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Thread: Pumping and college

  1. #1

    Default Pumping and college

    So im 21 years and my daughter is going to be 4 months old when i leave to go back to college in January. She is currently breastfed every two hours and I try to pump once or twice a day on top of that. I get 2 ounces a day to freeze and store. I have to leave her with my mother and boyfriends while i finish the last 4 months of college ad graduate. I will be attending school 3 hours away but still want her to drink breastilk. I was planning on pumping while at school every 2-4hours and freezing to bring home and visiting her every two weeks and during breaks. I want to breastfeed her while I'm at home. Im worried I wont have enough in storage when I do leave or i wont produce enough. I did have to supplement with formula for the first two weeks of her life because she was born at 5.10lbs at 39 weeks and the doctor was worried she was wasn't gaining enough weight fast enough and my milk wasn't fully in. I only gave her one ounce of formula after every other feeding then decreased it to one formula bottle a day now shes on no formula except when she still seems hungry and has been on my beast for a hour. I just want some more advice and is 2 ounces a day for two pumps of 15 mins for a beastfed baby every two hours good enough? I have currently 10 bags of 2 ounces frozen because it took awhile to get a pump.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Pumping and college

    Welcome to the forum!

    My first question is: why can't your baby (and your mother and/or boyfriend) come with you? Seeing your baby just once every 2 weeks... It's less than ideal. It means that you will be exclusively pumping (EP), and EP is much less effective at maintaining supply than breastfeeding, even if you're just nursing part-time. It also means that your baby will be exclusively bottle-fed during the separation, and a lot of babies will not go back to nursing if they have had a significant amount of time during which they've had only bottles.

    It may be very worthwhile to contact your college administration, explain your situation, and ask what they can do for you. Perhaps there is student family housing which is available, so that you could bring your baby and her caregivers with you. Perhaps there is a daycare on campus that could look after your baby while you're in class.

    If you stick with your original plan, then you're looking at producing 2 oz per day x approximately 100 days until you go back to school, which means you'll have around 200 oz in the fridge when you leave. Breastfed babies generally consume between 20 and 30 oz of milk per day, so a baby would need around 280-420 oz of milk during a 14 day separation. That means you're going to come up short and will almost surely need to use some formula unless you can find a way to transport the milk you're producing while you're at school back home to baby. This may be easier than it sounds- moms ship their milk all the time, via carriers like FedEx, or via more informal arrangements where someone who is headed in the right direction drops off a cooler.

    Since you'll be storing significant amounts of milk, you're going to want to start pulling bags from time to time and taste-testing them. Some moms develop issues with lipase which can affect the taste of stored milk. Lipase is an enzyme which is present in all milk. Its purpose is to break down fats. Because lipase works slowly, it doesn't affect the taste of fresh milk. But stored milk can develop a soapy or metallic taste that some babies don't enjoy, and that can cause them to reject the stored milk. So pull your oldest bag after a week or two in the freezer and taste it. If it is yucky, you may need to scald your milk before freezing. We can talk you through that process when and if it comes to it.

    One last thing- I note that you're now using formula only when your baby "still seems hungry" after a long time at the breast. If you stick to your original plan of 2 week separations from your baby, it's probably not a bad thing that she is okay with the taste of formula, particularly if you can't find a way to get your baby the 280-420 oz of milk she'll need, as discussed above. But if you want to ditch the formula, the best way to do that is to only offer the breast when baby is hungry, no matter how long or how often she needs to nurse. Allowing your baby unrestricted access to the breast is the best way to produce the milk you need, because supply = demand. Demand more, and you'll supply more.

    I hope none of the above comes off as discouraging. I know college is challenging and motherhood is challenging and combining the two... Extremely challenging!

  3. #3

    Default Re: Pumping and college

    Unfortunately my college does not provide family housing since it's a catholic college and sex before marriage or children at our age doesn't exist. I am the first student probably ever to get pregnant during college in my school or who decided to keep my baby. But I wish I could of taken her. I will pump more if I can maybe every 4 hours or every other feeding. My pump sorta sucks. I will aim for 300oz 20oz so far 3 months left.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    middle of IA

    Default Re: Pumping and college

    so much for supporting families. grrrrr.

    in addition to what mommal says above, you'll need a good pump - a new, double-electric at least (like medela pump in style or ameda purely yours) or ideally a hospital grade rental.

    this is going to be hard but we're rooting for you!
    DS1 6/7/11
    DS2 10/29/13

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

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Pumping and college

    You are NOT the first student to have premarital sex or to get pregnant at your school. I promise you. I am sure there have been plenty of women at your school who "took a semester abroad" or dropped out of school or chose not to carry their pregnancies. So please do NOT feel like you are alone. You may just be the standard bearer when it comes to trying to have it all- the baby and the schooling.

