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Thread: A few questions about going back to work -looooong post

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
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    bruxelles, belgium
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    Default A few questions about going back to work -looooong post

    Hello, ladies!
    I will be returning to work in 2 weeks, when my son will be 1 year old. I hope to get some ideas to help ease the transition for the both of us.
    Until now, he was breastfed on demand - that is about every 2-3 hours, even in the nighttime. He gets 2 solid meals a day, sometimes even 3(he loves solids). I don't give him any water, I sometimes offer some freshly squeezed fruit juice, but not on a regular basis(he's not very fond of other liquids than breastmilk). His weight gain was fine until now (he has 9.6kg and 76cm), the pediatrician is satisfied with his development.
    Once I start working my schedule will be quite charged :we will be separated for about 11-12h/day, 5 days/week. I will probably also end up working during weekends (probably less than 8h/day and not on a regular basis). And, last but not least, I will have at least once a week a 24h shift (on average,5 times/month). And I probably won't have the time nor the place to pump more than once/day (I am planning to sneack away somewhere on the lunchbreak).
    So, here come the questions :
    -what to do to maintain a good supply? should I take fenugreek? or blessed thistle? or something? Will my milk dry up because of my hectic schedule?
    -how much milk should I leave for the little one? Is the 1-1.5oz/hour of sepparation rule still applied after the baby starts eating solids? Should he be offered more solids during daytime? He is a very active child, he is starting to walk and he lost his 'chubby' baby appearence lately. How much is too much and how little is too little?
    I have a frozen stash of about 100oz, but it is intended mainly for the nights of separation (I don't think my husband will survive otherwise).
    -How, how much and when to offer water?
    I hope I haven't forgotten anything. Thanks for taking the time to read all this. And thanks for all the support and information that you provided this past year. You ladies are wonderful.
    Any ideea of how to deal with the "going back to work, leaving baby" blues is also more than welcomed.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    Default Re: A few questions about going back to work -looooong post

    Hi mama,
    Many mothers (myself included) pump wean at around a year. So I don't think you have to plan on doing heavy duty pumping. If you are still nursing baby 3-5 times per 24 hours, you can just give water while you are apart, if you want to save the frozen milk for nighttime. Though you do have a lot of frozen milk, so you could consider perhaps giving some of the frozen milk during the day - maybe once in the day. Or, you can introduce cow's/animal's milk. The main thing is to keep yourself comfortable, so you may have to pump for that reason. Likely for the 24 hour separations, but perhaps for the 11-12 hour separations as well, especially at the beginning. But once a day should be fine for that, if it is needed at all.

    Basically, though your overall supply will go down, there should still be plenty there when you are together! Of course it helps to encourage nursing when you are together by offering frequently, etc. My schedule is sometimes very similar to the one you describe and my LO and I are still going strong at 18 months.

    The going back to work blues - yes, it's hard. For me in some ways it was harder to think about it than to do it - once I was back at work and into the usual routine, it was actually better. It sounds like you will be busy so that actually helps, I think. But it is a stressful transition! I guess the most helpful thing I can say is, just know that it gets better!

  3. #3
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    Jul 2013
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    bruxelles, belgium
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    Default Re: A few questions about going back to work -looooong post

    Thanks, bfwmomof3.
    About the animal milk : I was planning to give the little one cow's milk in addition to the breastmilk, but the pediatrician told me at our 1 year visit that I shouldn't give him any before he is 2! Instead, he told me that if I cannot continue breastfeeding, I should give him "lait de croissance" - I think this is french for "follow on formula". Does anyone undestand why?
    We have no history of diary allergies in our family(in fact, we are heavy cow's milk drinkers and never had any problem). We could even get the real milk from real cows that eat real grass - we have a bio farm near us.
    Is goat or sheep milk more suitable for toddlers?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    Default Re: A few questions about going back to work -looooong post

    A lot of people find that goat milk is easier to digest. Do you have access to goat or sheep milk? I would try either before cow's milk, personally. I would not give formula after a year, give your child real milk and water.
    Nursed my sweet daughter 3 years, 3 mos.

  5. #5
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    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: A few questions about going back to work -looooong post

    but the pediatrician told me at our 1 year visit that I shouldn't give him any before he is 2! Instead, he told me that if I cannot continue breastfeeding, I should give him "lait de croissance" - I think this is french for "follow on formula". Does anyone undestand why?
    I think this would be a very good question for your pediatrician to answer. As far as I can tell, "follow on formula" and "toddler formula" is a marketing ploy by formula companies and that they are not only uneeded but possibly UNHEALTHY even for the non-breastfed toddler and certainly for the breastfed toddler. Here is the World Health Organization on the subject: http://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/...ost_17July.pdf

    Pumping/milk production: I suggest, pump as much as seems doable to you at work, and wean off pumping as time goes on, as natural weaning would occur. Yes many mothers pump wean at a year but these are (typically) mothers who have been back at work & pumping for months. It may well be a different situation for you as you are coming straight form cue feeding your baby day and night to very full time work at a year of age. My baby is 14 months old and I also may have to go back to work and I know I would have to pump, at least at first, because I get full in a few hours if I am away from baby. That feeling of fullness might not only be painful, it is going to decrease milk production. No you need not pump as much as a mom with a 3 month old. But with that intense a work schedule I think planning on some pumping at least at first is wise, both for your health and your milk production. How often would be optimal is going to depend entirely on your body.

