Hi! My son will be 4 months on Saturday. I breastfeed exlusively when I'm home and he has breastmilk bottles when I'm at work. I went back to work two days a week when he was 3 months old. I have several questions...
I work in a pediatric intensive care unit and it's so hard to get away to pump sometimes. I've flat out broke in to tears because I'm so engorged and uncomfortable at times. Will my milk supply decrease if that happens to me too many times?
Also how much should he be eating at home? When I work 12 hours, I'm gone from 6:15 am till 8:15 pm. My husband gives him bottles but it seems he eats more for him than I pump at work in that time.
And lastly...should he be on a schedule and sleeping through the night? I was laid back and fed him on demand when I was on maternity leave but now it seems like our days are all over the place and he's up at least once or twice in the night, more on the days I work.
Hi Mama, welcome! First off, take a breath and relax. You've found friends and help! I may not have all the answers but someone wil follow with stellar advice I'm sure!
First off, YES! If you go to long without pumping or expressing milk (even down a sink sorry to say) you are telling your body it doesn't need to work so hard making milk. It will decrease your supply. Trying to find a routine at work to fit in pumping is very hard, I know. I have a hard time tearing myself away from clients to go pump. But it must be done. It's important so that you keep up your supply and to have milk for LO for the next day. You have to keep the milk flowing.
Second, when you are away rule of thumb is baby needs 1-1.5 oz of milk for every hour you are gone. So in a twelve hour shift LO would need between 12-18oz of milk. My LO started off with 2oz bottles at 6 weeks old but is now 27 weeks and takes 3 oz. bottles. That's why it's so important to pump at work, to keep up the demand and to supply you for the next day.
Third, Babies kind of do their own thing. iME and from this forum, no two babies are the same. They all sleep differently and from what I gather no babies on here sleep through the night consistently. My LO co-shares with me, so I couldn't tell you really how much she wakes up. If I had to guess, I would say twice. On a good night? Her longest stretch, the one and only time was 5 hours. We both slept 5 hours. She sleeps very well, a lot according to the doctor but since she eats really well, above expected in milestones and growth there are no worries. My advice is to really really rest when they do. Maybe try co-shareing to see if it suites you. I couldn't manage through the day before we started. Now 4 months later, I feel rested and we both had a good rest! Babies are not meant to sleep through the night, that's my take. Our milk is so perfect and easily digested, they need a refill often, night included. I say 3 hour stretches, count yourself lucky!
I hope you found some of my advice helpful, I'm new to the giving advice thing. Good luck mama, I look forward to an update. :) your doing great!!
:ita with the PP. I just want to add that schedules are the enemy of successful breastfeeding. Milk supply is created by demand. Scheduling and forcing a baby to sleep through the night before he's ready are great ways to make your supply tank, because you're short-circuiting the supply = demand equation. I know that's not what any tired mommy wants to hear... But think about it this way: all that night nursing is your baby's way of reconnecting with you and is also keeping your supply where it should be, hopefully compensating for this times when you cannot get your pump break at work.
Hi mama! Definitely agree with advice from PPs. Just wanted to throw out a suggestion that may help you fit pumping into your busy work schedule. Do you have a hands-free pumping setup? You can buy a special bra/cami for that purpose (holds the flanges in place) or make your own by cutting holes out of a snug-fitting cami. That way you can multi-task, for example, pump while eating lunch or charting. Also, having a good pump is key if you are pressed for time. I use (as do many other moms on here) the Medela pump in style advanced. A step up from that would be renting a hospital-grade pump (you may even have one available to you through the hospital).
Here's the link from Kelly Mom on how to bottle feed a breastfed baby, which helps keep baby's bottle intake more similar to what he gets at the breast http://kellymom.com/bf/pumpingmoms/f...ottle-feeding/.