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Thread: Pumping & Breastfeeding working overnight shifts

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    78

    Default Pumping & Breastfeeding working overnight shifts

    I will be going back to work 11/9. This will be my first night back. My DD will be 3 months when I go back.

    I work night shift, [im an RN] [7pm-730am] and thankfully, my boss was able to schedule me on friday and sat. nights, every week, as I had requested. [vs. doing different nights, some split up some together, etc. every week would have been different]

    I EBF DD and plan to until she is at least a year old. Formula is not an option at all. If I am not pumping enough I will do whatever it takes to make up the shortage even if I have to pump everday on my days off.

    I EBF my son as well BUT went back to work when he was 6 months, and my night shifts were never back to back [so i didnt need to sleep more than 4-5 hrs the next day].

    So, this is how It goes when I work my FIRST night shift on. {FRIDAY} I cannot just stay up all day from 7am and then go to work all night and be up for over 24 hrs. So, I try to sleep in on my first night on, until around noon time.

    So, I would be missing a few feedings [stimulation from my breasts], as DD wont be at my house while im sleeping. I would feed her around 7am and then not again until I got up. [ie: 11am or 12pm, etc]....and if I have to go get her first, I will just pump right when I get up while having my coffee. i would probably miss one or two feedings during that time she is away.

    then once i get her I would BF her the rest of the afternoon, until I go to work. I would either BF her or pump right around 6pm, before leaving for work. {FRIDAY NIGHT}

    Then, I wouldnt be able to pump again until around 11pm. and then again 2-3am, and then 6am, [if i can] and then right before i go to bed the next morning,{SATURDAY} [again she will not be at my house].....now it gets even tricker, b/c when i go to sleep , I really need to get at least 5-6 hrs of straight sleep or more, before getting up since I have to go back to work again this night at 7pm. {SATURDAY NIGHT}When I work 2 back to back I typically am up by 3 or 4pm, so long as im in bed by 830am. Sometimes, I do wake up to pee though around 11am-12pm, so not sure if its best to pump even if its for 5 mins around the time i get up to pee, or just wait it out, sleep and pump when i get up? This day while im sleeping will be the most feedings I would miss as she will be at my moms, and likely get a few bottles while there. She will be at my moms from 730am until 330pm. {SATURDAY}

    Then, come home and either i nurse her at 4pm or pump.{still SATURDAY} and same idea of pumping schedule over night. ....

    ...come home SUNDAY morning and thankfully she WILL be there [with DH] and I can nurse her if she hasnt had a bottle yet OR pump before I go to sleep, and then I would get up betwen 12pm-1pm. so i would probably only miss one feeding there.

    Then when I get up SUNDAY I will be with her the rest of the time, and BF her until that friday again, so 5 nights, 4 full days.

    #1) I am thankful im working the SAME nights every week, b/c eventually my supply will adjust, etc.

    #2) I am concerned with how its going to affect my supply with sleeping so much during the day, even though im going to be pumping at night [2 nights...friday and saturday night]

    #3) I never did 2 shifts back to back like this when I was breastfeeding. like i said, my son was 6 months when I went back to work and I never did 2 in a row, so i never had to sleep past noon anyday.

    I am hoping to at least pump 3 times in my 12 hr shifts. but some nights may only be able to get 2 pumping sessions in, if its busy.

    Im also concerned about how much milk i will be able to pump overnight, b/c shes been STTN consistenly now since 6 weeks, so my body already has adjusted to that. and now im going to be pumping 2 nights per week.

    any suggestions please!! i know this is long, but its so tricky working overnight shifts, b/c it not possible to pump during the day every time she has a bottle, or i will never get any rest

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    middle of IA
    Posts
    1,885

    Default Re: Pumping & Breastfeeding working overnight shifts

    hi mama, i think it actually sounds like you have this under control. you know how pumping and supply works, you have already been through this with one baby, you have a really good sense of what your schedule is as far as work, care for baby, sleep, etc. so i think it'll take some adjustments for all of you but if you go in with the plan you've got, and just play it by ear until you get in the swing of things, i think you'll be fine.

    i also think you have a really good shot of making this work, because just 2 days a week is work and the rest of the time you can nurse on demand. this will be really good for your supply. and you've got plenty of time in the week to catch up on pumping if you need to. i know nurses & teahers seem to have the hardest time with pumping at work!
    DS1 6/7/11
    DS2 10/29/13

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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    399

    Default Re: Pumping & Breastfeeding working overnight shifts

    When I went back to work with my first, I started back on nights, 6 nights a week from 5:30 pm to 8AM. He was about 8 weeks old. I pumped at least three, and usually four times a night (ideally 9pm, 12, 3 and then 6). I also had a nanny at home caring for DS, and she would just bring him in to me when he was hungry, he would feed and then I went back to sleep (working that many hours 6 nights a week meant I could fall back asleep instantly). Looking back, I probably was worsening my oversupply but in the long run it was find because my supply dropped off and I was able to dip into my freezer supply.
    Ellen

    Mama-surgeon;
    DS Ethan 12/16/2008
    Breast fed/pumped 11 months as a surgical resident, 80 hours a week at work
    DS Abram Daniel 12/20/2012
    Feel like we've gotten a strong start

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    48

    Default Re: Pumping & Breastfeeding working overnight shifts

    Hi there momma,

    I agree with pp. It seems like you got a handle on this. I also worked graveyard as an RN with my son and had a really hard time maintaining my supply. My son refused to nurse after 4 months. Unlike you I worked full time 8 hr shifts. 12 hour shifts should be much better for supply. A few things I would do over are:
    1. Pump every 4hours at work. 2. Get up at least once to feed or pump. 3. My biggest regret was taking Benadryl to help me sleep. I've heard ambien is a better choice since it is short acting.

    I don't mean to worry you but wanted to share my experience.

    Now your LO is sttn, it seems most logical to to a quick pump during your daytime rest period. It also sounds smart to pump on your days off to make up for your need for EBM.
    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

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    78

    Default Re: Pumping & Breastfeeding working overnight shifts

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*happykaramom View Post
    Hi there momma,

    I agree with pp. It seems like you got a handle on this. I also worked graveyard as an RN with my son and had a really hard time maintaining my supply. My son refused to nurse after 4 months. Unlike you I worked full time 8 hr shifts. 12 hour shifts should be much better for supply. A few things I would do over are:
    1. Pump every 4hours at work. 2. Get up at least once to feed or pump. 3. My biggest regret was taking Benadryl to help me sleep. I've heard ambien is a better choice since it is short acting.

    I don't mean to worry you but wanted to share my experience.

    Now your LO is sttn, it seems most logical to to a quick pump during your daytime rest period. It also sounds smart to pump on your days off to make up for your need for EBM.
    yeah i am going to start by pumping halway through my sleep on saturday which would be about 3-4 hrs after i pumped prior, before going to sleep. i actually take benadryl to sleep right now every night, just 25mg and have been since she was born. its hard not to take something when you work night shift in order to get adequate rest during daytime hours. i will just start by taking one and see what happens. it helps me get right back to sleep easily, esp during the day.

    i should add that i already have around 200 ounces stored up as a backup too!

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

    Default Re: Pumping & Breastfeeding working overnight shifts

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*jhowell View Post
    i should add that i already have around 200 ounces stored up as a backup too!
    good! keep us posted! nurses and teachers seem to have the hardest time getting in enough pumping at work.
    DS1 6/7/11
    DS2 10/29/13

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

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