    Bottles: Why not start with an ounce per hour of separation and see where it goes? That may be way to much, it may be too little. I think this is going to be very individual at this age. Does baby use a bottle, sippy, some combo? Think about helping your caregiver know how to offer your milk so there is less waste.

    Mother's feelings- It is normal to feel stressed, conflicted, unhappy, etc. when returning to work or anticipating any regular or long separation from your baby, no matter how old your child is and no matter how much you may need or enjoy your job and no matter how much confidence & trust you have in your baby’s caregiver(s.) Every mother is going to be different in how intensely she experiences this, but there are actual physical causes for these feelings. You cannot reason them away. These are your mothering instincts arising, because instinctually we do not live in 2013 but in prehistory, when a baby or young child separated from his or her mother would be in great peril. I suggest respect these feelings, respect yourself, and respect that your baby may also feel stress during the transition time, which will possibly manifest in a variety of ways.
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; September 16th, 2013 at 07:35 PM. Reason: total rewrite

  6. #6
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    Default Re: A few questions about going back to work -looooong post

    I returned to work about a month ago when my LO turned one. She's been taking water in a sippy cup or a straw cup for a while, and really loves it. I didn't really have much of a freezer stash before I went back, but I had enough for about 6 oz per 9 hour separation, and then whatever I pumped at work (usually just about 2 oz at lunch to keep myself comfortable). I didn't want to introduce bottles at this age, so she takes the milk in a straw cup. Now that I'm back at work, there's not as much mommy's milk, so once she's had that, she takes either almond milk or whole cow's milk and does fine with that. When we're together she nurses on demand still. I haven't noticed anything in terms of my supply dropping.

    As for preparing yourself emotionally, I agree with @bfwmomof3 -thinking about it is much worse than actually going back. One thing that I can suggest is to plan ahead for meals (freeze stuff) so that when you get home at the end of the day, you can reconnect with your LO on the couch without having to worry about dinner. My LO really needs me around that time, and I can't get anything, like chopping veggies, done at that time.

    Good luck with everything!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    Default Re: A few questions about going back to work -looooong post

    Thank you for the WHO document, Meg.

    I found it very emotionally difficult to leave my baby. She was only 10 weeks old, though, and very fussy. I only worked one day/week, however. But for over a year I was in physical pain at work by lunch time around my heart, it just felt like her little head belonged there and I missed holding her. Pumping did help me feel more connected to her but I stopped pumping at work at 15 mos.

    Freezer cooking is great, I agree. It's great for stay at home moms, too, just makes managing a household easier.
    Nursed my sweet daughter 3 years, 3 mos.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
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    bruxelles, belgium
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    Default Re: A few questions about going back to work -looooong post

    Thanks for the ideas and kind words, everyone! I knew I will find some helpful suggestions and a shoulder to cry on here.
    -@lllmeg: I didn't dare ask the pediatrician why he wants me to offer formula instead of cow's milk. . He was in a bad mood, he just had an argument with some other mom on the phone and he was allready lecturing me on the new recommendations for vitamin D supplementation in children - which I do not know, as I am not a pediatrician. So I decided not to start another argument and do my own research. Thanks for the WHO link, it vas very interesting. Definetly not going on the formula route! I will do my best to keep on breastfeeding the little one at least until he is 2 and if I'm not able to keep up with his demands, I will just offer bio animal milk - cow, sheep, goat, whatever I will find. With a little luck I might even find bio goat milk.
    I was thinking to offer him the milk in a bottle, but now you got me thinking that maybe I should try to train him to use a cup. When he was younger he didn't mind drinking out of a bottle. Between his 3 and 5 months, I had to go back to school and we were also sepparated 4-5 days/week - not such a long schedule and not any night sepparation, though. He took the bottle while I was away and nursed on demand while we werw together at home (a LOT of night nursing).
    -@carm3: I think the freezer meals are a great suggestion. Unfortunantely, my freezer is packed with the breastmilk stash, so I can't get much in. I did however plan ahead a little and filled my basement with homemade jams, marmelades, purees, pickled vegetables. I hope this will be enough for the moment.

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