Start back 2 work Mon. Need breastfeeding tips. How to keep my milk supply.

Rachelle - posted on 08/30/2009 ( 38 moms have responded )

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I am a mommy of a 5 year old little girl and 12 week old little boy. I never was able to get my 5 year old to breastfeed but it is important to me that I am able to breastfeed my son. I have been successful for the last 12 weeks while I have been home from on maternity leave. However, I start back to work Monday (tomorrow) and I am sooo nervous I will not be able to keep up my supply. I have been trying to pump in beween feedings to get my breasts used to producing more in order for me to have milk to leave for my husband to feed him while I am away. Unfortunately I have not been able to pump very much in between feedings....maybe 2 ounces total. I have a hospital grade pump I have rented for home (which should be doing the trick while I am pumpig from home....maybe it's not??) it will not be compatible to take to work as it is so big and bulky and requires a outlet to work, I do have a single manual pump but I'm afraid if the hospital grade can't help me produce enough to pump the manual won't either. I have also starting taking the "More Milk Plus" pills which seem to help a bit. I just need some advice. I don't want to loose my milk when I go back to work. I work at a hospital 8 hour shifts so it will be a challenge as it is to find time to pump. Some of my family members keep telling me to just start formula feeding and be happy I was able to breasfeed as long as I have but I AM NOT willing to do that. I really want to breasfeed as long as I can! Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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I'm a huge fan of the Medela pump. It's small enough to take with you, and has a cooler to store the milk in. Also, try fenugreek supplements- it really works, though I need to take more than the recommended dosage. Do some reading about it. It has really helped me.

Connie - posted on 09/02/2009

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Something else that will help you produce more milk is in what you eat....

I breastfed my son for his first full year and my daughter for 22 months and found that so long as I drank plenty of milk and water and ate foods high in protein I had no problem producing enough milk to meet my babies demand... also carrots... Carrots are a food that really aid in milk production....

Sjorcha - posted on 09/02/2009

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Take it from a mum of 5, it has nothing to do with the pumps!.I learned it's a physiological barrier from a lactating consultant I too faced the ordeal of pumping at work with achieving no more than 2 ounces which was no way near enough!, not to mention having to do so in the women's toilet as the lunch room was occupied by men most of the time. Once my breast milk was even accidently removed from the work fridge & thrown out. My 3rd child was premmie so it was very important that I continued to breast feed as long as possible, but I was by then a single mum and had no choice but return to work. For some women, including me, they need a baby to suckle at the breast to get the volume. I was offered a tip by another working mum to simply formula feed the baby whilst she was in day care, and breast feed when at home, morning, straight after work and at night. I was worried I would lose my milk by doing so, but it wasn't the case. I managed to feed her till she was 18 mths old, when she herself didn't want it anymore. If that solution is not suitable another tip from the lactating nurse is to pump at the time you would normally feed the baby,whilst looking at a picture of your baby boy, imagining him at your breast, or even have a photo of you breast feeding him to help create that connection. You can always try pumping as soon as he has finished feeding because you still have that connection going. Hope this helps

Susannah - posted on 09/01/2009

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I had to go back to work at 6 weeks and we are now 17 mos breastfeeding and counting... (yea!) Things that worked for me:
* hospital grade pump at work - I am fortunate and can pump in my office. I talked with HR and turns out we also have "mommy rooms" but I prefer to pump at my desk so I can work at the same time. From lactation consultants I hear that the pump is the single most important thing to have, and as another poster said, the more often the better- at first I would pump 3x/day- AM/Lunch/ PM. Once your milk supply is well established and "stable" the backpack pumps from Medela should be OK. Also, duration- I have been told that at first 20-30 min is best to encourage milk supply. Also as mentioned before, varying the pump pattern... milk is produced in ~ 11 min cycles. I found I could get multiple let downs by going back to "stimulation mode" and get at least 2 let downs/pumping session. *also remember the way I think about it- if others take time out for a cigarette, you are entitled to 20 minutes to pump .... and they are right their are laws to protect breastfeeding and I would be surprised if the hospital did not have a room for lactating mothers...
* Easy Expression Hands free Bra - able to work/use hands for whatever while pumping
* Gaia Herbs Liquid Phyto Caps Lactate Support from Whole Foods- includes fenugreek, fennel, Red Raspberry Leaf, Blessed Thistle and Marshmallow Root. I don't take it all the time but found when my period returned, I would get a dip in milk production - this helps fight this problem.
* and I have to tell you I have had to pump in a public restroom (not in a stall) when travelling to maintain the supply while travelling for business... I just used my hands-free bra and a nursing coverup... surely you can find a way if you have the will...

