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

  1. #21

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

    I hope it works out for you. I appreciate your worry about losing productivity, that's my worry too - I used to get so much done!
    I go back to work tomorrow, and will be having to express at home and work. Other than productivity, I am mainly feeling worried about being able to express enough for him. He still eats like a machine, 14 times a day and he's 6months old! He's a happy and healthy boy though!

    Good luck, I hope you can work it out.

  2. #22
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    Oct 2011
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    Default Re: I don't think I can do this anymore

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*sprocket View Post
    ...
    mama, I hear you! Working and mothering and pumping and not getting enough sleep is SO VERY HARD. Many of us have been there (I certainly have), but you've only been back for 2 weeks - you are in the midst of a huge transition. Give yourself a chance to figure this out: say, stick with the pumping for another 2 weeks and reevaluate then. As you adjust to the new routine, you will find ways to become more productive at work, you will get used to being away from your baby (no, you will never stop missing her, but the intensity of the feeling will diminish), you will probably get better (and faster) at pumping as well.

    Also, pumping doesn't have to be an all or nothing. If after the initial period you still cannot manage your new routine, you can drop one pumping session and supplement with formula, thereby giving yourself a bit more time to work, but not giving up on BF altogether. As your baby grows you can try and encourage your baby to reverse-cycle (http://kellymom.com/bf/normal/reverse-cycling) if you are cosleeping at night (otherwise it might make you more sleep-deprived).

    Hang in there! I'm sending you big virtual hugs!

  3. #23
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    Default Re: I don't think I can do this anymore

    OP, have you read any of this?

    I'll chime in nonetheless...although plenty has already been said and I doubt I can say it better!!!
    You will have to do what you need to do. BUT...

    ...You have a pretty sweet deal; this is by no means an attempt to send you on a guilt trip! But do realize just how blessed you are

    I went back to work when DS was 7 weeks. I work retail, just an hourly supervisor for Target, so by no means do I have a mentally stimulating job. However, it at times can be physically draining and certainly emotionally draining. Anyways, when I first got back all my coworkers couldn't wait to take our lunch together, to chitchat and catch up on the weeks I was gone. But no, I have to pass on that to lock myself in an office to pump. And, I only get 1 15-min break a shift (5.5 hours). I mourned the loss of the downtime with my work friends; I read about how BF is often cut short when moms are working retail; I panicked about if my boss was going to get on me about my 15 min breaks actually taking 20-25; I cried about not pumping enough; I worried about my supply.
    But then I got my act together. I learned how to 'meditate' and relax to help get my milk flowing better so I could pump more; my coworkers understand that I have to pump and we find other time to catch up; perhaps I do overcompensate when I am working by working harder, faster, more intensely to make up for my longer breaks but I have yet to have anyone complain about it; I started manually pumping on my way home from work to get the extra ounces (and now just manually pump or express once I'm home since DS is now sleeping by then); and I stopped worrying about how long I can do this! I just do it every day, taking it shift by shift and pumping session by session.

    After reading about all these mamas here who have EP...I use them as inspiration because I have such admiration for them. If moms can EP, I can certainly pump twice a day!

    You can do it Stay strong! It does get easier!
    Daniel Keith + Rachel Joy = Leonel Dante [4/13/2012]

  4. #24
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    Default Re: I don't think I can do this anymore

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*sprocket View Post
    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!!!!
    I like your idea of taking it week by week. That's what I did. Taking it day by day seemed too overwhelming and so did thinking I was going to have to do this for 9 more months. But if I just focused on the Monday - Friday week and then thought, "hey, I made it this week!" I found it much easier to swallow.

    For the first month I think I was less productive. I write a lot for my job and can relate to the problem with interruptions. One thing I did that worked well for me was rent a hospital-grade pump. I tried to tough it out with my PISA, but I honestly found it took a really long time for me to let down for this pump as well as longer to pump the amount of milk I needed. I realize this is not a popular solution or one that works for everyone, but it really worked well for me. I got my pumping breaks down to 18 minutes flat (desk to desk ) because I got so efficient at it. I also did NOT work during the breaks. I listened to music, looked at pictures and videos of DD, meditated, relaxed my shoulders and neck, and just tried to regroup. I felt like I returned to my desk more focused and ready to make the most of my time. I became very dedicated to enforcing good time management for myself. And, honestly, I became more productive this way! And I earned a promotion! Pumping became a total non-issue for me, and I'm actually sad to be pump weaning right now (I'm only doing so because I will have to travel in the next month and don't want to have to pump during the day while traveling).

