Anyone breastfeeding and working too?

Sharana - posted on 10/07/2010 ( 42 moms have responded )

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Out of all my friends that have recently had a baby or are having one soon, I am the only one that is breastfeeding! And it's sooo hard working, and devoting all my breaks to pumping, but I want my baby to be the healthiest he can be, so I do it. It seems like there is not enough time in the day to get it all done! I have to do it though, or my supply will drop and I will run out of milk to send to the babysitters. He pretty much nurses the whole time I am home too. It's only my 2nd week back at work, but I'm exhausted! I am getting faster though, at pumping in the mommy room and washing my equipment. Does anyone have any tips on how to make this go smoother? Any help is appreciated! :o)

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I would recommend getting a good pump. I know they are expensive, but when I was pumping at work I used the Medella double electric pump, and it made it go faster for me.

Linda - posted on 10/12/2010

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Keep it up...you can do it. I work full time in a management job, so I can totally relate to being chained to the pump. Try to think of it as guaranteed break time. Also, instead of washing your bottles and breast shields, buy another set. This will cut down on washing in between. And drink lots of water, this will help your supply. I pump twice a day, drink my morning coffee, and sip water throughout the day. If you can go home for lunch, pumping during the lunch hour can work great. Hope this helps!

Amy - posted on 10/08/2010

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I got to work early to pump, not sure if you'll have time or not. I also plan to spend some time on the treadmill at home and will pump while I walk and work out a bit.

Do you work while you pump? Or can you? When I did so with my first I didn't have the option but I did pump during lunch and ate while i pumped (I will do that yet again this time too). This time the company also gave me a laptop to use so I'll be bringing that to the room so I can get work done while pumping.

While your at home with the baby, try pumping the opposite side while your little one feeds (although if he/she is growing and feeding off of both sides then wait until after feeding and pump both sides).

Pump after feeding if you can, and pump for 5 min after the milk stops flowing, that will help make sure your supply will stay strong (or for some women increase).

Good luck!

Myetta - posted on 10/08/2010

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My daughter is 5 1/2 months now and I've been working for 5 weeks. I battled with a pumping schedule that worked with the other moms since there is only 1 mother's room, and with my schedule. I realized taht I get more if I pump 1 time between 2:30-2:45, I can easily get 9 ounces from that 12 minute session. I would only get 7 ounces total when i pumped every 2 hours. I usually pump for 12 minutes when I get home since baby isn't usually hungry because seh gets solids 45 minutes before I get her from daycare. So every morning I send 10 1/2 ounces of breastmilk to daycare and she'll have about 8 ounces of formula while there and 2 meals of solids, and nurses constantly at home.
Once you find a schedule that works for you for pumping stick to it.

Marcy - posted on 10/07/2010

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Hi Sharana I pumped for almost an entire year at work. Nice that you have a mommy room. I am not sure how many hours you are working but get yourself on a schedule and pump once every 3-4 hours. I brought a little cooler with ice packs in it to work with me everyday and totally avoided the whole fridge thing. I pumped and dumped right in to the milk bags and stuck them in the cooler. I has my own office so I would just pump while I was working...one side at a time. I would type, send emails and answer my phone while I was pumping away. Yes, it is absolutely exhausting but you are doing an amazing thing for your kiddo and it will go by fast. I can't really think of any other "tricks". Congrats.

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Mackenzie - posted on 10/21/2010

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I went back to work when my son was 12 weeks old and breast fed him exclusively until 14 months. The first few weeks/months were hard but after I got my routine down it got much easier. Either way it is a HUGE commitment but if you are willing, it is possible! I had 2 20 minute breaks and an hour lunch and eventually got so good that i would be done with pumping in 10 minutes! I was also able to use my lunch break and actually go nurse him most of the time instead of pumping since my daycare was so close to my work. I think it just gets easier with time, but its still very hard!! ( I almost didn't know what to do with my time when I was finally done nursing!)

Ramona - posted on 10/21/2010

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I breastfed both girls and pumped at work for a year with both of them. Don't stress too much about supply meeting growth spurts! I found my girls didn't really increase their demand during the day, just lengthened nursing at night. Before you know it you will be introducing solid foods and that will decrease his milk demand.

