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Thread: Preparing for baby, lots of breastfeeding questions

  1. #1
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    Default Preparing for baby, lots of breastfeeding questions

    My baby boy is due on the 4th of July and I am trying to prepare for breastfeeding. I am not even certain that my plans are feasible, so I have a lot of questions. (And it seems like I had a lot of misconceptions/misinformation...so I'm pretty worried.)

    After my maternity leave I will return to my job - which requires me to be out of town for about 72 hours straight each week. (I leave for work at 8pm Friday night and don't get home until 6pm or later on Monday.) I recently went to a breastfeeding class and the instructor said "Your breasts will make as much milk as you need." Looking at some posts on this site, it doesn't seem like this is true. Is it going to be possible for me to pump 72 hours worth of milk in four days?

    I am concerned about getting enough milk pumped, but also getting the right mix of foremilk and hindmilk pumped. Can I have my baby nurse from only one breast at each feeding and pump the other breast to ensure that I get foremilk and hindmilk into storage? Will this cause my body to make extra milk since both breasts are being emptied at each feeding? If I do this it seems more likely that I can build up a three day supply for when I am at work.

    I am also concerned about pumping while at work. I work 16 hours a day on Saturdays and Sundays (7am to 11pm). Right now, I don't get breaks. I don't even get breaks for meals since eating meals is part of my job responsibilities. I know that I am entitled to, and *can get* breaks...there is a woman at work who smokes and I see her taking breaks sometimes...but I am worried about how many breaks I am going to have to ask for. How often will I need to pump throughout the day? About how long will it take to pump both breasts and quickly store the milk in a mini freezer in my bedroom?

    Are there any laws that protect my right to pump at work? I think my company is a little too politically correct to make a fuss about it...but not if I am taking too many breaks and they are lasting for too long.

    I once heard part of a program on NPR the was featuring mothers that exclusively pump. I am certain that one of the mothers had pumped and stored so much milk that by four or five months, she had a year's supply in storage. Now, I feel like I must have heard wrong or just been too naive. Is it really possible to get that much milk? I was really hoping that it was possible...so that I can easily produce enough milk to feed my baby while I am away at work...and so I can pump enough for a year in six months, so that I won't have to pump at work for an entire year.

    It seems like I may have to change my plans to breastfeeding for six months instead of one year. It seems like it also might be possible that I might have to supplement breastfeeding with formula.

    I also read that I should breastfeed exclusively for two weeks after my baby is born in order to get him used to breastfeeding. Then I should introduce the bottle to get him used to the bottle and make sure that he gets breastmilk in a bottle once a day so he doesn't forget how to bottlefeed. Is this the best thing to do?

    Thank you so much in advance for your advice. I really appreciate it

    Cassakane

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Preparing for baby, lots of breastfeeding questions

    Hi mama,

    Wow, you've got a lot of great questions, and it's awesome you're on here already asking. That's a really good sign that you'll be able to stick with it, because the work scenario you describe - I'm gonna be honest here - sounds pretty hard. Now, a lot of how hard it will be depends on how flexible your job is and how much you fight for those pumping breaks, which you'll need. Let me see if I can answer at least some of your questions, in no particular order. But a very important detail is how soon after the birth you'll be doing these 72 hours away each week?

    1. most bf-friendly recs are to save the bottle for 6 weeeks, to make sure that you establish a good nursing relationship. now, lots of mamas introduce a bottle earlier with no problems, but there is a higher risk of having problems if you intro a bottle sooner. you won't know if you're one with a problem until you're there.
    2. yes, some mamas pump a ton. susan on here was storing like 50 oz a day in addition to the 30 her baby was drinking. and that can really help the pressure of pumping. (think about it - many mamas nurse twins - so it's totally possible) BUT. if you pump too much too soon you risk oversupply, and that has a whole host of problems associated with it too! and more importantly, you will need to pump while you're away for 3 days in order to keep yourself healthy. unless you wean from the breast and only feed leftover frozen bottles you pumped months before while you're home - doable but it sounds like a lot of work to me - then you have to pump or you will risk mastitis, not to mention killing your supply very quickly. i personally would pump while away, nurse while home, because the benefits of "real time" milk are also big (immunity, etc).
    3. you won't pump doulbe for 3 days ... you'll need enough ahead to cover the first 3 day shift, but on that shift you'll pump enough for the next one, and bring it home.
    4. all the pumping questions will mostly have to wait to see how you respond to the pump. right now, estimate that you'll need a pump break every three hours for 30 mins (ie, 8, 11, 2 etc). we can help you figure that out when you get there.
    5. there is no such thing as foremilk/hindmilk. there's just milk. if you're nursing/pumping often, it's not a big deal. what happens is the fat gets stuck to the milk ducts, and so what comes out first has less fat than what comes out at the end. but if you nurse frequently, the fat stays mixed in a lot better. nothing to worry about in advance.
    6. almost everyone can make as much milk as their baby needs. your instructor was right. but throw in allt hese modern day changes - your work schedule, for example - and it gets tougher.
    7. you didn't ask, but you need a new hosptial grade double electric pump with a hands-free bra. you can find other posts on here with recs. i have had good luck with my ameda purely yours. i know susan likes her limerick and it's small which would be important if you'll be traveling every weekend.
    8. the rest of the advice to you will be different depening on how soon you have to go back to work. establishing a supply for the first 12 weeks or so is really crucial, and going back sooner than that is going to be doubly hard.

