How do you continue breastfeeding when going back to work?

Megan - posted on 05/21/2012 ( 29 moms have responded )

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How do you keep up with pumping enough for work days? I'm worried I might have to switch to formula!

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Diana - posted on 05/21/2012

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My pumping hour is morning after breastfeeding at 7. At office three. Time 10am, 2pm, 5pm. At home after breastfeeding ussually at 9pm, 11pm and 3 am. At night production of breastmilk is double. It is very good for stocking. Tiring but happy n satisfied when I see my baby are in healthy condition.

[deleted account]

I pumped every 2 hours for about 15 minutes and built up a freezer supply. Breastmilk works on a supply and demand basis. Use it or lose it. Just make sure to pump and feed on a regular basis and you'll be good. My son has feeding issues and I was able to exclusively breast feed for 15 months while working full time. Good luck! It's totally worth it to stick with it. :)

Heather - posted on 05/21/2012

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try to pump the same time that your baby would be eating...i would pump four hours after i fed my son last and not stop pumping till i had enough for two feedings becuase my son was eating every two hours....DO NOT supplement with formula! it will do nothing but lower your supply! your baby will nurse longer to get your supply up on your days off if it starts to slip. you will get in a groove that works for you :) good luck!

Joette - posted on 05/22/2012

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I agree with everyone else, it can be a lot of work - but it's SO worth it. Not to mention the thousands of dollars you save the first year on NOT buying formula. It can be hard depending on your job... I'm a teacher so I would pump at home in the morning, on my lunch and on my planning period. Just make sure you have a refridgerator at your disposal and a cooler to bring it all home in. I made it a year with both my babies (3 and 1). It's so gratifying.

But to be devil's advocate too - don't beat yourself up or stress out if for some reason your life doesn't allow you to do it for the whole year. Do the best you can do, for as long as you can... A happy mommy is a happy baby :)

Samantha - posted on 05/22/2012

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Pumping sometimes reduces the milk supply so on my of days I took lazy mornings with the baby and let her nurse all she wanted to build back up...this was precious bonding Saturdays for us ask these posts are good encouraging advice...definitely doable ;)

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Megan - posted on 05/31/2012

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Wow! Thank y'all so much for the responses! I have been pumping in the morning before he wakes up so I can get a good amount! I definitely think I can do this! Thanks again!

Samantha - posted on 05/27/2012

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A lot of good advice here. Pumping while the baby nurses does increase your milk supply. If you have a quiet pump or a hand pump you can pump one side while your baby nurses on the other.

When I pumped in my office I put on soothing music and relaxed. I also had a picture of my son that I took just before he latched and a recording of a hungry cry to help me with let-down before I started pumping. When I used these visual and auditory aids I found that I got more milk when I pumped.

I also drank a lot of water, kept taking my prenatal vitamins and ate a good diet and it helped me maintain a good milk supply. I kept a pump at work and a couple of sets of parts. I washed them every day so I was always ready at work. I also kept a pump at home. I used a hand pump and had better success with that than with an electric pump.

Andrea - posted on 05/23/2012

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Wow, so much great advice! I guess the main thing to remember is that if you really want to make it work, then give it a go. It is worth making the effort. I get by with pumping twice a day during working days, once at around 6am, and again at midday lunch. It can get a bit full and uncomfortable at times, but my collegues are understanding and we can all have a giggle at times (hang on to your sense of humour - you will need it!) On weekends I only get time to pump first thing in the morning as no time and he is a hungry boy to feed. And my time with the kids is so precious.

I work Mon-Fri and find Mondays can be hard as I only keep the fresh milk for 48hrs. I have started freezing the milk pumped on Fridays in bottles ready to take out of the freezer and put in the fridge on Sunday nights so it is ready to use on Monday, and that takes the pressure off trying to get enough pumped while still feeding the hungry monster (who is thriving!)

Good luck. I hope you find a way to make it work for you in your situation without putting too much pressure on yourself.

Sherri - posted on 05/23/2012

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Just an FYI not all places have a private place to pump so although it may be the law if there truly isn't a place there is no way they can comply. My work could never have allowed me to pump 20 mins 3x's a day unless I took that as my lunch.

Christy - posted on 05/23/2012

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Like others have said, it is doable, but does require a lot of work (you get used to it).
I nursed both my daughters for a year (another is on the way) and I had to pump after going back to work. I would nurse in the mornings/evenings and weekends and then pump 2-3 times a day at work. I work on my PC all day and got the Easy Expressions Bustier which saved my life! It allowed me to work while I pumped. You can find it here or other sites: http://www.amazon.com/Easy-Expression-Bu...
Remember that it is the law that employers must allow women to lactate/express and must provide a room (other than a bathroom).
Just remember to bring a cooler to put your milk in and you should be all set!
Best of luck!
As one reader wrote...don't beat yourself up if it doesn't work for you. I'm a huge advocate of breastfeeding, but realize that it isn't for every mom. Women/moms are judged far too often for every decision they make and we need to accept that every (most) moms do the best they can do!

