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Thread: I don't think I can do this anymore

  1. #11
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Denver, Co.
    Posts
    1,164

    Default Re: I don't think I can do this anymore

    Pumping at work isn't easy, but it can be done. BTDT. You can, too.

    I second the tablet or do you have a laptop you can bring with you? Is there a nearby empty open office you can use to pump? Why not talk to HR about a closer place to pump?

    Christine
    Baby Girl Born 2/17/10 to her two mommies
    BF from day one. I looked up one day and realized I'm nursing a toddler!

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    California
    Posts
    418

    Default Re: I don't think I can do this anymore

    I agree with what everyone has said that pumping is hard, being a new mom and going back to work is hard, etc. It's entirely normal as a new mom for your productivity to decrease and it's not all due to pumping/breastfeeding. Some of it is probably sleep deprivation, some of it is your mind wandering because you miss your baby. And it will get easier. You've only been back for 2 weeks, it takes awhile to get back in the swing of things and establish a new routine.

    I agree that bringing a laptop or papers with you so you can continue to work while you pump is a really good idea. Get a hands-free pumping bra if you don't have one (I like the Simple Wishes one). Alternatively, if you can't work while you pump for whatever reason, what about pumping on the way to work and then bringing your lunch with you and pumping on your lunch break? That would minimize disruptions.

    I don't think it's for anyone else to tell you that you have to make this work, or to say what is or isn't a reason to quit. That's your decision. I'm sure you feel guilty enough about it already. Just because somebody else may have overcome bigger challenges to pump, doesn't mean that you have to do the same. It's your decision. If you decide you want to make it work, there are ways, and we can help.

    You should know that if you decide to stop pumping at this point, chances are you will not be able to continue breastfeeding when you and baby are together. (Moms with older babies can sometimes stop pumping, supplement with formula during the day, and keep feeding nights and weekends, but at 12 weeks this probably won't work, at least not for long).

    I know for me, I love nursing my son and it's such a special part of our relationship. It sounds like you really value your breastfeeding relationship with your daughter and have worked hard to get to this point, so think carefully about what it's worth to you, and don't make any rash decisions. You can always decide to quit pumping later if it really is just too much. No judgement here if you do decide that, only sympathy. I hope you can find a way to make it work for you, though.
    First-time mama to Joshua, 10/29/11. 29 months and going strong! for 14 months; now finished with pump weaning!

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    8,018

    Default Re: I don't think I can do this anymore

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*joe.s.mom View Post
    It is hard. It really is. It's a challenge. And pumping is no fun. I pumped in my car, in unfamiliar bathrooms, anywhere I could swing it, for many months. It was a logistical nightmare sometimes. Sometimes I couldn't pump and I'd be dying with engorged breasts just hoping I could make it to the end of a meeting. I also work at a challenging job with long hours. I couldn't pump in my office, so I took a laptop or cases into the conference room where I pumped so that I could get some work done. I worked from home after normal office hours (checking email, etc.) with a baby at my breast.

    Was it "sustainable"? Gosh. Sometimes it was pretty hard!! I was pretty freaking sick of pumping! I felt like it was reducing my productivity some (especially at first!). But it was worth it to keep breastfeeding, and I'm so glad I did, you know? I'm going to say it a bit bluntly: It's hard enough being away from your baby for long hours because you have to work. It would be even worse to have to wean and lose that special relationship with your baby. At least it would have been for me. Everyone has to make their own decision, of course, but for me, it was a labor of love, one of the only things that ONLY I could provide my baby. Other people could care for him, comfort him, put him down for his nap, but only I could provide him breastmilk. And that was really important to me as I grieved our separation.

    Hang in there. The first weeks are the hardest. Try to find a better place to pump (be creative!), bring work with you and multitask, keep working at it! Things will calm down and feel easier soon. We've all been there, and while you might be hearing some tough love here, don't think we don't sympathize!
    Exactly this, every word (except I can pump in my office - but have been walked in on a couple of times!). You CAN do this. One day at a time!