It is the hardest and best thing I have ever done!!! Best of luck to you!

Christina - posted on 08/31/2009

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My older daughter was BF for 14 months (I went back to work when she was 3 months old) and my little one is 2 months now and BF and I'll be going back to work in a few weeks. I hope what worked for my big girl will work for my little girl.



This is what I did:



6am: pump, 8am: BF, 11am: pump, 2pm: pump, 5pm: pump, 7pm: BF, 10pm: BF, 11pm: pump

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Dawn - posted on 09/02/2009

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Well, I had to deal with the issue of having time to pump with my first one, but for an employer to deny you that time is actually against the law in most states.. La Leche League can help you out if you need it.. As far as the milk supply, even if you can only pump once in 8 hours, it will help.. when you are at home, while he is nursing on one side, pump on the other.. as long as he is nursing, you will not run out of milk.. its produced on a demand schedule... My pump I got from target (medela pump in style).. its a bag style, and doesnt look much different than a hobo bag, and has storage compartments inside.. and also has a battery and a power cord.. granted it will be a big change especially at first, but after awhile youll be able to well keep up with his demands...

Shannon - posted on 09/02/2009

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Hang in there! I work in an OB unit at a hospital. I have successfully pumped and fed my child who is now almost 11 months. The hospital should provide you with an area for you to pump in. My advice to you would be to take the hospital grade pump with you to work for pumping as a manual pump will not be as effective. Try to pump every four hours, so figure what time you feed the baby before work and schedule your first pumping four hours from that. It take determination, but you can do it. Don't let your family talk you out of it!

Kasey - posted on 09/02/2009

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I have 4 children ages 10 to 3(twins). I breastfeed all of my children including the twins for over a year. My suggestion is to drink lots of water and pump frequently. The more you pump the more milk supply you will have. Also get a double breast pump. The best is the Medella. I used it for all of my children. I is a wonderful thing. Relax, good luck and GOD bless.

Michelle - posted on 09/02/2009

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I have been successful for 6 months and I plan on doing it for the rest of the year and or maybe more!!! I pump 2 times a day at work in my 8 and a half hour shift. I do it at my first break and at my lunch for 10 min(double pump) on a pretty high setting on my Medela pump in style pump. I get 3 oz on each side both times which is less than she drinks at a time.... While I am at work she drinks 4 4 oz bottles at daycare while I only get out 4 3 oz bottles. I also pump both sides right after her first feeding with me before I leave for work. Then I pump after her last feeding with me before I go to bed. So when you add those two pumping times up to what I have pumped at work it is more than what she needs for bottles for daycare! I also have a freezer full cause I use the pumped stuff from work for the next day for daycare (I just put it in the fridge so its ready to go) and all the extra into the freezer for an extra supply. hmmm I think I have given all my tips. As you have prolly read from previous posts a pump does not get everything that the baby would normally get out from nursing so doing get upset. It'll all work out ... just stay confident!!