Maira - posted on 05/22/2012

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also bring something that smells like ur baby with u to wk so when its time to pump it will help u

Paulette - posted on 05/22/2012

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You can definitely do it!! If I can, anyone can - and I did it for a year! It's not easy at first, it takes some dedication, but once you get going - you get into a routine and it's not bad at all. As long as your job has a nice place for you to pump, go for it! I brought an electric pump with me to work and would pump for 15-20 minutes both sides (I had a double pump) at around the time my son would normally be nursing. I got to work really early, so it ended up being about 3x a day at work. After a while, it was just routine; it's amazing what a woman can get used to!

Because I was pumping so much during the day, my milk supply was fantastic! My son loved the extra at night! And, I was able to build up a great supply in my freezer for the daycare so he only got breast milk for the first year.

Keep in mind that on the weekends, you want to nurse around the same time you would pump for consistency.

Congrats on your little one and Good Luck!

Diana - posted on 05/22/2012

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I started by getting in an extra pump a day before I was ready to go back to work. I would freeze the extra pumped milk. Then I would bf my baby before work, pump once @ mid-morning break, once at lunch, & once at afternoon break (I was able to lock myself in our large bathroom for 10-15 minutes at work). I would put the milk in a container with my name on it & put it in the fridge to take home with me at the end of the day. The frozen milk was enough to get me started when I went back to work and I had a few extras "just in case". I would then send in the milk with her from the day before. I bf until she was 14 mos. old. With my first baby I never realized that pumping & freezing was an option and really missed it when she was weaned off. I was determined to go longer with my 2nd because I knew she would be my last one. I had a great support team between my friends & a few of my co-workers who had already gone through it when I had my 2nd baby. I was so glad to have all of their advice because I was the only one in my family to bf & had no one else to go to for support. Good Luck!

Lara - posted on 05/22/2012

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Start adding a pumping session while you're home so you can get a stash before you go back to work. Talk to your employer before you go back so they can show you where you can go. I started a brand new job when DS was 4 mo they had an empty office for me (I was the only one), and I had to take the time out of my lunch. I did it gladly. BF laws vary by state to read up so you know. Some give you extra time at work, some state you have to be given a place other than a bathroom, some have nothing.

It's tough but it's so worth it, I did it with both kids in two different jobs and I'd do it again if I had to.

Emily - posted on 05/22/2012

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Don't switch to formula, I would encourage you to keep breastfeeding. I did when I went back to work and really in an 8 hour day, you normally only will have to pump twice a day. You have rights as a mother who plans to continue to breastfed your baby, so don't be discouraged or embarassed by it, you can take breaks whenever you need too, you are protected by the law! I know I would typically pump twice a day and depending on the day, I would sometimes pump on my lunch break, buy one of those car adaptors, they are around $20, that way when you are in the car you can always pull over and pump or if some else, like your hubby, is driving, you can always pump in the car to save time! I did this often! I was able to keep breastfeeding for 7 months, so my little guy was breastfed for the first 7 months, then I switched to formula, mixing breastmilk with formula, so he could slowly get used to the difference in taste. Remember, it's all about supply and demand, if your milk supply is running low, than start pumping more and try to breastfed your baby whenever possible! Good luck and congrats on your baby! :)
Emily

Heather - posted on 05/22/2012

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so many wonderful posts! love it! breastfeeding is hard at times as one mom said but so worth it...i have also had days that were so hard...the first month or so my son was tongue tied and it was sooo painful i almost gave up but i was stubborn and got through it and i am soooo greatful that i did!!! the bond is like nothing else for sure! :) also my hubby and i work opposite shifts so when he could he would bring my son to my work for me to nurse on my lunchbreak... now my son is nine months and only needs one bottle while im gone but i still pump twice ;) its all about having a good pump too...the cheap ones are painful. so much wonderful advice but the pumping often is the best and not giving up of course! youll do great!

Dora - posted on 05/22/2012

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I worked full time with my 1st cutie pie. I pumped while at worked and then nursed him when I was home. On the days that I had a slight shortage of breast milk I did supplement with formula when he needed some extra food when I wasn't there to give it to him. On the weekends try to pump every 2hrs in between nursing your baby. I know it sounds like a lot but you can help increase your supply that way. Good luck :)

Charity - posted on 05/22/2012

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I nursed for 22 months and returned to work when my son was 7 weeks. You can easily increase your supply by pumping 20 minutes after feeding. Your will only get a few drops at first but continue without fail . You will be amazed with the results in about 3 days. Drink water and juice the entire time you pump. I started this process a week before I went to work and I had 35 4 oz bags frozen for extra if needed . I never needed them! When you get to work you will need 20 minutes to pump 2 times a day. I adjusted my lunch to accommodate . You must drink lots!!! You must also learned to relax quickly and close you eyes to imagine your baby and the process goes so much quicker. Be persistent and if you give it the time you will reap the benefits. Good luck!

