BF vs FF when returning to work

Nichole - posted on 12/27/2010 ( 2 moms have responded )

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So i will be going back to work mid january but in a different position. I just recently graduated nursing school and will be starting a position as an RN. I have been breastfeeding so far, he is 3 months now and will be 3 and a half when i return, and pumping while I am away but I find it time consuming to pump while I am out. I am nervous that when I start a new job I am going to be so overwhelmed about learning a new job that pumping will just stress me out more. I was thinking of switching to formula once I return but I am so torn. I want to do what I know is best for my son but I am thinking that it would be best for me and my sanity to switch. I dont know what to do!

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Heather - posted on 12/29/2010

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It's all about balance. My mom was really helpful to me after I returned to work. I had a big freezer stash that was dwindling after about 3 months. I worked ten hour shifts and went home once a day to feed the baby (luckily I live close, because my body really didn't pump very much and I only had a single pump.) I would get home at 12, feed her, then try and pump some more for the next day. By the time I got to bed it was at least 1, if not later. I was going crazy trying to pump enough to not give my daughter formula, stressing out about everything, and taking massive doses on fenugreek to keep my supply going. Eventually I chose sleep and for the final weeks of freezer milk I mixed it half and half with formula. Now I happily nurse three times a day, give my daughter formula the rest of the time, and don't feel guilty. (Although I did cry the first day that I didn't have enough milk to nurse her all day.)

Although breast is best, formula isn't "poison" as some moms like to put it. Trying to keep up with pumping when it simply isn't feasible is only going to drive you crazy. Also, there is no law that says you have to go all one way. I nurse first thing in the morning, once again before I head off to work (at 2 pm), and last thing at night. Some moms only nurse once a day. You can continue nursing for as long as your milk holds out and supplement with formula the rest of the time. That way you know you are giving your baby the antibodies and such that are so beneficial, and not going crazy trying to keep him off formula.



Just a quick note: I am part of the breastfeeding community on here and while it is great for breastfeeding support, it was not great when I started adding formula in. Any question I had was just met with the same old tips for increasing my milk supply and laws for nursing mothers. Many of the mothers on the threads were in favor of replacing nursing sessions with food before giving my daughter formula. It is obviously geared toward women who are in situations that breastfeeding can be maintained and it wasn't very supportive of me starting to use formula.

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Congratulations on being a new Mommy and a new graduate! You have a huge task to undertake and it won't be easy. BUT, it is manageable. You can still continue a breastfeeding relationship in the mornings and in the evenings, while supplementing with formula. This is what I did when I returned to teaching. Even though I had an awesome pump, my body simply did not pump a lot. I was lucky to get 4-5 ounces over the course of a school day. But rest assured that your son is still getting the nutritional benefits of breastmilk. If you are able to pump and produce a lot, I'd suggest building up a freezer stash. I might suggest you look for support from the formula feeding board too. You might want to also check out the breastfeeding board, but please know that a majority of the women that post are very pro-breastfeeding, and may not be as supportive to using formula. One thing I learned when I returned to work was to balance things out. My milk supply became almost non-existent and I was forcing my son to nurse. It became such an unpleasant experience that it was simply time to stop. I nursed just under 9 months, but he was using formula since 3 months. All the best to you!

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