Thrush; HATE IT! Shared it with my oldest for 4 months and had it again with my youngest. BUT, you can pasteurize your milk! Find a lactation consultant or breastfeeding physician to get the exact directions. You can keep the milk in the same bottles you pumped into, use a basic saucepan with water up to the same level as the milk, and use a meat themometer in the milk to make sure the temperature stays consistent. What I don't remember is the temperature and how long you have to maintain it. Once pasteurized, you can freeze it. This was a life saver for me the second time around!

If you need suggestions in keeping the thrush from coming back...I have a few.

Amber - posted on 10/21/2010

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I hope you stick with it! I breastfeed my daughter, but I didn't go back to work until she was 5 months old. After returning to work in a factory it was hard to continue pumping. I had started by taking the hand held pump to work, which killed my hands it was like I didn't get a break at all. So I started taking the electric pump which let me get more accomplished. The trouble I had was that I had to pump in a restroom that was not very clean and it was August and I felt like I was going to pass out from dehydration. Make sure you are getting enough fluids. I only made it a month after going back to work because it was awkward. I hope your employer has a better understanding and lets you pump in a more comfortable room and when you are ready. Some times breaks are not long enough or you are full and ready to burst in between.

Caitlin - posted on 10/21/2010

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I'm doing the same thing...I nurse my baby boy full time when I'm with him and try to get 4 pumps in a day, 2-3 hours apart. It is tiring and a lot to think about, but I'm also trying to provide my baby with the most nutritious milk, which is easist on his belly. Plus, the cost savings alone is worth the time. Stick with it, it is worth it. I'm finding that pumping maybe twice a day on the weekends, will help build up some extra in the freezer also. Similar to Beth Miller, I also leave my pump all set up, so it cuts on time. I go in, pump for about 7-10 minutes and wash all of the parts at night. It's working out pretty well so far. Good luck!!

Devona Bell - posted on 10/21/2010

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it will get easier. my daughter is now 14 months and i'm still nursing and working full time. i actually think it is easier than giving her formula. i take work into the room where i pump and it isn't a big deal now. in the beginning i also felt like it was so hard, but it gets easier. stick with it and you'll be so happy you did. good luck!

Michelle - posted on 10/20/2010

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I have been pumping at work since I returned 6 months ago. While it can be hectic I know it is the best for my little guy. I usually take a cooler to put my milk in and use the Medela breast pump wipes (they are supposed to work like soap and water) and sanitize in the evening when I get home if I need to.

Kristen - posted on 10/20/2010

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You are so not alone. A colleague had her baby about 10 days after I had mine and she stopped nursing months ago, so it's just me now...after 10 months now. I've also gotten faster. The best thing you can do is pencil your pumping time into your schedule and stick to it. You may be a little late or a little early somedays, but having it actually in your calendar helps it become routine. Best wishes.

Stacy - posted on 10/19/2010

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You are doing great, Mama! I did it for a long time for my twins (now almost 5 years old!) I pumped 3 times a day to start and was always able to exclusively give them my milk ( i nursed at home) I used my regular bras and put the horns in their, kind of tucked them in, but if the special bras are working for you, stick with that! I didn't do a lot of cleaning during work, just rinsed them with water I think and put them in dishwasher over night, but I don't know much about thrush, hope you get better soon.

Christine - posted on 10/19/2010

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I'm in the same boat & really really wish that I had a friend or co-worker that was breastfeeding too. I've read through the replies you've gotten and really can't say anything that hasn't already been said. It's great too that you've got a mommy room! What a nice company!
I wish you the best! Keep in mind that it's only been a few weeks (I'm into month 3 myself) and I'm sure things will get easier!

DoriTerry Baesler - posted on 10/19/2010

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I nursed my 4 children for up to a year and worked also..it's very hard but keep it up it will get easier! After nursing your baby, pump right away it will get your milk supply up..get another set up tubing and bottles the hospital should have them..make sure you have a high quality pump..medula works great! if you need to give a other milk..it's ok!