~♥Little Miss - posted on 05/22/2012

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It can be tricky, but it can be done. First off, make sure you have a reliable dual pump like Medela. Secondly talk with your boss about needing a pumping break every 2-3 hours. if your child is not used to a bottle now, get her/him used to it asap. Start pumping immediately to build up supply. Good luck. it is a lot of work, but you can do it.

Maira - posted on 05/22/2012

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its supply and demand,the more u pump the more u make so pump and nurse at night and do the same in the morning then take one or 2 pump breaks at work. freeze lots of ur milk and nurse when u get home. i did it for a year. and i am still nursing my son at almost 3

Amber - posted on 05/22/2012

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I breast fed/bottle fed my baby for two and a half years and I went back to work when she was four days old! The first week, my eleven hour shift had my "nursies" painfully engorged and I had to expell white gold into the bathroom sink. But after that, my body simple took over and adjusted to my child's feeding schedule and I never had a single issue with too much or too little milk. Don't worry about it! Your body will do all the work for you. And pumps suck. It was so much easier for me to expell my own milk into bottles and lots quicker.

[deleted account]

No- you won't have to switch to formula. Start pumping in advance. Pump twice a day at work. Take about 15-20min per time. It's not easy but so worth it :) I did it with both of my boys. I went back to work at 8week of age. My 17 month old is still nursing. Good luck if you have any more questions ask away. Key is to make sure you have a good machine ;)

Angela - posted on 05/21/2012

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Start pumping and freezing now. If you're in the U.K. Your employer is obliged to give you time and a place to pump at work as well. If you build up a supply in the freezer you'll worry less.

Brie - posted on 05/21/2012

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I worked four hours a night.. from 6-10... Luckily I had a good boss who allowed me to pump when I needed.. he even supplied me with a place to do it that had no cameras and wasn't the bathroom! I believe you have a legal right to pump and if the boss gives you a hard enough time have your doctor and/or baby doctor write you up a paper saying you have to pump at certain intervals and it shouldn't be an issue! BFing is a big enough issue that your employer shouldn't give you to much of an hassle over it because they don't want the bad press or lawsuits on their hands! I had it kind of easy because my son would eat two and a half hours before i left for work and then with a half hour to spare i would pump and then an hour and a half into my shift i would pump and then when i got home he would be ready to nurse.. however i didn't do it for an extended amount of time.. i was put on mandatory medication that could have harmed my son, had i not taken the medication and continued BFing that could have hurt my son as well... so i had to put him on formula at about 5 months old... sorry i could help more but i hope this helps somewhat!

Jill - posted on 05/21/2012

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My son is now 9 months, When I went back to work I would pump on my break (luckily I was working 3rd shift) but get a dbl breast pump so you can pump both at the same time. I'm still breast feeding. When I'm home he doesnt want a bottle, only me. They say to make sure the baby is used to nursing before giving the bottle, but I say let someone else give the bottle so he/she knows to nurse with you. My son was born early and for the first few days we had to suppliment with formula till my milk came in. nd get on a pumping routine when your at home. Such as after baby goes to bed at night, wait 2 hours after their last feeding and pump a few ounces, or as much as you can.

Deb - posted on 05/21/2012

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I worked in outside sales, so pumping had to be done in my car. I used a little cooler to store the breast milk. I personally had a very hard time with it and only breastfed for a couple of months after returning to work. We did switch to formula, which I did not want to do, but it wasn't working. My children are smart, healthy and vibrant young people, so don't be too hard on yourself, if it doesn't work out for as long as you originally aspire. It seems like there are a lot of moms on here, though who were able to make it work longer that I did. I'm sure they can give you good ideas. Good luck.

Nicole - posted on 05/21/2012

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It was hard, I pumped 3-4 times a day about every 4 hours and I also pumped once a night on the weekends just in case I needed to supplement. I had about 180 ounces frozen by the time I went back and used a frozen milk everyday and freeze whatever was left on Friday. This took a lot of pressure off of me especially when I'd have bad pumping days.

It wasn't easy and there were days that I was just sick of it but here i am still nursing after a year and just packed away my pump last week and I wouldn't change a thing it was all worth it.

I also joined a few online breastfeeding support groups and that really helped me get through some of the difficult days.

JERRI - posted on 05/21/2012

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It is absolutely possible! Keep a pump at work and one at home to make every day seemless and easy. Use Today's milk tomorrow and if you have extra freeze it for future. Good luck!! I agree with above....pump every two hours it really helps build.

Jennifer - posted on 05/21/2012

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Pump pump pump. I brought an electric pump to work and pumped every few hours for months. It requires dedication, but if you pump regularly, you will keep up your supply. You can send the bags of breastmilk with your baby's caregiver to give throughout the day. Keep pumping. It helps destress you at work, it is incredible for your baby, and for me it alleviated the guilt I felt for going back to work (just a little bit). It is very possible to do if you put your mind to it. It's not easy, but it IS possible. No matter what you decide, don't beat yourself up. Be kind to yourself.

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