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Thread: My long work hours affecting my supply?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    43

    Default My long work hours affecting my supply?

    I am a nurse that works 3 12 hour shifts per week. I returned to work when my son was 7 wks old. He is now 14 weeks. In the beginning I was getting several ounces more than what he was eating. At 11 weeks, he started going through his growth spurt and since then I haven't been able to keep up. Some days I come out even while others I end up short. I have a long commute so I am away from 6 am till about 830 pm. I tried oatmeal, and water and no change. I increased from what I pumped previously but still not enough. I do compressions, I use pumpin pal breast shields (mostly due to areola pain). I feel like my long hours are setting me up for failure. My pumping schedule:

    My son usually nurses somewhere between 3 am and 430 am
    I pump at 530 before leaving for work or I arrive at work early and pump at 630 am
    Pump somewhere between 9 am and 1030 am
    Pump somewhere between 1 pm and 230 pm
    Pump somewhere between 430 pm and 6 pm

    I pump anywhere from 15 min til 30 min and occasionally cannot pump til empty
    I use an office and keep half set up between sessions
    Pumping on my commute is too difficult, I have a 15 min ride to train station, then 25 min train ride and 5 min walk.
    I don't take a lunch break, I pump while eating or eat while working.

    Please help! I dont want my long hours to affect my supply! I'm starting to stress out and think about my supply constantly and I know the stress makes it worse.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    48

    Default Re: My long work hours affecting my supply?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*irishmom View Post
    I am a nurse that works 3 12 hour shifts per week. I returned to work when my son was 7 wks old. He is now 14 weeks. In the beginning I was getting several ounces more than what he was eating. At 11 weeks, he started going through his growth spurt and since then I haven't been able to keep up. Some days I come out even while others I end up short. I have a long commute so I am away from 6 am till about 830 pm. I tried oatmeal, and water and no change. I increased from what I pumped previously but still not enough. I do compressions, I use pumpin pal breast shields (mostly due to areola pain). I feel like my long hours are setting me up for failure. My pumping schedule:

    My son usually nurses somewhere between 3 am and 430 am
    I pump at 530 before leaving for work or I arrive at work early and pump at 630 am
    Pump somewhere between 9 am and 1030 am
    Pump somewhere between 1 pm and 230 pm
    Pump somewhere between 430 pm and 6 pm

    I pump anywhere from 15 min til 30 min and occasionally cannot pump til empty
    I use an office and keep half set up between sessions
    Pumping on my commute is too difficult, I have a 15 min ride to train station, then 25 min train ride and 5 min walk.
    I don't take a lunch break, I pump while eating or eat while working.

    Please help! I dont want my long hours to affect my supply! I'm starting to stress out and think about my supply constantly and I know the stress makes it worse.
    Hi there I'm an RN too and work 12 hour shifts.

    Would you say you go longer than 4 hours without pumping say 0900 then the next at 1430? You could be going too long without pumping. The law for reasonable break time for nursing mothers gives an example of needing to pump every 2.5-3 hours to maintain supply. (It helped me to give a copy of the law to my HR.)

    Thats a bummer you can't pump on the train. I really like pumping on my commute home. It makes me push my pumps closer together during the day. My LO is 4 months now and it seems like in the early days she had always just finished a bottle and didn't want to do more than comfort nurse. Some of my coworkers pump before going home, just a thought.
    Proud Momma
    DD 2-1-01 BF for 16 months
    DS 1-9-10 BF for only 4 months due to low milk supply and working graveyard
    DD 4-28-12 Pumping 5X a day at work, Loving BFing

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Northern Cal.
    Posts
    4,983

    Default Re: My long work hours affecting my supply?

    I agree that any interval longer than 3.5 to 4 hours is probably too long to maintain your supply over such long work days. For most women, if they aren't pumping enough during their work day, the best thing to add an additional session, even a short one, to their schedule, so if this would be possible for you, that's my first thought. The second thing is to make their existing sessions more efficient with compressions, etc. (which it sounds like you are doing). Another issue that often comes up is that pump parts wear out, especially the little membranes (if you have a Medela pump or similar) and pumps can lose suction over time. This said, a lot of women have to add a few pumping sessions sometime else in their day (like nighttime) to make enough for their babies the next day, and doing this does not mean your supply is tanking or anything like that - it's just that the pump is not as efficient and effective as a baby. Since you only work three long shifts a week, could you pump on your days "off" to make up any shortfall and give you a nice cushion?


    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.

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