    hopefully someone else knows the pumping break laws.

    what else?
    DS1 6/7/11
    DS2 10/29/13

    Nursing, pumping, cloth-diapering, babywearing, working professor mama with the awesomest SAHD ever.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Preparing for baby, lots of breastfeeding questions

    Excellent information above. Especially about foremilk/hindmilk. Lots of people get way too caught up in that, and it is very rarely an issue (and a relatively minor issue those rare times it does pop up).

    I just wanted to add that you shouldn't let the posts here get you down. Many women nurse and pump for their babies without any issues and they never post here because they never need help.

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*auderey View Post
    7. you didn't ask, but you need a new hosptial grade double electric pump with a hands-free bra. you can find other posts on here with recs. i have had good luck with my ameda purely yours. i know susan likes her limerick and it's small which would be important if you'll be traveling every weekend.
    Also I think this should read professional grade pump (like the Purely Yours), although a hospital grade pump (like the Limerick), if you can afford it, would probably be nicer for pumping over the extended periods you will be gone.
    K. Sophia - Mama to my little lactivore, the amazing Mr. X (11/10).

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Preparing for baby, lots of breastfeeding questions

    Standard rule of thumb is No bottles before the 4-6 week point. So if you are wanting to do it earlier rather than later, you still would not start before the 4week point. And if you were playing it safe you would wait till 6 weeks. I waited 5 weeks. And then always pumped one bottle a day in the am so my DH could take the baby for 2 hours in the evening and give me a break. How long is your maternity leave? Your Breastfeeding breaks ARE protected in most states. And you are allowed 2 extra 15 minute breaks to pump on an 8 hour shift. But that is as well as a lunch break. And you are supposed to be pumping to mimic breastfeeding which should really be every two hours. Which works out well for most people who get their lunch break 4hours into shift. Because a break 2hours in, lunch and a last pumping break in the after noon is about how often you'd be feeding your baby. It seems you will be going longer stretches if you aren't taking lunch. To increase your freezer Stash you can get a car adaptor and pump on your way to and from work.
    But you would not ever want to keep more than 3 months milk in the freezer at a time unless you have a separate deep freeze and even then the most is 6months. I think that having a 1-2 month stash is plenty of back up. The name of the game is to give the baby the freshest milk possible and when you have to supplement you are doing so with your own pumper frozen milk. But Ideally you would go away on your 1st trip and the baby would drink fresh milk you had pumped all week long. If that ended up not being enough, a few bottles would come out of the freezer, than while away, you would be pumping and that would be enough for the FOLLOWING week. And if it's handled correctly it doesn't have to even be frozen. Because Breastmilk is good in the fridge for up to 7 days.
    Are you only doing these weekend stints or is this part of a job that has regular week days? Trying to figure out when to tell you to pump on the drive to and FRO.

    Way too lazy for formula

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Preparing for baby, lots of breastfeeding questions

    I am one of those mothers who exclusively pumps, and yes, I had a freezer full of milk by the time my LO was a few months old. But PLEASE DO NOT EXCLUSIVELY PUMP!!!

    It is MUCH MUCH HARDER than breastfeeding in the long run.

    Frozen milk is damaged by the freezing process. It doesn't change to meet your baby's needs. It doesn't have the same immunities as current milk. This is why I continue to pump for my 16 month old. Because it is best for a baby to have as fresh as possible. He couldn't get it from the tap, so I have been able to give him second best. In a deep freeze, breastmilk can be held for a year at least, but p,ease do not plan to do this.

    You miss out on a lot of good times with your LO by EPing, things that would be even more important since you will be gone every weekend. And when you are with LO, baby will cry to be held, usually when you are pumping. It was incredibly difficult to EP, and I was totally blessed with an easy fourth baby. If it had been my first or third, I'd never have succeeded because they had much higher needs to be held all the time.