    Anyway, I think you'll get a lot better at concentrating and getting work done. Keep us posted!
    Lisa

    Mom to Aimee, born 8/22/11
    for 20 months!

  5. #25
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    Aug 2012
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    Default Re: I don't think I can do this anymore

    Thanks again for all your replies. Toward the end of this week everything got so much better. I finally started making some progress on some work and I can see how I might be able to make this work out.

    I didn't expect this AT ALL, but one thing that made a huge difference in my outlook was pumping while driving. I thought it would be a way to get in an extra pumping session but wouldn't save me a pumping session at work because I still have to pump every 2-3 hours while I'm at work, right? But in fact it has, and it streamlines my whole pumping schedule in a lot of ways.

    Before, when I would be getting ready to leave in the morning, I would be really concerned with making sure I nursed right before I headed out the door. I was always trying to avoid a situation where I would, say, nurse at 6:30 am, leave at 8:00, get to work at 8:30 and then need to pump by 9 or 9:30. Having to pump so soon after arriving at work was so discouraging for me. This week, I just nursed before getting out of bed, snuggled with baby for a little while, then got up, got ready for work and went. If baby wants to nurse again before I leave and I have time, then I'll do it, but I don't have to worry about getting her topped up right before I leave the house. If I pump on the way to work at a set time no matter when baby last ate, it gets me on the same schedule every day. So if I nurse at 6:30, I still pump at 8:00 on my way to work, and then I don't have to think about pumping again until 10:30 or 11. If I pump at 11, then at 2, then leave at 4:30 and arrive home at 5, I can nurse or pump every 3 hours and only have to pump twice at work.

    Having a set schedule is also better at the end of the day because I don't find myself needing to pump at 4 pm, an hour before I'm due to arrive home. Before, I would pump maybe at 9:30, 12:30, and 3:30. Pumping at 3:30 was so frustrating as well because I was going to leave work in another hour but not be able to nurse until 5 at the earliest, and I didn't want to stretch it out that long. So I would find myself just throwing in the towel at 3 or 3:30 to make it home to nurse rather than pump, which was terrible for my productivity.

    My husband didn't bring the baby at lunch this week but when he does next week, I'm not sure how it will work but I expect I will still just pump twice, once mid-morning and once mid-afternoon even if I nurse her at lunch. But that is also good because it takes the pressure off of both of us to get a "good" feeding in at lunch time. If she had a bottle an hour before I saw her and only nursed a little, then I would be left unsure of when I'm supposed to pump again and that was also frustrating.

    I'm just explaining all of this because there were a couple of moms who replied who were going to be starting work soon and I'm hoping this might be useful for you, too. Pumping while commuting has saved my sanity because for at least that first pumping session, I'm multitasking so I feel like it's time I've reclaimed. And I only have to stop working twice rather than three times. But I think what has been the most valuable for me is just knowing what my pumping schedule is going to be for the day. I was always trying to figure it out in my head before, based on when baby last nursed in the morning, and it was making me crazy, and I think that was the biggest distraction to my work. Now I feel like I always know the plan, which has made all the difference for me. And I'm sure there are other ways to achieve that even if you can't pump while commuting. But I did not expect pumping and driving to be the key for me, so try things you don't necessarily think will help and you might be surprised!!!

    I'm hoping that pumping on this schedule (I'm not sure how regularly I'll be nursing at lunch) will be enough to maintain my supply. If there are moms out there who found they couldn't get away with this kind of a schedule, then please let me know!!

    All the encouragement I received here really inspired me to keep at it and keep thinking about how I can make this work. I'm still struggling with being back at work and with my productivity, for sure, but I'm starting to see that it's probably going to be OK, and giving up breastfeeding is not the answer. Which I'm SO grateful for.

  6. #26
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    Mar 2010
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    Default Re: I don't think I can do this anymore

    I totally agree with you! I thought pumping in the car was going to be a drag, but actually, it's awesome! It doesn't take away from your work day at all and it can help reduce the number of sessions during the day. I have a short public transit commute normally, but I travel for work too, and I always pumped in the car for those longer commutes.

    And having a set schedule is great too. I hoped that once you settled into a routine, you'd start to feel more productive. I know that's my experience.