    I still think that it makes sense for you to contact your college and discuss your situation. When it came to pregnancy, you made the choice that the Catholic church wants you to make, right? A choice that complicates your life even when you personally believe in it. So I think you have every right to ask the administration for their help, and to look for help in the larger community. Make the case that while you may be the first college student to need this "exceptional" treatment, you're unlikely to be the last. And the more the college can flex to accommodate women in your situation, the more women will feel like they can make the choice to keep their babies.

    Okay, getting down off my soapbox now...

    with Auderey about the pump. A good double electric is an absolute necessity.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2013

    Default Re: Pumping and college

    I don't have much advice to add, except that you must have a good pump to exclusively pump. spend some time googling & you'll come up with lots of good info on pumps. I have a medela pump in style advanced & I have read about lots of ladies using that to exclusively pump.

    Best of luck with everything!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Cleveland, OH

    Default Re: Pumping and college

    I agree with getting a great pump. And don't fret about the cost, because the better the pump, the less formula you have to buy and in the end it is less expensive.

    I also agree that it is a good idea to discuss potential solutions with administration, to keep you child closer to you. What do faculty and staff with children do? If there are housing requirements for students there should be also be some exceptions to the rule. Because of your age and the fact you are still in school it will be very tempting for administrators to talk to you like a child; don't let them. You are an adult trying to make important decisions about the health of your own child. The fact that you seem to think that you are the first student to be in this situation (absolutely not) tells me that they haven't been very straightforward with you thus far.
    My little man was born 12/17/2010.

    Baby girl was born 4/30/2014.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Austin, TX

    Default Re: Pumping and college

    Hi Greenskys3 -- do you have health insurance? If yes, you might want to see if pumps are covered under your plan. Many now do cover double electric pumps, as a result of the affordable healthcare act. But if not ... a good pump is worth the expense. Formula will cost you more in the long run!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Pumping and college

    So is breastfeeding going normally now? Baby gaining ok exclusively breastfed?

    First off, January is a long way off. You baby is what-a month old now, and will be four months by January 1st, am I getting this correct? So that will be a whole new world, developmentally.

    I think the best thing you can do for now is keep on the track of getting breastfeeding off to the best start you can. Frequent nursing as your baby is doing is needed, vital. Pump when you can. If it is not everyday, so be it.

    You will need to pump when you are at school and yes you will need a very good pump. For around the clock pumping a hospital grade pump would be best, but that is probably out of your price range as they run $700 and up. At the very least, a double sided electric single user pump such as for a mom who is pumping ~ 3 times a day when at work is a must, get the best you can afford.

    Definitely check with your insurer but unfortunately moms need to be careful of pumps gotten from insurers. Some are letting mothers choose a regular on the market pump where mom can read reviews and be an informed consumer, sometimes mom pays the difference if it is a high priced pump. But others are giving mothers 'no-name' pumps where the origins are unclear, others are handing out manual pumps like candy which are of little to no use to most mothers. You may be able to get/rent a hospital grade through your insurer because frequent pumping is a medical necessity for a lactating mother who is separated from her baby. Maybe.

    I want to commend you for breastfeeding your baby, it can be really hard for young moms who are still in school to do this. I have linked a website devoted to breastfeeding mothers in the military, including deployed mothers. That is what I would liken your situation to, so I think this website may be very helpful to you for the pumping and milk transport/shipping etc. info. http://breastfeedingincombatboots.com/

    But I am much more concerned about the impending very long separations from your baby than about breastfeeding. Mother/child bonding is vital for the future emotional and psychological health and wellness of your child.

    There are programs (not enough but they are there) that allow young children to live with their incarcerated mothers because it is widely recognized how so crucial it is for babies to be with their mothers, and mothers to be with their babies.

    I admire your tenacity but I wonder if you are really considering all your options.
    For various reasons-financial and personal, I attended four different colleges and did not graduate from college until I was almost 30. And I have had a great life and was never without a job when I wanted one. My husband took about five years off in the middle of his college career, and he ended up graduating magna cum laud (in economics) from college and then graduating at the top of his class from law school. So taking (more) time off from school would not be the end of the world, in my personal experience.

    How about taking more time off, and finishing school a bit later? Finishing at a different college closer to home? Or as pp suggests, living off campus-maybe in a shared living situation? You are an adult, do you have to live in campus housing?

    Or can you adjust your class schedule so you can come home every weekend?
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; October 14th, 2013 at 10:26 AM.

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