Crystal - posted on 09/02/2009

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Pumping consistently is the best way. You have to be able to relax at work (sometimes even looking at a picture of your baby while you pump really helps with the let down....no I'm not crazy! It does work, been there done that!!) Medela makes a great battery pump (I had the dual one, so you can pump both breasts at the same time). The battery pack isn't as strong a suction as when you use it with the electric plug (it can convert), but it will do a much better job than the manual pump. I could get the manual one to work very well at all. I pumped for months when I had to go back to work after my 2nd daughter. She is still nursing at night (will be 3 in Nov), and I was able to keep up enough milk not to use formula at all. She was full-time BF until she was about 6 months old. I didn't want to start food prior to 6 months of age. You can do it.......it does take a lot of dedication, but it is SO worth every ounce you can give them! :)

Connie - posted on 09/02/2009

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You definitely need a breast pump... No matter where you work the law now states that your job must give you sufficient break time to be able to pump your milk if you need to do so. Also, at night, or during nap times you can take the time to pump a little extra milk for your baby. It may take a little time to get into a proper routine, but don't forget that your body WILL produce milk to meet the demand... si if you pump a little extra each day, you will begin to produce enough to be able to bottle up a nice supply for your baby to drink while you are at work.

Tabatha - posted on 09/02/2009

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I use the mipump by first years and it works great. It is compact and comes with a stylish hand bag. I also use a manual pump when we have to be on the road. I personally believe it has more to do with how comfortable you are with pumping then the pump itself (unless there is a defect). In the begining I was also only able to pump about 2-3oz. But now, I can pump out 5oz in less then 10mins. I went back to work when my little one was 8 weeks. Finding time is the hardest thing but you just have to commit to it. I also started to pump in the morning right after a shower and that seemed to help. I get the same from family but I'm too stubborn to give up! Hope this helps you and I wish you the best of luck!!

Ortal - posted on 09/01/2009

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Hi Rachel I also have a five year old daughter that I wasnt able to breastfeed but when I had my son (now 2 years old)Iwas able to breastfeed and work for a year.The mannuel breastpumps are just fine.Stay on you scheduel (every 3 or 4 hours)and pump.I now have a 12 month old girl and plan on doing the same when I return to work next week.

GOOD LUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!YOU CAN DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Keyma - posted on 09/01/2009

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As far as the challenges to pump at work their shouldn't be any. There is a law that allows women breaks to pump at work.

Melanie - posted on 09/01/2009

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I have a 7 month old- and went back to work while breastfeeding. I have the Medela- just keep pumping a lot!!!! It's supply and demand. Now that my body is used to it I can pump one side (6 oz) before I leave and 2 6 oz. bottles on my lunch break. Then I pick him up and nurse the rest of the evening. Drink a lot of water and maybe look for a Medela on Craig's list. My friend got one for $30. Then you can buy new tubes and attachments. Don't give up-- you can do this!!!!

Sara - posted on 08/31/2009

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I'll add that oatmeal can also be beneficial for increasing milk supply. Also, know that the amount you are able to pump may vary from day to day, and can be affected by hormone fluxes in your body - so don't panic!



Something I never see suggested and may not apply to you (but you never know who else might benefit) is if you are larger chested... look at getting larger breast shields for your pump. I was using the Medela pump in style and have DD boobs. I found that the difference between using a smaller and a larger breast shield for my pump could mean an extra 2-4 ounces I was able to pump. Since my girl was generally taking 4 oz bottles while I was gone... that was huge for me!

A few other little things I did was I always fed my girl on just one side first thing in the morning and pumped both sides after. I generally got my largest milk amount then. Then after we were all ready to go, we'd do another short nursing session before heading to daycare. For the afternoon, I'd ask the daycare not to feed her after 4:30. That way she wouldn't have just had a bottle when I came to pick her up, and I could get her home and feed her myself (let's face it - who wouldn't rather nurse than pump!?)



Good luck, you can do it! It's a committment, but so worth it. Good for you!

