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Thread: away from baby during hospital stay

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    louisville,ky
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    Default away from baby during hospital stay

    Hi all. This is my first post here and I really hope you all can offer some help for me!

    I will be traveling to a University hospital several states away for some out patient medical testing which should last 3 days. The hospital has age restriction policies(for the health of other patients) that will not allow me to take my 6 month old with me. So my plan is to leave her at home and pump and freeze or dump depending on the type of testing. I know one test will include radioactive dye and I have been told I may not even hold the baby for 24 hours after this test.

    I have breastfed two other children but was plagued with supply issues starting at 6 months. Both of my older children weaned early - I believe because they were frustrated with not having enough milk. So I am very concerned with loosing my milk supply during this hospital stay.

    Can you suggest tips for how to ensure that when I get home I will have not lost my milk? Should I be concerned about baby rejecting the breast after several days of bottle feeding? Anything else I should be aware of?

    Thank you in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    1,805

    Default Re: away from baby during hospital stay

    Will you be staying at the hospital overnight for three days or will be be in a hotel? Any chance SO and baby could come so you'd only be away during testing time? If not, I think by six months you should be okay for three days in terms of baby rejecting your breast... some Mama's find it harder than others, but you'll be able to get your LO back on.

    As for losing supply - can you rent a hospital grade pump for just those three days? The best thing you can do to maintain supply is to empty your breasts as completely as you can as frequently as seems reasonable (i'd say no longer every than three hours). Are you storing milk now so you'll have plenty while you're gone (most babies eat an average of about 24-36 oz a day)

    Good luck!
    Julia and Maxwell (and Dan and Haddie)
    Maxwell, born January 3, 2010
    A year on Mama's milk and still loving it

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    2,538

    Default Re: away from baby during hospital stay

    I had a hospital stay for 3 days when my lo was 11 months, i used a hospital provided pump during taht time and pumped, I did not refrigerate/take home my milk since i had already left enough milk at home for the feedings where he wasn't brought to me but i did contnue to pump and fully empty my breast s
    Autumn
    Moma to *Silas* 10-30-07

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    10,440

    Default Re: away from baby during hospital stay

    I would suggest doing the following:

    store up breastmilk PRIOR to your testing. If you are having one of the tests I suspect you will be having from what you write, you will have to pump and dump anyway, as the radioactive dye (I bet it's iodine) will be in the milk and baby should not be exposed to that.
    to store, rent a hospital grade pump for the month prior to going for testing. Pump after feeding, pick a time of day to pump, something like that, and pump to store that milk. Then, while you are away from your family -- either because you are not allowed to hold baby for 24 hours or because baby stays at home while you are away -- you pump, substituting pump for baby. And dump the milk if you have to, or save it and bring it home if you need it.

    Pumping to sub for baby consists of pumping for 120 minutes out of every 24 hours. You should break that up into 6-8 sessions, at least, that imitate how your 6 month old currently nurses. So, if normally, your LO nurses at 6, 8, 11, 2, 3, 7, 9 and 2, for example, then, when you are apart, pump at those times (or close to). If she has a more random schedule, then you can just decide when to start and then pump every 2-3-4 hours. Nights... if she doesn't nurse overnight, then don't pump overnight. I would not plan to pump every hour hours unless baby naturally does a long stretch of time not nursing. More pumping is better. More often is better.

    I would not want to try this with just a professional grade pump. I'd want a hospital grade pump. And I'd take mine so I didn't have to wait my turn with a pump provided by the hospital.
    Susan
    Mama to my all-natural boys: Ian, 9-4-04, 11.5 lbs; Colton, 11-7-06, 9 lbs, in the water; Logan, 12-8-08, 9 lbs; Gavin, 1-18-11, 9 lbs; and an angel 1-15-06
    18+ months and for Gavin, born with an incomplete cleft lip and incomplete posterior cleft palate
    Sealed for time and eternity, 7-7-93
    Always babywearing, cosleeping and cloth diapering. Living with oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD. Ask me about cloth diapering and sewing your own diapers!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Shakedown St.
    Posts
    1,176

    Default Re: away from baby during hospital stay

    I had a three day hospital stay when mine was six months also. By six months my son was very attached to nursing, so he nursed non-stop with no problems once I got out. I rented a pump from hospital, and pumped every two to three hours during the day and ever four hours at night and had absolutely no supply problems. Because you've had supply problems in the past, it's a good idea to follow the scheduling advice above.

