Tough situation - what is best?

Heather - posted on 10/20/2010 ( 10 moms have responded )

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To make a long story short, I work 50 hours/week and can't pump enough to keep up with my daughter's demands. My milk supply is decreasing and while I still make plenty to feed her while I am at home and pump some of what she needs, we are using about 5 bags/week. At this rate eI will run out of frozen milk by the time she is 9 months old, so I was just wondering. Is it better to give her only breastmilk until it runs out, then give her formula while I am gone, or should I start doing some formula now to stretch out the length of time she has breastmilk?
Note: She will still be nursing about 4 times a day, even once I do run out of frozen milk.

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[deleted account]

I agree with Teresa. Once she starts solids then she can have solids and water while away from you. Keep in mind that she will probably want to nurse more when you are together

Brooke - posted on 10/20/2010

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No matter how mard I try, I never have been able to pump enough during my workday either. I make up the difference at home. I can usually get another bottle to send to daycare if I pump right after the first feed of the morning. And I pump right before bed too.
Are you drinking enough water in the day while you are at work? You need at least 64oz of water to stay hydrated, if not more. You can also try eating a bowl of oatmeal (real, not instant) for breakfast. That gives me a good boost in the mornings.
You want to have multiple letdowns each pumping session. I usually have between 4-6 each time I pump. Bring pictures of your baby or some clothes they wore the day before and smell it to help you have further letdowns. Could you benefit from a larger or smaller breastshield? I was using too small of shields when I first started back to work and it kept me from getting all of my milk and that led to supply issues. Can you add an extra pump session in your workday?
There are herbs you can take that might help you increase your supply. Fenugreek is sold at GNC or healthfood stores. You can take 3-4 pills 3-4 times a day until you smell like maple syrup. Then you know you are on the right dose. If it will work, you'll see results in a week or so. Then you can wean off by taking one less pill a day. Or More Milk Plus by Motherlove. That is what I use. But it's more expensive than just fenugreek pills. I just also bought Goat's Rue pills. Just started them last night so I'm anxious to see if they work or not.
You can also try power pumping - some women swear by it to make your body think LO is going through a growth spurt. You'd want to do it several nights in a row, maybe before bed, while watching tv or something. Pump for 20 minutes. Stop for 10. Pump for 10. Stop for 10. Pump for 10.
Don't get discouraged. Soon your LO will be eating solids and hopefully that will take some pressure off of you (It did for me!). It sounds like your doing a wonderful job and the best thing for your baby. Even if you do have to add some formula in the mix, mostly breastmilk and a little formula is certainly better then no breastmilk at all! Good Luck!

[deleted account]

I'd just keep up w/ the breastmilk the best that you can. By the time she is 9 months old she can have mostly solids and water while you are gone and breastfeed when you are together. You could use formula at that point if you really had to, but you may find that it isn't necessary. Good luck!

Nicole - posted on 10/20/2010

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If you can keep her solely on breastmilk until she is atleast six months that is the best thing for her intestines. Before six months, your babies intestines are vulnerable and can be aggravated by formula sometimes even causing bleeding, but after six months, your breastmilk has helped build a seal in your babies intestines that will protect form any damage. I hope this helps!

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Asha - posted on 10/23/2010

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I encountered the same problem when I returned to work and I found that supplementing with formula while I still had sufficient breast milk helped ease her into the change. At first she shunned most formulas but I eventually found one that worked for her (Nestle Good Start). I still nurse her, but now she eats solid food and occasionally wants formula as well; she is 21mths now.

Rachel - posted on 10/21/2010

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It sounds like you're doing fine. One thing I did to build up my milk supply before I went back to work was to pump every time I nursed. So, I would nurse on one side, pump on the other. Then switch the next time around. I think I ended up making extra milk that way and it helped to increase my storage. You could also possibly start skipping a feeding now and replacing it with food. Pump that feeding instead and save it. It might work. : )

Heather - posted on 10/21/2010

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Thanks everyone for all your input :) I do take fenugreek and she is 7 months old, so we did make it to the 6 month mark. Unfortunately my big problem is that i don'[t have time at my job to pump. I am well aware that technically I could pump as many times as I need to and the law sys no one can stop me, but I manage a restaurant and quite frankly, taking the half hour in the middle of my 10 hour shift to go home and feed my daughter (which was awesome, by the way) was so annoying, because I always had to go right in the middle of dinner so another manager could cover, that I decided I would only do it until she was about 6 months. Now, I pump once in the morning and after I come home and feed her at night (I work 2-12). I guess I will just use all the milk and hopefully she will be able to get by without needing formula after 9 months.
Thanks!

Rachel - posted on 10/20/2010

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Use all breastmilk for as long as you can. When your storage is close to running out you can reevaluate. Also, I took fenugreek supplements when I was pumping at work (looks like herbs in a capsule, smells like licorice). It works very well to increase your milk supply.

[deleted account]

I'd hold off with the formula as long as you can. The later you introduce it the better. Tough choice, good luck to!

Allyson - posted on 10/20/2010

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My advise would be to go till your milk runs out then start with the formula.. I found my LO didn't like the taste of formula (which I didn't blame her) when she knew there was something better around. When we went solely to formula she drank it fine but it was hard for her to switch back and forth. I hope that helps!

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