User - posted on 08/31/2009

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Hi Rachelle, I am a new mother of a 6mos old. Breastmilk is my daughter's only form of nutrition and I was able to keep my supply up even when I returned to work. I love Ameda Purely Yours Breast Pump because it's not noisy and easy to clean. Here's a sample of my pump schedule. Midnight, 7am, 11am, 4pm, 8pm. This routine has helped me maintained my supply and even have extra to freeze. Keep trying and good luck:)

LaDonna - posted on 08/31/2009

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If you haven't already done this, here's something else you can try: make nice with the maternity ward nurses in the hospital where you work. I delivered my son just 6 weeks ago and the nurse who took care of us would pump for her 8 month old on her breaks! There is a lactation consultant on staff, plenty of pumps available to new moms and other resources right there on the L&D floor. Ask around and see what's there for you.

Ramona - posted on 08/31/2009

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I know you have had a lot of positive response, I just wanted to add some more. I breastfed both my girls and returned to work full time with them too. Right now about 2 oz is normal to pump as "extra" after your baby eats. When I returned to work, I was able to pump twice a day. My first daughter was a strict routine, her choice, eat every two hours kind of kid and that meant my pumped milk kept up with her daily needs, about 16 oz while I was gone. My second daughter, whom I am still breastfeeding at 10 mos., was a more casual eater. She would cluster eat at different times a day, so my pumped milk was a little low, BUT my body was ready for her when I got back with her. So, you and your baby will figure out what schedule works best for you and even if you are scared you aren't providing quite enough during the day your baby boy will get it from you in the evenings and the following mornings. Try to relax, but I know how hard that is when you are about to leave the little one.



BTW, my pump is a Medela Pump n Style that is carried in its "backpack." I have had great success with its functionality, but whatever pump you end up with try to get one that will allow power with a car charger and get the battery pack. You truly never know when you will need them.

Tara - posted on 08/31/2009

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Believe it or not 2oz per pumping session is NORMAL :) Try to pump the same times every day you are at work. On your days off just BF as much as possible and you should have no probs! Don't stress over it or it could affect your supply. I am a Certified Lactation Educator so if you have any more questions feel free to ask me :) Goreat job with BF so far!

Erin - posted on 08/30/2009

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You all answered alot of questions that I had that Rachelle questioned, I'm going to try them all so a BIG THANK YOU to all! I also heard that vitamin b complex works ive tried it and for me it only made a little difference, only added an extra ounce.

Nilda - posted on 08/30/2009

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Hi Rachelle! I bought myselft the Ameda Purely Yours Breast Pump. It is very portable, comes with a car lighter adapter, which can be very convenient, and fairly inexpensive. At http://breastpumps4less.com/, it's only $149.95, without the bag. I just place mine in a cute handbag I already had, and didn't have to pay the premium price for it. The pump has worked great, as you have i control for the suction, and 1 control for the speed. This allows you to find your own perfect balance, by increasing the speed you can stimulate the areola for multiple let downs and get more milk.

Pump when your baby would normally feed and you will be ok. I always worry I won't have enough, and thank God, I hasn't been a problem. It is key that you feed him a lot when together, so that he can stimulate production. If you have it in your heart, it WILL work. Best wishes!

Rachelle - posted on 08/30/2009

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That's my plan. I hadn't thought of some of the pump adjustments as a way to increase supply butI am definately going to give them a try and hope that some of these techniques will help and I won't need supplements. You have been very helpful and encouraging. Thank You sooo much!

Rachel - posted on 08/30/2009

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I used a pill form for both blessed thistle and fenugreek and I got them at a local health food store. I've also seen them in some pharmacies :) www.kellymom.com has a nice listing of the various galactagogues if you need to try any others. Hopefully you'll do great with the pump and won't have to worry as much!

Rachelle - posted on 08/30/2009

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GREAT ADVICE!! Thank You!! I will try these techniques they sound like they just might do the trick for me..One last question...Where did you get the Blessed Thistle and what is it?? A pill or tea?? I think someone also mentioned that before but I had never heard of it or even where to buy it??