Hannah - posted on 10/19/2010

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Keep it up! My son will be 12 months old this week and I've been pumping at work the whole time! I do have a manager who is very accepting as well, so it's worked out for me. It was very tiring and exhausting in the beginning, but after a while it just becomes routine! I find myself looking for my bag before my meeting even pops up on my calendar. I have my appt. set at the same time everyday. To speed things up I pump and then just rinse my supplies with hot soapy water quick... this will get them clean enough to reuse during the day. Then at night I scrub them out really well for the next day. That saves me a lot of time and allows me to take shorter breaks.

User - posted on 10/18/2010

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im in the same boat ....but it is worth it to come home and bond with your baby after all days work/pumping

Theresa - posted on 10/18/2010

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OMG girl!!! lol the more stressed a situation, the less ur going to want to br feed... make it easy on yourself!! I worked FT w my now 3 yr old, and work PT now w my 12 wk old- I work 12 hr shifts and pump twice during the day. pump when you can, and supplement if you need to. it worked for both my kids- if I didnt do that- I would have stressed myself out... not enjoyed it as much... and not nursed as long... :) do it so it makes you and ur baby happy :)

Ann Marie - posted on 10/17/2010

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I've breastfed two babies while pumping at work, for a whole year (then they got regular milk during the day and we nursed at home). I think you got lots of good tips, but I also wanted to point you to two resources that helped me a lot: pumpingtips.com and the bfworkingmoms yahoo group.

Amanda - posted on 10/16/2010

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I feel for you. I was in a similar position with my first baby (now four). I replaced one of his feeds (usually the last feed of the night) with a bottle of formula and expressed from very early on and stored (froze) the breastmilk. I then sent the expressed milk with him to daycare and then went to his daycare to give him his lunch feed during my lunch break. I did this for three months until he started solids, then I discontinued the lunch time breastfeed but continued expressing for the other feeds. I continued breastfeeding until he was one whilst I worked full-time. It was exhausting, but it was worth it. I feel blessed that I am not having to do it with my 4 month old as I am lucky enough to still be at home this time round. Good luck.

Sharana - posted on 10/15/2010

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for some reason i am unable to mark these posts as helpful, encouraging, etc... is anyone else able to still do that?

Sharana - posted on 10/15/2010

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i have that one, the pump in style... with the hands free bra... OH! Today I went into the Mommy Room at work... they have fixed it up so nice!! When I first started pumping at work almost a month ago, the room was a chair and a table - inside a supply closet. Now there is a decorative throw pillow in the chair, a boquet of flowers, a CD clock radio, a bulletin board for pics of our babies and articles we find useful, a magazine rack, and a lamp for soft lighting!! They also put a little refrigerator in there, and a trashcan and some greenworks wipes. I just walked in and saw it all today! I cried! I'm leaving a loooong thank you note when I go back for my second session today. It's the little things that count the most, and that is so thoughful! I am very thankful :)

Michelle - posted on 10/15/2010

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Congrats on pumping! I am doing it now with my 2nd and did it for my first for a year. I'm fortunate that I seem to have enough milk that I only have to pump twice a day. But with my first this is what I did to keep up the supply. I pumped first thing in the morning, then I'd nurse her. This helped with the supply. As soon as I come home from work after pumping twice a day, I nurse her again.

Good luck!

Megan - posted on 10/14/2010

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I pumped at work for almost 6months and it is hard. I made it go faster by having as much of my pump set up before as i could. I also told my boss I would be talking a little longer so he knew and it took some pressure to keep it at 10minutes off. I also had extra bottles to pump into. I kept a lunch box with ice packs with my pump. I would use two bottles, put a lid on them then put them in the lunch box and I had two more empty bottles ready for the next time.

Kenneice - posted on 10/14/2010

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when i was working and breastfeeding i had my child on one and the pump on the other than i would switch some times when i was at work i would pump every chance i had got than when i got home feed them or pump if my child was sleeping but when you breastfeed it does calm your body down and makes you go to sleep you still need your rest even though you are taking care of kids and working