    I did have trouble getting a letdown because of the stress of being away from my son and the hospital staff barging in all the time. I finally switched on the television and put on my nursing cover when pumping and then I had no problems. Do go with the hospital grade pump if possible; it makes a huge difference. The hospital I was at just left the rented pump in my room. I didn't have to take turns with anyone.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    louisville,ky
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    12

    Default Re: away from baby during hospital stay

    Thanks all for the friendly help! I will plan on renting a hospital grade pump. The good news is that I already have a good amount on milk in my deep freezer and I have a couple of weeks between now and the trip to store more milk.

    The way it has been explained to me is I will be at the hospital for testing all day long, go to the hotel at night and be back at the hospital bright and early for more testing. All in all it will be about 4 days I will be away including travel time.

    I would love to take baby with me but logistically that may be impossible. I have two older children who will be in school and need someone to stay with them. The hospital requires someone be with me. So keeping the baby in the hotel would require yet one more person to stay with her during the day. I also think it would be sheer torture for both of us if we were sharing the same room during the 24 hour period when I won't be able to hold her.

    And a special thanks to Susan for your very clear advice concerning a pumping schedule!

    The week she was born I was hospitalized with pneumonia and had to pump and dump for a day or two (my memory is foggy on this!) because of all the IV medications. They did allow her to stay in my room with me. Which was nice because she had just spent her first several days in the NICU. I remember how hard it was to not be able to nurse her when she was so upset and she rejected the formula. And the hospital interruptions were so constant! I do remember at one point having a nurse hold the pump for me while I was swallowing pills and doing a breathing treatment all at the same time! It was just so crazy we all had to laugh! But we made it through and we were both so happy when the hospital lactation consultant said I could resume breastfeeding!

    I am very comforted to know it is unlikely she will refuse the breast after this hospital stay. The suggestion of a nursing/pumping cover is great too. I think I'll go shop for one now! I have talked with the hospital staff about the pumping issues but I don't know how all that will work/the timing/ the type of room..... I'll worry about that when the time comes I guess. My hope is that they will be helpful in helping me maintain my milk and offer me the time and place I'll need to pump.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    1,805

    Default Re: away from baby during hospital stay

    i didn't say this before, but i hope all the testing goes well, Mama!
    Julia and Maxwell (and Dan and Haddie)
    Maxwell, born January 3, 2010
    A year on Mama's milk and still loving it

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    10,440

    Default Re: away from baby during hospital stay

    Since you'll have your own pump and nursing cover, all you will need is an outlet When my youngest son was in surgery, I told the hospital staff I needed to pump. The desk folks weren't that helpful in helping me find a place, but the nurses were awesome at helping me find a place to pump and even had me go into unused rooms, no problem. So it should be easier than you think.

    Another thing you might find very helpful is a hands free bra. You can buy one -- Target and BRU usually carry them, or you can find them online -- or you can make one. Cut a very small hole in an old sports bra and slide the horns through. You can also use hair ties to do a handsfree set up, but I think a bra holds the bottles better. I find hands free pumping very helpful; yeah, part of that is because I pump all the time, as an EPer for my clefty, but also because I tend to get bored with the whole thing and anxious about making milk, and being hands free lets me do something else to distract me from the boredom and anxiety. When you have to pump 8 times a day, it gets really old, and this way I can read or play with my iPod or work on the computer. Even though it's just for a few days, you might find a hands free setup pretty helpful.

    Don't forget to do some compressions and massage. That helps keep your supply up.

    Baby will probably be so glad to see you
    Susan
    Mama to my all-natural boys: Ian, 9-4-04, 11.5 lbs; Colton, 11-7-06, 9 lbs, in the water; Logan, 12-8-08, 9 lbs; Gavin, 1-18-11, 9 lbs; and an angel 1-15-06
    18+ months and for Gavin, born with an incomplete cleft lip and incomplete posterior cleft palate
    Sealed for time and eternity, 7-7-93
    Always babywearing, cosleeping and cloth diapering. Living with oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD. Ask me about cloth diapering and sewing your own diapers!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    louisville,ky
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: away from baby during hospital stay

    Thank you! My hope it that it comes back with something! I would hate to do all this only to have the doctors shrugg their shoulders and scratch their heads . I have been sick for a long time and this is not my first rodeo! My experience is that tests which show nothing are far more frustrating than tests that come back with results that suggest a possible treatment plan. Here's to hoping for a new path to a healthier life!!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    louisville,ky
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: away from baby during hospital stay

    Had a promo code for a free Udder Cover in my e-mail and just ordered a cute cover for pumping!

    @ susan - with what little pumping I have done, I totally get the boredom/anxiety thing. I have an old sports bra that I will convert! Then I can paly Angry Birds and pump at the same time! I can't imagine doing it as frequently as you do! But I'm sure it is worth it for you and your little one! My opinion is that breastfeeding is worth fighting for no matter cleft palates or pneumonia or what ever life throws at you! Keep up the hard work!

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