    Molly

    Loving mama to JP (DS, 1/03 ~ nursed 6 mos), EL (DD1, 9/05 ~ nursed 4 yrs), EJ (DD2, 3/08 ~ nursed 3 yrs 9 mos), and
    JM (DD3, 6/12 ~ currently nursing), all born naturally
    Devoted wife to SAHD P, my hero
    A few of my favorite things that I've discovered on the forum: co-sleeping, baby-wearing, tandem nursing, baby-led solids, cloth diapering, APing, selective vaccination...the list goes on

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    296

    Default Re: I don't think I can do this anymore

    Thanks everyone, your responses help me more than you know. Thanks, too, for all the tips. I can bring my laptop with me and, while I don't think I'll get a ton done while I pump, it may be the key to losing my entire focus. The problem definitely isn't all the time it takes out of my day, but, like someone else related, it's the sudden loss of an 8-hour (or even 3 hour) block of time that I can sit in one place and work. I'm just not finding it possible to get my work done in 90-minute bursts. But maybe I can retrain my brain. I made it to the end of this week and with the long weekend now, I think it will give me a chance to recharge and think about this some more. I'm not going to quit today. I am going to try to do it another week. And then hopefully another week. And then another and another until I can figure out a way to make it work. I'm not going to get fired or drive my career into the ground in a matter of a few weeks and hopefully, like many of you say, it will get better.

    I do want you to know I'm not sick of pumping. The problem isn't that it's no fun. It is not my favorite activity (I would rather be nursing my baby, of course) but I'd do it hanging by my ankles over a pit of snakes with my hair on fire if I had to. I'm not worried about my colleagues' perception of my productivity. If I had to beg my boss to be allowed to pump, I think I'd do it (although I realize I'm very lucky I don't have to). I would pump in my car, pump in the bathroom, no problem. The problem isn't the obstacles I'm facing, the problem is that I'm getting. Nothing. Done. I've managed to keep up with emails, edit a few documents, attend some conference calls (sometimes while pumping) but the intellectually involved part of my work that requires long periods of concentration (which is 90% of my job) I've so far found impossible. I just can't do it. Although I do agree that possibly much of this, as many of you point out, is due to missing my baby at work and having trouble concentrating because I am thinking about her so much. I just fear that I'll never make progress on my work. And as all of us know, after you have a baby, the number one priority in your life becomes the wellbeing of that baby, and I need my job in order to provide for her, it's that simple. If I can't do my job, I just feel like something has to give. I don't think of breastfeeding as optional, but our livelihood is one thing that might be more important. I don't even have guilt over the prospect of not breastfeeding (although I am sure that would come on like a flood if I did give up). What I feel is tremendous sadness--for me and my baby. Because we both love it and value it so, so much (me consciously, her probably less so!).

    If I had a private office, this would be a non-issue, which annoys me to no end. But I've thoroughly explored that side of things and it's not going to happen. I think I could keep my focus if I just had to put on the pump and hit the button, but getting up from my desk and walking down the hall makes me completely lose it. I'm going to get creative though and try out some of this advice and just try to train my brain to get back into things more readily. And keep going, for now. I don't see how my work is going to become compatible with pumping (given my already unfocused mind). But hearing about how some of you with similar jobs do it inspires me to keep at it. It's so helpful to hear from you, thank you!!!!

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Northern Cal.
    Posts
    4,984

    Default Re: I don't think I can do this anymore

    I hear you. Your job is important, very important. But I also think you can get used to a pumping schedule. And over time, the schedule should ease up a bit. I'm not sure where the "90 minutes burst" comes from, because we usually recommend pumping every 2-3 hours (with one pump being on your lunch break, when hopefully you were already taking a break?). And after you settle in a bit, you may find you can get away with a little less frequent than that, at least some days, if your supply is good (because you are nursing all evening and at nights some, etc.). In the second half of my first year, I pumped every 3-4 hours at work - once in the morning, and once after lunch, basically - and I was fine. That's not really that bad, and I had long stretches of time for work. When your baby is taking solids, you may be able to stretch things out a bit more. So you really just need to worry about next week. Not the the next year, KWIM? And consider taking longer pumping breaks a tad less frequently. This won't work for everyone, but it does work for quite a few mamas. And allows you to work a longer time while pumping too. (I always pumped for 25-30 minutes, but less frequently.) You can do this. There are some logistics for sure, but you can have your cake and eat it too. I don't know about you, but I could never ever work for 8 hours straight anyway. I always took mental breaks of one kind or another. Pumping actually motivated me (once I got used to it) to get more done in those in between pumping periods. I set goals for myself - I'll do X before my next break. It does take some getting used to, but I really don't think this is a job OR breastfeeding situation. Other moms can barely get any breaks to pump at all or have no space. Your situation is tough, but workable. Stay positive!