Dawnelle - posted on 10/13/2010

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I returned to work full-time when my son was 12 weeks and was able to cut down to 32 hours per week (4 days) when he was 6 months old. I BF until he was 15 months old but I only pumped at work until he was 11 months old. I found that when I went back to work, my son got more "needy" at first and did the same thing that you are talking about. Yes, it is exhausting, but if it isn't BF then it is playing and holding that they want from mommy anyways. It is because they miss you. I only pumped at work 2 times per day for 20 mins. and that wasn't always enough to pump enough milk at times but it is what I could manage with work. When my son had a growth spurt, he did need supplementation w/ formula at childcare at times. There is no rule or reason to not supplement if you have to. I only rinsed the pumping supplies at work in warm water and sterilized them at night (and at work, only if I had the time w/ the Madela steamer bags). When I stopped pumping, I actually missed that "break" during the day. I found that I couldn't do work then and it was nice to sit back and take a relaxing "daydream" or nap. Yes, I felt guilty but when you think of all the times that others are at work taking their smoke breaks or internet time, who cares -don't feel guilty taking the pumping time! This is much more important! Good luck. Parenting is hard and exhausting at EVERY stage, it isn't the BF/pumping.

Sharana - posted on 10/13/2010

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Well, we are still battling Thrush so I pretty much have to sterilize them everytime. I use the micro steam bags from Medela.

Cassidy - posted on 10/13/2010

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I used to just rinse my parts with warm water. I never noted any smell or problem at all.

Cassidy - posted on 10/13/2010

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I really used to stress about pumping. I've exclusively breastfed my 2 boys while working full time. Try reading a book and thinking about pumping breaks as an excuse for "me" time. I'd catch up on magazines I wanted to read or sort pictures and enjoy the time of quiet. I know how tough the time is to spend away from work and away from kids. I assume you are working to support your family and now baby is part of that too. I've always wished I could be home but honestly it isn't in the cards for me as possible. Hang in there. I nursed my oldest for 11.5 months and my youngest for 18 months. Neither had formula and I also battled a lower supply. Lean on those around you. Even virtual support is support remember! I'm expecting my 3rd in April and will work full time 12 hour night shifts.

Sharana - posted on 10/13/2010

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LOL... I did kind of zone out and fall asleep one day, and I overflowed one of those little 2 oz containers... lol. Not the greatest thing to go around all day with breastmilk on my pants. But I survived! :)

Tina - posted on 10/12/2010

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Oh you overachiever :)- And you know what- Congrats for not taking the easy way out.

I used to take a big cooler with my pumping supplies...after pumping I choose to pour the milk in storage bags and keep the setup all put together for the next pumping session stored in the cooler ...at first I used a pumping bra...but found soon enough that my "regular" bra's would hold the milk bottles just fine hands free once the suction was activated...and then I just blissed out for 10 minutes in my supply closet...
I have to admit that the cooler idea was mainly because I did not want to wash my pump-parts in the communal kitchen...but it saved so much energy!...At the end of the day I just plopped the parts in the dishwasher and got a clean set of bottles and shields...use pumping time to breathe deep or even take a quick snooze and you'll start looking forward to it...the better you relax the faster the milk will let down...

Sharana - posted on 10/12/2010

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I am getting faster and faster! And an extra set would be great... but I don't know... If I pump during lunch I don't think I'll have enough time to eat. Also, I don't want to end up with too much of a supply... well, I may have to this week to keep u[p with him! As for the laptop thing, I'll mention it to them, but I doubt it will go over very well. My bosses are men and they don't want to talk about it much... lol.

Sharana - posted on 10/12/2010

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LOL... I forgot one of the parts one day and ended up milking myself by hand! You're right with the extra parts! I have the hands free bra also and I love it! I need about two more to keep one clean. Also THANK YOU to whoever mentioned pumping a lil bit first, that has worked out great :) He is going through that growth spurt right now, so the extra supply definitely helps... I even had to dip into the milk stash this weekend because he was screaming that it wasnt flowing fast enough for him on both sides! He wanted to get the eating over with and play!! :)

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I went back to work while exclusively breastfeeding and pumped for all 3 of my babies. Pumped for each one for 12 months--3 while I was home with them to build up a freezer stash and then 9 months from work.

If you can manage it, wake up before the baby in the morning and pump ALOT. You have the most milk in the morning and you will still be able to produce for your baby when s/he wakes up.

Definitely get yourself a hands-free pumping bra. It will change your life! I suggest getting one that zips in teh middle so you don't have to pull it over your head. I bought this one... http://cgi.ebay.com/HANDS-FREE-PUMPING-B...