Rachel - posted on 08/30/2009

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I'm going to copy and paste from another post since this takes a while to type out :p

I was not a good pumper when I went back to work after my first was born. I had plenty of milk for him straight from the tap but getting it out through a machine was never easy for me. What my son could nurse out in five to ten minutes took me hours to get with a pump! The things that help increase supply are different for every woman so you have to try to find the things that work for you but I'll go ahead and list the things I did in case you'd like to try some :) Despite my poor response to the pump, I was able to keep at it and ensure he only got breastmilk :)

**Relax! For me, looking at pictures of my baby or thinking about my baby actually stressed me out because it reminded me I wasn't with him. So instead, I used to read while I pumped--kept my mind off of things and I got better production. So find what relaxes you--pictures of the baby, the radio, crossword puzzles :p
**If you are comfortable with the herbal supplements, experiment with them. Fenugreek alone didn't make much difference with me but when I paired it with other things, I got a nice boost. My magic combo was fenugreek, blessed thistle, and old-fashioned oatmeal. I hated oatmeal but I still ate it three to four times a day so I could pump more!
**Drink enough water. I bought a 20 oz reusable water bottle and made sure I finished a full bottle between each pumping session. I noticed if I missed some of my water, my pump output went down.
**Breast massage--before I started pumping, I would massage in firm long strokes from the top of the breast down toward the nipple--if I skipped the massage, I got less milk that session so I made sure I always did it! A little massaging during pumping when my milk flow stopped usually got it going again for a little while.
**Play with your pump :) change the strength/speed whenever the flow stops or slows down too much--this can help get things going again. The thing that worked best for me was to use my pump settings to mimic my son's sucking patterns at the breast as far as strength and speed. Sometimes just shifting your flanges so they press more on different parts of the breast can get more milk to drain out :)
**When necessary, pump at home after feedings to get a little extra and provide some more stimulation. Especially on your days off--Pumping on days I worked usually didn't get a whole lot but I got more on weekends when I was just nursing the babe direct. It really helped me maintain a freezer stash so I could use it on days when I just couldn't pump enough
**When your baby goes through a growth spurt, make every moment outside work a nursing vacation if you can. Get someone else to handle cooking and cleaning and just camp out with baby and let him nurse as much as he wants. The hard part about growth spurts is we are at work so our bodies aren't getting the extra nursing stimulation that tells it to get ready for the next stage in breastfeeding. Since most moms can't just take a few days off to nurse their way through a growth spurt, we have to try and get the benefits of that spurt some other way :)

Rachelle - posted on 08/30/2009

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Thank You fro the advice. Since the pump did not work for you, what did you do to increase output in order for your son to have what he needed while you were gone?

Rachel - posted on 08/30/2009

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Hi, Rachelle :) I had to go back to work with my first and pumped for him until he was 18 months old. It wasn't always easy but to me, it was well worth it to make sure my little guy was on nothing but breastmilk for those first six months (when he started on solids but still got most of his nutrition from the breastmilk).

I've heard from other moms that work in hospitals that sometimes the maternity wards will let you come up to pump and some even have pumps available for you to use.

As mentioned above, many states have laws in place that your workplace has to provide a space for you to pump so definitely check out the law for your area! If your pumping space does not have an outlet, there are pumps that will also work on batteries if a manual pump does not work for you. Some moms even pump in their cars so they can hook their pump up to the cigarette lighter. I was lucky in that my work for my first had a nice spot for me with access to a fridge and plug :)

One thing I would suggest is to get your boss's support--especially when you first go back, you may have to pump a little more often while you adjust to producing for the pump instead of for the baby. A boss that is on board makes having to take an extra break or two so much easier!

Don't stress too much about not getting a lot while you pump now--since your baby is eating her fill, there may not be a whole lot left to pump out :) Most women see a nice jump in output when they are away from the baby because everything you make is available to come out with the pump. Personally, I didn't respond well to the pump but even so, there were lots of things to try to boost output and my son always had enough breastmilk while I was gone.