    I don't know how long your work day is, but after the first couple months, I only pumped twice in a 9 hour work day for the rest of my pumping career. This wouldn't work for everyone - some women need to empty more frequently to keep their supply up, some women can go longer. I was able to get away with pumping less frequently if I really took the time to empty my breasts. This made two longer breaks, which was less disruptive to me (and sometime I could do the first one on the road). And I didn't really start this until Joe was 4 or 5 months old and my supply was very stable.

    It was a bit hard at the time but I'm pretty sure, in retrospect, that my supply stayed really great because I was nursing Joe at night a lot throughout that first year (so he was getting a lot of milk at night, and I didn't have to pump that milk during the day - also, I was still nursing a lot, which keeps your hormones up better than the pump). I definitely think this is one huge unsung advantage to having a child who isn't the most stellar sleeper. So if your baby is still waking up at night, I'd just roll with it, keep her close to your bed, and try to remind yourself it's better than pumping! Night nursing is the working mom's best friend.


    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.

  7. #27
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    Aug 2012
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    Default Re: I don't think I can do this anymore

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*joe.s.mom View Post
    It was a bit hard at the time but I'm pretty sure, in retrospect, that my supply stayed really great because I was nursing Joe at night a lot throughout that first year (so he was getting a lot of milk at night, and I didn't have to pump that milk during the day - also, I was still nursing a lot, which keeps your hormones up better than the pump). I definitely think this is one huge unsung advantage to having a child who isn't the most stellar sleeper. So if your baby is still waking up at night, I'd just roll with it, keep her close to your bed, and try to remind yourself it's better than pumping! Night nursing is the working mom's best friend.
    SO interesting you should bring this up because this is something I have been thinking about a LOT the past 2 days. At about 6 or 8 weeks my baby started sleeping longer stretches (she went from 3 or 4 hours as her longest stretch to routinely doing 5 or 6 hours. Oftentimes she would stir a little during the long stretch but then go back to sleep without needing to nurse. We have a co-sleeper-type bassinet, the kind that attaches to the side of the bed. So I would reach over and pat her and see if she was going to really wake up and want to eat or if she'd go back to sleep. We were generally putting her to bed for the night in the co-sleeper and then she would nurse after sleeping 5-6 hours and then usually stay in bed with us, nursing every 2 hours after that. It was great.

    About a week before I went back to work, I started worrying about her weight gain (which had slowed down somewhat). When I went back to work, I was worried that going back to work was going to slow it further because she wasn't taking that much from the bottle during the day and didn't seem to be nursing that much at night to compensate. So I started nursing her every time she woke up at night, even if she woke just a little--basically every time that I thought she'd latch on I nursed her, which turned out to be every 2-3 hours all night long. After a couple of nights of that, I just started keeping her in bed with me all night because it was easier, and she did want to nurse every 2 hours or so. After a several nights of that, I happened to speak with her pediatrician and was totally reassured that her weight gain was fine and normal and it was fine to encourage her to sleep as long as she was able/willing to.

    So I wasn't so obsessed with feeding her all night long as I had been, but it didn't matter because she was hungry all night, so I just kept nursing all night with her in bed with us. Then we had a few nights in a row where she was quite active and noisy in her sleep--feeding every 2 or 3 hours but doing a lot of kicking and squirming and groaning and sighing in her sleep. And neither my husband nor I were sleeping much at all. So finally two nights ago (Thursday) I put her in the co-sleeper when it was bedtime, thinking that she'd still want to nurse every 2-3 hours but at least we might sleep better in between. And on Thursday night she slept 5 1/2 hours (silently, with no kicking or grunting) and then woke up to nurse and nursed every 2 hours after that. And then last night (Friday) we did the same and she slept 7 hours straight (no waking at all), which I think is a new record. This was from about 10:30 or 11 - 6 am (her late bedtime is also an issue!!).

    This of course has been wonderful in many ways, but I am conflicted because it does seem like putting her in the co-sleeper influences her feeding behavior and I'm not sure which is better for her. It seems like she could eat all night, which I don't want to discourage necessarily, and I don't mind nursing every 2-3 hours (although I did mind somewhat the kicking and grunting), but she went from sleeping so fitfully in bed with me to sleeping peacefully in her co-sleeper, which seems like a pretty good thing, for all of us. I don't think that it's a matter of her waking without my knowing because she's not right next to me. Both my husband and I woke up a couple of times on our own to find her sleeping very quietly, and she's only about 12 inches away from my face and I've been pretty tuned in to her movements and sounds since she was born.

