can have solids and water while you are away. You can breastfeed in the time that you are together.

You are doing a great job...don't worry!! I promise your milk won't go away...as someone else pointed out...you are a milk making factory :)

It is okay to feel like you want to stop. Trust me...I felt like I wanted to stop 21,000 times, but I wanted to make it to 6 months at least. Then 6 months came and i said let's try for 1 year. Then 1 year came and i said give it another year. He will be 2 on Wednesday and we are still going! :)

Melanie - posted on 12/20/2010

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well first of all,the less you nurse the l¸ess milk your breast will make....you must take care of yourself...a breast feeding mother needs about as many calories as a pregnant mother...there is know need to stop..you can continue to pump and if you are willing to take something to increase your milk supply..Donparadon...that is not the right spelling though...will help increase your milk suppy...there are so many things you can do .....here is a number of a close friend of mine who is a lactation consultant...932-3129...ask for mel

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Hi Jennifer, I'm in Ireland so I don't know about the laws in your area, but in a lot of countries a pumping break is a different break from your normal break. Get in touch with your local La Leche League group, they probably know what you are entitled to. Also, maybe consider co-sleeping. When I started working, my daughter started feeding more at night-time. I am away from home for about six hours in the morning and used to pump once, so in your case I probably would have pumped twice. Pump both breasts at the same time, that'll give you more milk. Also, 15 minutes doesn't sound a lot to me. I used to get two to three let-downs if I'd just hang in there after the milk stopped flowing first, and keep on pumping for another five minutes or so. Try to cross you legs and hold one bottle in place with your knee. That way you can use one hand to eat and drink something. Bring something easy to eat with you so you just have to unrap it quickly. Good luck! You are doing great - I know how difficult this can be. But if it gets too stressful and you do opt for formula, don't beat yourself up. It's not fair that things are so difficult for you, but that's life and we just have to make the best of it.

Jennifer - posted on 12/20/2010

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Thank you Carolyn. That's helpful. I'm in Minnesota. I'm also pretty sure that for every four hours worked, legally you're supposed to get a 15 minute break. But I'm not entirely sure who to ask about it. Every other place I have worked, that's how it was.
Anyway, I will give that a try. My daughter and I aren't really on a schedule... I know that's probably bad. I guess I just nurse when she's hungry. But since I'm back at work, I should probably get her on one. Lol!
I will talk to my night time manager and see what she says about it. Hopefully we can work something out.
Again, thank you! I feel better about the situation now. :)

Carolyn - posted on 12/19/2010

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first . look into the laws for your area regarding pumping at work. most places have to allow you to pump , when needed. ( i have read some stuff like if the place has less than X number of employees yadda yadda) i mean you may have to take an unpaid 15 minute break or 2, but you need to get those pumping sessions in. and i bet those unpaid breaks will amount to less than going to formula. You need to do as best as possible to pump when you would normally feed your baby if you were with her. to keep your breasts/body on schedule so that when baby is around, you can satisfy her needs.



the best way to decrease your supply is by letting milk remain in the breast. your body reabsorbs it and thinks you dont need as much and reduces how much it makes. so you need to pump as often as you can.



also your work place is supposed to provide you with a place to pump as well, again tho this may vary on where you are from.



but there are laws out there for breastfeeding/pumping moms and the work place.



i have a double electric, the Mipump by first years. it has a retarded handle, which i hate, but ! what i do when i need to eat while pumping or feed the baby, with a nursing bra, i unclip, attach the horns, clip back up and the bra keeps the units on ( for the most part ! ) im a double D when not overly full of milk, so it is possible to do ! best trick ever !



also remember, you are always making milk, she may drain the reservoir of milk, but she is signaling to your body to make milk while she sucks, so as you are emptying, your body is working on refilling simultaneoulsy. so youll feel empty but most likely she is sucking the milk out as your body continues to make it.



milk factories not storage units.

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