Rachelle - posted on 08/30/2009

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Thank You for the information. I had no idea there were laws that protect breastfeeding mothers in the work place. Thank You soooo much!!!

[deleted account]

Hey, Rachelle, congratulations for having pumped this long!! When I was getting back into the work-mode, I started pumping in the middle of the night--every 2 hrs. It sucked because I wasn't getting sleep, but I was terrified that my daughter would go without milk. The more I pumped and fed regularly, the more milk I produced. I worked in retail (10 hr shifts) and would pump on my (2) 10 minute breaks and during my lunch break. I kept up my nightly pumping too. Try not to stress. I was using a Medela Advanced pumping system that looked like a office bag. I'm still nursing my 20 month old....

Rachelle - posted on 08/30/2009

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Thank You for the information. The More Milk Plus actually has the Fenugreek in it, which has been helpful! I hope it keeps helping. Thanks for your tips!!

Jennifer - posted on 08/30/2009

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I am taking blessed thistle to help with my milk production. Im using the liquid with alcohol in it as sold at health stores vs the pills. The little bit of alcohol is said to be harmless for the baby I even asked my obgyn and has made a huge difference in my milk production and made it ten times easier for me to pump

Melissa - posted on 08/30/2009

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Quoting shantanna:

although i have not had my child yet i have been looking into breast pumps to take to work and school with me so that i may supply my child while i am away. Here is some information I have found. the first to do is to get the baby feeding schedule down so that when you are away you can pump when the baby would normally feed so that your breast do not become ingorged. the next is to find a pump with a carry bag that will allow you to store the breast milk after it has been expressed. dont worry about not finding the time to pump the milk at work because there are legislations that say they must allow you to pump at work although they vary by each state. here is the link to find your state and the laws there http://www.llli.org/Law/Bills20a.html. i hope this was helpful to you and it works out for you. keep me posted on how it goes.


 



 



 



awesome! yay! the state laws... thank you! i didn't even think to add that to my response... that should help her find out exactly what her work has to allow.

Melissa - posted on 08/30/2009

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as i didn't have luck with my daughter (who is the same age as yours) in the breastfeeding department, i have been really researching breastfeeding for the upcoming little person (due to be here next month) and was going to suggest fenu greek to help maintain/boost your milk production, but it seems as though you already found a good product in the mother's milk plus. glad you are taking it in pill form though since the liquid doesn't seem to come in an alcohol free formula. maybe try adding some of the nursing support tea to your daily regimen as well... and drink up while at work! it doesn't have to be hot... get yourself a box and make a pitcher at a time and take it in a sports bottle or something. and i know it will be hard, but just pump pump pump whenever possible while away from the baby. it'll take a lot of extra work on your part, but you can still be successful in your breastfeeding. just don't give up on yourself!

Dhymylamia - posted on 08/30/2009

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Hi! I am a mommy of an 8 month old little boy and I am breastfeeding also. My tip is try pumping it with your 2 fingers.. it might be a bit messy in the beginning but when your used to it it will be ok. Or else take a small breastpump with you at work and pump every 3 hrs or during your break. Here in Norway we are allowed to go to the daycare or drive home to breastfeed our baby if you are working. One more thing... you can freeze some of your milk ... it can last 3-4 months... try doing it... it might help.. I did some of these... take care and goodluck :-)

Shantanna - posted on 08/30/2009

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although i have not had my child yet i have been looking into breast pumps to take to work and school with me so that i may supply my child while i am away. Here is some information I have found. the first to do is to get the baby feeding schedule down so that when you are away you can pump when the baby would normally feed so that your breast do not become ingorged. the next is to find a pump with a carry bag that will allow you to store the breast milk after it has been expressed. dont worry about not finding the time to pump the milk at work because there are legislations that say they must allow you to pump at work although they vary by each state. here is the link to find your state and the laws there http://www.llli.org/Law/Bills20a.html. i hope this was helpful to you and it works out for you. keep me posted on how it goes.

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