    I'm not sure if this trend will continue, but if it does, I'm not sure what to do. I hear what you say about nursing at night being good for your breastfeeding hormones and milk supply and maybe allowing you to push the envelope a little bit with the pumping frequency! And I would like to capitalize on that. And I want to nurse the baby on demand, totally. Should I continue to see if she'll give me those long stretches of sleep in the bassinet? Or keep her in bed where she'll be more likely to nurse all night long? I'm probably over-thinking but I'd be interested in what you and others think.

    Thanks

  8. #28
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    Default Re: I don't think I can do this anymore

    Well, first of all, the sleep thing may keep changing up. A lot of babies of moms who work start "reverse cycling." They don't like the bottle, so they wait for the good stuff. When mom is home, they ask to nurse more and more, and end up nursing more at night than they used to. It may be a month or so of working before you see this behavior, but it may happen. Also, around 4-5 months, a lot of babies start teething, and night nursing is something they seek out for comfort. There are actually substances in breastmilk that relieve pain, and the act of sucking is comforting too.

    So, this may not be an issue at all. In the meantime, what about starting her in the cosleeper and then taking her into bed in the early hours of the morning and nursing a lot. I don't want you to be missing out on good sleep, but some nursing would probably be good. I generally bed share with my babies, and they don't sleep as well on their own (they sleep longer intervals next to me, not shorter), so I don't really have experience with that, but I always "dreamfeed" when I'm feeling full and engorged in the morning if my baby hasn't woken yet. I know people say never to wake a sleeping baby but I'd rather nurse than pump so I just tuck them in next to me, and most of the time baby will nurse without fully waking up.


    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.

  9. #29
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    Default Re: I don't think I can do this anymore

    I agree that you should not get too attached to anything in the way of sleep. I also think if you can get 6hours of uninterrupted sleep take it. But DO NOT beat yourself or try to find solutions to get back to that when it completely changes 4 weeks from now. It sounds to me like the smell of your milk is causing your baby restless sleep. And sometimes that does happen. If your baby sleeps better, deeper and longer when NOT right next to you, I would allow it. IF it seems like your supply is dipping then re-evaluate that. Because at that point the way to get it back up is through additional stimulation. Which will only come thru added nursing or pumping sessions. And I think we would all certainly find it easier to dream feed than add another pumping session somewhere. But if your supply maintains, why not grab the sleep when you can? Just don't go convincing yourself that you NEED those 6 consecutive hours. THAT will just stand to make you miserable when they disappear in the months 2 come. And trust me between 4& 6 months all bets in terms of sleep are off. Remain flexible. But cherish the sleep when it's available to you.

    Way too lazy for formula

  10. #30

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

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*joe.s.mom View Post
    Well, first of all, the sleep thing may keep changing up. A lot of babies of moms who work start "reverse cycling." They don't like the bottle, so they wait for the good stuff. When mom is home, they ask to nurse more and more, and end up nursing more at night than they used to. It may be a month or so of working before you see this behavior, but it may happen. Also, around 4-5 months, a lot of babies start teething, and night nursing is something they seek out for comfort. There are actually substances in breastmilk that relieve pain, and the act of sucking is comforting too.

    So, this may not be an issue at all. In the meantime, what about starting her in the cosleeper and then taking her into bed in the early hours of the morning and nursing a lot. I don't want you to be missing out on good sleep, but some nursing would probably be good. I generally bed share with my babies, and they don't sleep as well on their own (they sleep longer intervals next to me, not shorter), so I don't really have experience with that, but I always "dreamfeed" when I'm feeling full and engorged in the morning if my baby hasn't woken yet. I know people say never to wake a sleeping baby but I'd rather nurse than pump so I just tuck them in next to me, and most of the time baby will nurse without fully waking up.
    That's interesting. My DS is 6 months and has always been a great sleeper. In the last month or so he's been waking a lot more, which I put down to a holiday which disrupted our bedtime routine, and then I think he was teething. Now, last week I started back at work, and he has continued to wake at night. I figured if he reverse cycled it would start as soon as I went back, and wondered if going back to work meant he will continue to wake now. But if reverse cycling takes some weeks, he may in fact wake more than he is now then? Although the night feed is quick and easy, I am finding it hard now I am at work, but hey!

    Does anyone have any opinions on dreamfeeding last thing at night, i.e. 10-11pm. I am lucky really as he's asleep about 8:30pm, wakes 6am, but is feeding around 2-3:30am at the moment. But despite this, I am finding work hard with the lack of sleep. I have had several friends advise me to dreamfeed, but I'm not sure if it is a good thing or not, and so far I have always demand fed.

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