    I have a huge OS, and that tends to lead to issues with foremilk and hindmilk, but if you take your bottles pumped while you are away and mix them, it balances it out.

    I would plan to pump every 2 hours while away, around the clock, and breastfeed when you are home. You yourself need to never ever give a bottle. Ever. You must be associated with the breast only.

    ETA: I'll come back later and add more. Because I don't want you to think EPing is easy at all, or that you are going to fail at breastfeeding. But I have to get finished pumping so I can get my kids up and go to our new home inspection (I had to get up an hour early to do this, thanks to pumping. Yawn)
    Last edited by @llli*aprilsmagic; May 22nd, 2012 at 05:08 AM.
    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
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Preparing for baby, lots of breastfeeding questions

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*phi View Post
    Also I think this should read professional grade pump (like the Purely Yours), although a hospital grade pump (like the Limerick), if you can afford it, would probably be nicer for pumping over the extended periods you will be gone.
    thanks for the clarification, phi!
    DS1 6/7/11
    DS2 10/29/13

    Nursing, pumping, cloth-diapering, babywearing, working professor mama with the awesomest SAHD ever.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Preparing for baby, lots of breastfeeding questions

    Thank you, everyone, for your responses. I plan to take eight weeks off work after the birth of my baby. So, I should have plenty of time for the baby to be used to breastfeeding before I introduce a bottle. Thanks for letting me know that I should wait six weeks and never feed with a bottle myself. I'll make sure my husband does it .

    I am very worried about pumping at work. I know there is no way that I am going to be able to pump for thirty minutes every two hours. I work from 7am to 11pm on Saturdays and Sundays. I sleep at work. So, I don't have a drive to and from work. I don't think it will be possible for me to wake up every two hours and pump...that will really take away a lot of my sleep, and then I will have to work 16 hours. I hope that doesn't sound selfish, I just don't think it will work.

    As far as pumping during waking hours, I should be able to pump at 6:30am just before I clock in. Then I should have no trouble getting a break at 9am. After that, I really need to try to take as few breaks as possible and the breaks need to be as short as possible. It will be easier for me to take thirty minutes for each break if I take fewer breaks. What is the possibility that I can pump every 4 hours instead of every 2 hours? I know that I should be able to get a break every four hours, even if they have to last thirty minutes. I have a new supervisor and I get the feeling that she is very "baby friendly". I expect her to be very supportive. However, I doubt that I will be able to keep this up for a year. I may only be able to breastfeed for six months. So, I really want to express and freeze as much as I can - in *addition* to breastfeeding. The more that I can store, the longer I will be able to provide breastmilk past 6 months. Even if it is frozen, it has to be better than formula.

    So, is it possible, safe and healthy for me to express every 4 hours? I might be able to manage every 3-4 hours. Also...I work with seriously troubled teenagers. There is always the possibility that there will be a crisis on campus and there will be no one free to give me a break. This shouldn't happen a lot...but it will happen sometimes. How bad will it be if I have to wait five hours instead of four? Will I just be feeling uncomfortable/painful...or do I have to worry about health issues? Here is a weird question. Part of my job is to restrain teenagers. My breasts will definitely be bumped...or even hit in the process. Once the teen is on the ground, I will have to lie down on the teen to keep her immobile. I am imagining there could be some leaking...how likely is this? Will this be such a problem that I will not be able to restrain? Honestly, I do my job well enough that restraints in my group are very rare...I am generally only in one restraint a year. And, obviously, I am not restraining now because I am pregnant. However, if I have to ask to continue to be on "no restraints", that is just one more thing that is going to "inconvenience" supervisors at work. Although, I am more worried about administration that direct supervisors.

    I know that breastfeeding gives more contact that bottle feeding. Is there anything that I should tell my husband to do while I am away at work each week? From what I have read, it seems like it would be best if we hold the baby or at least have the baby attached to us in a carrier for much of the day. Will that help? Is there anything else that he can do? I am picturing him bottlefeeding shirtless for skin to skin contact . I'm also picturing his face when I ask him to hold the baby all the time...his ex-wife kept his other two children in a crib all the time.