We had a computer in the office lactation room so I didn't have to stop working at all. I tried to schedule conference calls during pumping sessions and the people on the line got used to the sound of the pump.

If you can afford it get another pump or at least get an additional set of parts. I had 2 pumps and several sets of parts so I could leave one at home and wouldn't have to drag a pump on the subway every day.

Also, make sure you know where the nearest supplier of parts is....I had to make some emergency purchases at times if I forgot something.

Good luck!

Rachel - posted on 10/09/2010

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If it is in the budget - save the washing and simply get a second set/pieces so that you only have to wash them once at home that night. Also, my son is currently swirching between folrmula and breastmilk, and the same went for my daughter who is now 4 1/2, without a bit of trouble. The key is feeding the formula at daycare/babysitter once a day so that there is a reular appearance of it. This allows flexiblity for you if you do slow down a bit - and for your little one when they go through that inevitable growth spurt when even the most diligent mom finds a shortage.
Keep it up and give yourself credit - it is not easy but you are right that it is worth it! I nursed/pumped through the first year and worked full time and then some - so I know you can do it!

Julie - posted on 10/09/2010

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GOOD FOR YOU! it will be hard but so worth it! I am a teacher so it was very hard. Lucky I had a fabulous principal. who would cover class and a day care lady who would bring the baby up up!
Keep it up.

Sharana - posted on 10/08/2010

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Can't work and pump... I wish I could. Right now I only get 2 40 minute breaks in addition to my 30 minute lunch to pump, but I am not pumping at lunch. When lil Leo starts eating more though, I guess I will need to pump 3 times during the day, and also in the morning on the side he doesnt eat.

Emily - posted on 10/07/2010

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Good for you! I am a breastfeeding/working mom. I pumped at work for quite awhile. Unfortunately with both my kids, I stopped responding to the pump at around 5-6 months. I went from getting 6oz at a pumping session to about 6 drops. But I do nurse when I'm home and through the night as well. Pumping is such hard work, but it is definitely worth it!

Sharana - posted on 10/07/2010

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Oh, I do have one suggestion - get the hands free pumping bra! It at least lets you relax your hands and read a magazine or a book while you pump, and the little gravity applied by the hanging bottle feels alot like the baby when he is suckling too! So I think it makes the milk come out better :) It's my best purchase yet, and I think I may have to get another one :) I got it at LLLI.org's website

Beth - posted on 10/07/2010

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With my first son, now 2 yrs. I went back to work almost immediately. I was in sales and I did one of 2 things, I either took my son with me (I think he closed most of my sales that first year) and made sure I got there early and I would nurse him- then he would sleep thru the appointment usually in the arms of my clients. ;) But if I couldn't take him- I did alot of work in hospitals I would have to pump in the car before and after the appointment, then once I got back to my office. I used the pump wipes for clean up on the road, but even looking back it was awkward, but you do what you have to do to give your child the best! I would leave my pump set up in the rest room (the only place I had) so that set up wasn't a big deal- and after I cleaned up, I re-set it for the next pump. With my 2nd (now 5 months) I started a work at home business- so now I ACTUALLY breastfeed AND work at the same time. ;)

Sharana - posted on 10/07/2010

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Oh, and I forgot to mention my son and I both have thrush! So I can't freeze his milk. His treatment should only last about 1 more week, and then I can, but I can't stop what I'm doing now, which is pumping for 15 - 20 minutes 2 times during my work hours. I have 2 15 min breaks and an hour lunch, so I asked my boss if it's ok if I split my lunch into a 30 min lunch and add the other 30 mins to my breaks. I use those for pumping. I always pump a 5 oz bottle in the morning too while he eats on the other side, but at night when I get home he usually eats on both sides for each feeding so i have nothing left to pump! LOL. He is pretty satisfied though, and as of now I am ending up with 3 extra bottles at the end of the night and I add one more in the morning. My stash is going ok so far.

Talahna - posted on 10/07/2010

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when your at home breastfeeding inbetween feeding him pump its kinda hard but it helps alot to and freeze them they last longer just when you thaw the milk out do not refreeze it. thats what i have to do cuz i work 3 jobs and breastfeed also. but i have not started back work yet i just had my son 3 wks ago so if you have any advise b4 i go back plz anything will help

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