    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    middle of IA
    Posts
    1,885

    Default Re: I don't think I can do this anymore

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*joe.s.mom View Post
    Pumping actually motivated me (once I got used to it) to get more done in those in between pumping periods. I set goals for myself - I'll do X before my next break.
    yup, me too. i got WAY productive when i had a baby napping! i mean, i was productive before, but there's nothing like knowing you're on borrowed time. and the same carried over for pumping, for me. supported by research, too: short bursts of intense intellectual activity, maintained over time, are most effective. like writing: you don't actually need 8 hours uninterrupted to write, you just need 30 minutes, every day, religiously.

    go mama!
    DS1 6/7/11
    DS2 10/29/13

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

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    California
    Posts
    418

    Default Re: I don't think I can do this anymore

    Good for you for your dedication. You can do this!

    I wonder if your loss of productivity is really related to pumping, or more to sleep deprivation. I can tell you my own work productivity has declined drastically from what it was pre-baby, and it doesn't have anything to do with pumping, because I have a private office and pump at my desk while working on my computer. I just find I am not anywhere near as focused as I used to be because I'm so sleep deprived. Sleep deprivation does not mix well with high level intellectual work.

    Not that that actually helps you in terms of your productivity, but it might help you put the blame in the right place and see pumping as less of an issue.
    First-time mama to Joshua, 10/29/11. 29 months and going strong! for 14 months; now finished with pump weaning!

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Landof2toddlers, Oregon
    Posts
    3,113

    Default Re: I don't think I can do this anymore

    I haven't pumped since DD was 13 months. And she is almost 3. And I refer to what I have as postpartum ADHD. I haven't slept more than 4 hrs in a row since I got pregnant with my son 5 yrs ago (kids, insomnia and a couple of other things) totally ADHD-like symptoms. I was better when I was at work than now I am home though.
    proud but exhausted working mammy to two high needs babies

    • my surprise baby: the one and only D-Man born 3 weeks late (5/5/08) at 9 lbs 14 oz and 21.5 inches, and
    • the shock H-Girl born about a week late (10/7/09) at 8lbs 15oz and 20.75 inches.


    If I am here I am covered in baby (probably two) and fighting for control of the keyboard.

    Family beds are awesome

    Wondering if you have PPD? Take the screening and see your doctor. You deserve to feel better.

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Northern Cal.
    Posts
    4,984

    Default Re: I don't think I can do this anymore

    That's a good point too. I remember joking with DH that I was working at about 30% of my prior productivity levels for months after Joe was born. It wasn't the pumping for me, it was the sleep deprivation and in my case, some PPD that was hitting me so hard. Being a new mom is hard! I did get through it though and gradually, I felt my "mojo" at work returning. Intellectual jobs are really hard when you're going through any kind of life change, I find. I've had several major dips in productivity in my career, in response to serious personal issues - not necessarily bad things, just big changes.


    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Nashville, TN
    Posts
    525

    Default Re: I don't think I can do this anymore

    In 5 weeks I'm going to be where you are. Back to work, away from my little girl (our first) when she'll be only 12 wks old, with my husband doing at home care, me pumping away. I'm dreading it. Besides health and family all I've cared about for 21 yrs is my career. This little girl changed everything. I'm currently our sole source of income and for the first time I wish I wasn't. I don't want to have to choose between work and her but it's the only choice right now. We're just now doing the pumped milk bottle tests with him giving and me leaving the house (I went for a walk). We so far survived 1 bottle and returned to breast w/out nipple confusion but I swear her fuss factor went up 100 percent. Always a soothe at the breast baby she's now latched 3 hours at a time and crying a lot of the rest of the time unless sleeping. We co sleep, hold and babywear and are always there to soothe her but damn it's exhausting. She's 7 weeks and it feels like it's getting tougher not easier. Ive hardly left the house in 3 days and I haven't left the neighborhood once. How is this ever going to work when I'm gone? She can't suck on a bottle for 3 hours.

    I hope you find your way with this because come first week of Oct I'm going to need you for inspiration. Hang in there and be a success story for yourself, your baby and others like me who are facing the same challenge. Good luck, report back.
    Last edited by @llli*debbers; September 1st, 2012 at 07:02 PM.

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