    One more thing...my husband keeps dissuading me from buying my own pump. He says that the hospital will have pumps that I can rent. Will that be a professional or hospital grade pump? Is it better if I buy my own?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Preparing for baby, lots of breastfeeding questions

    Hi mama,

    It's great you're trying to work this all out ahead of time - and it will help in the long run - but there actually just isn't any way to know the answers to your questions right now. Will your supply be well established at 8 weeks when you return? For most moms, yes. Will you be able to pump every 3 hours while away? Yes, probably. But you don't know how your supply will come in, how sensitive your body is to needing to pump or storing milk and the associated risks (engorgement, mastitis, decreasing supply). Those things are very individual and you won't know til you're at that point whether you can go every 4 hours or on occasion every 5. One mama on here got a terrible case of mastitis that led to an abscess (and I imagine a lot of absence from work) after missing just one pump at work. The older the baby, the longer you can go usually, but exactly how long or how old is highly variable. Others get clogs from seams in tank-tops, much less restraining! Uncommon, and I probably wouldn't have had a problem with restraining, but you don't know what your boobs will do. Same thing with leaking - some people leak all the time, some never do. (Oh, and nursing pads are easy enough to use that I should think the restraining issue will be more about bumps and pressure than about leaking.)

    You're doing everything you can now, just try to relax (HAHAHA i say to the 8 months pregnant lady ) and don't panic about what you can't control anyway.

    Also, at 8 weeks you shouldn't need to wake every 2 hours at night - every 3-4 should be fine.

    For your husband - yes, carriers will be great. Make sure you get one he likes and will use. Carrying a tiny newborn is so lovely and easy!

    Also look at
    http://kellymom.com/bf/pumpingmoms/f...ottle-feeding/
    DS1 6/7/11
    DS2 10/29/13

    Nursing, pumping, cloth-diapering, babywearing, working professor mama with the awesomest SAHD ever.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Preparing for baby, lots of breastfeeding questions

    It doesn't take 30 minutes.

    You should be able to do it every 3 to 4 hours for 15 minutes. You don't need to rush back to a freezer right away, you could keep a cooler type style bag packed with frozen packs that you can hurry and put every thing away in. You don't have to wash parts or anything every time, just put it all in the cooler. You with practice can get pretty fast at it.

    I would steer clear of EPing though! And nurse on demand at home with baby. You don't need to give a bottle every day, every few days would probably be fine. The less you do it the better.

    Also if things happened where you waited longer then 3 or 4 hours you could risk having a breast infection, and your breast as hard as rocks. Be careful. Try to never go more then 6 hours that can for sure put a hit in your supply.

    Rental can be expensive over time. Some people only need to rent one for a month or two because of having multiple babies, or a preemie, a surgery etc. However, I am guessing your job is long term....meaning you would need it more then a month or two. With my DD1 rental was 85 dollars a month, I'm sure it's gone up since then. I believe you can buy one for 300-400 ....I think I could be wrong on that. Either way over the long haul (a year, and many babies want longer then a year, I know it sounds like a long time now, but once baby is here, and you really fall in love with every thing it doesn't seem as long or weird! lol) then the buying your own really would pay off in the end, and be cheaper then renting.

    That being said I EPed for 2 and half years with a Pump In Style Medela. I never had supply issues, and never have responded to the hospital grade pumps. I've tried them numerous times and never could get more then a few drops with one...and as soon as I hook up to a PIS or PISA the milk just flows! Every ones body is different and responds differently to different pumps or pumps at all.

    ~Heather~
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Preparing for baby, lots of breastfeeding questions

    Your work environment and schedule present some interesting challenges!

    You work 16 hours a day, for 2 days a week, correct? And the rest of the time you'd be home with baby? If so, I think you can probably do the following without it having affect your ability to make it to your original one year goal:
    - Pump every 3-4 hours day and night at work
    - Once in a while, stretch your pump interval to 4-5 hours (if an emergency situation arises)
    - Try to slip in additional pumping sessions when possible- if you can sometimes pump for 10-15 minutes every 2 hours rather than 30 minutes every 3 hours, you might see a significant increase in the amount of milk you can get
    - If you are falling short in terms of milk production, pump after feedings when home with baby to make up the deficit

    Is it safe and health for you to pump every 4 hours? Probably. The main danger is that your body will interpret the long intervals between pumping sessions as a cue to decrease supply. Lesser dangers of going long periods without pumping/nursing would be the possibility of plugged ducts or mastitis- but it's hard to say how likely this is because different moms have different levels of susceptibility to those conditions. Some discomfort between sessions is also a possibility, depending on how large your supply is and how your body responds to holding a lot of milk.

    Getting hit in the breasts is probably not such a big deal. I mean, it's gonna hurt, it could give you a bad bruise or maybe a plugged duct, but it shouldn't impact your ability to produce milk.

    Hospital-grade rental pumps are generally more effective at removing milk and maintaining supply than even the best consumer models. If you can rent a pump and have it at your workplace, that sounds ideal for your situation.
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