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Thread: Going back to work at a year - need advice!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    Ontario
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    Default Going back to work at a year - need advice!

    I'll be going back to work in about 7 weeks or so, a week after DD turns one (I know, I'm so lucky to have been able to stay home this long with her!). I'll be part time for the first year, but my schedule won't be consistent. I could be working days, evenings, midnights, etc. DH or SIL will be watching DD while I'm at work.

    My issue is about what to do milk-wise. Currently, she nurses quite frequently during the day, and solids are hit and miss. I know that a lot can change in 7 weeks, but it's just so hard to believe that she'd be ok all day or night without milk. So should I be pumping daily now to build up a stash? I won't be pumping when I go back to work, so I don't know if it's a good idea to go from pumping and nursing on demand to nothing at all for 9 hours or so. She's had bottles of EBM infrequently, so she does know how to take a bottle. Should I be introducing a bottle on a regular basis at this age? Though she does occasionally fall asleep in her stroller or baby carrier, she otherwise nurses to sleep. I don't know how she'll do without it.

    I guess I just need some more experienced mamas to reassure me that it'll be ok! I'm really anxious about going back and leaving her - I want the transition to be as smooth as possible for both of us!

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    2,209

    Default Re: Going back to work at a year - need advice!

    You'll be okay! Since baby is already a year old, and a lot of mothers pump wean at a year, I don't think you have to plan on a regular three-times-a-shift pumping schedule. However, I think you'll definitely want an option for relieving fullness if you start feeling full at work - hand expression, manual pump, electric pump - whatever works for you to remove milk. I think that's more of a concern than maintaining supply, at this point - you're so far along in your breastfeeding relationship, and your LO is not as reliant on your milk as before age 1, so that you can just let your supply go up and down as you work or are at home. But if you find that every time you work a shift you get really full, or you start having problems with plugged ducts, then maybe you might want to plan a pumping session or two into each shift. You'll just have to see how it goes.

    When I'm away for the evening or on a trip and DH is putting LO to bed, he does find it helpful to give her expressed breastmilk at bedtime. So, you might consider doing a bit of pumping to have some breastmilk on hand see if that helps. I think you could also consider just letting him or your SIL figure out what their bedtime routine is going to be. But maybe it will help relieve your anxiety to know that there is some milk available for LO, either at bedtime or when she wakes up at night. I wouldn't go crazy with the pumping though - as you say you don't want to build up a huge supply right before going into a situation where you're not removing milk regularly! Maybe once a day. Remember she only needs 2 or 3 ounces at a time (maybe even less if it's sort of a "comfort drink"). My LO has been getting her EBM in a sippy cup since turning one. I always work on getting rid of the bottle at age one, so if I were in your situation, where your LO isn't really expecting a bottle, I'd probably avoid getting her more used to it.

    In my experience it's almost worse THINKING about going back to work than actually doing it! Things will work out. And it's nice you can go back part-time at the beginning to ease both of you into it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    middle of IA
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    Default Re: Going back to work at a year - need advice!

    i agree with everything bfwmomof3 says; she really covered all the bases. you and she will both be fine! and she really will be fine without BM for a whole 9 hour shift, as long as she has something else to drink for thirst. especially since she's had infrequent bottles, she won't expect to get BM if she's not with you. and her caretakers will figure out their own routines with her, including for bedtimes.
    DS1 6/7/11
    DS2 10/29/13

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

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    20,865

    Default Re: Going back to work at a year - need advice!

    Will you be bringing your pump to work? I agree with the PPs that your baby will be fine- but I am a little concerned about you, because of your irregular schedule. If you go from nursing quite a lot to suddenly working a 9 hour shift, you could end up uncomfortably full or even engorged. Not what you want on the job!
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  5. #5
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    Nov 2012
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    Default Re: Going back to work at a year - need advice!

    No, mommal, I won't be bringing my pump to work. I'd have nowhere to pump, nor the time to do it - since most people take off the full year here in Canada, there don't really seem to be any provisions for doing so. My one friend that works at the same place started to wean her son when he was 10 months so that she would be completely done by the time she went back. I don't want to wean, but I have to admit that I am concerned about how full I'll get, especially with the irregular schedule! I talked to my SIL though - we're going to do a trial run in about a month to see how things go for a full day, and if I'll maybe need to bring a hand pump to relieve pressure.

    bfwmomof3, I think you're right, that the thinking about it is worse than the going back to work itself! I'm really trying not to let it stress me out and ruin the rest of the time I have home with her. I haven't decided yet on whether or not to do bottles or just sippy cup of breastmilk or something. I guess we'll just have to work it out. I think that's the other thing that I have to remember - it'll probably take some time to get things running smoothly - I don't need to have it all figured out for the first day!

    Thanks for the support and the reassurance, mamas. I also found a working mothers support group through Life with a Baby, so hopefully there'll be some nursing mamas there that can share their experiences.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Going back to work at a year - need advice!

    Well, we've finished our first week of me being back at work, and we all made it through! I had pumped sporadically before I went back, so I had enough to give her two 3-oz bags of milk for the first four days, and then whatever I pumped while at work. She was fine with that, and then with almond milk or water after the milk was gone. I ended up spending about 8-10 minutes with a hand pump on my lunch breaks just to relieve engorgement, and that went ok and got me about 2 oz each time.

    As for leaving her, it was so hard, especially since she's had a bunch of breath holding episodes this week. But my SIL is awesome and did a great job taking care of her -I knew she was in excellent hands! It has been an exhausting week -I give major props to all you mamas out there that have to do this way sooner than a year! We'll see how things go next week when I'm working some off-shifts...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    Default Re: Going back to work at a year - need advice!

    Thanks for the update carm3, glad it went okay! It is tiring and jarring to go back, but it gets better. That's great that you have your SIL to take care of LO.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    middle of IA
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    Default Re: Going back to work at a year - need advice!

    me too! and it really does get easier.
    DS1 6/7/11
    DS2 10/29/13

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

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Going back to work at a year - need advice!

    Thanks again ladies

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    Default Re: Going back to work at a year - need advice!

    So tonight is going to be my first midnight shift since having the baby. It'll be my first time away from her at night. I was hoping that she'd be STTN by now, but she still nurses a LOT. I'm a little worried about how DH will handle things and if either of them will get any sleep. I'm leaving a couple oz of expressed milk just in case, and I think he'll probably put it in a bottle, even though she's taking a straw cup during the day now. I think she will need the sucking-at-the-nipple sensation to get back to sleep.

    The other thing is that she'll be gone to the sitter's before I get home in the morning, so I won't be nursing her for almost 18 hours. I've been doing a bit of pumping for comfort with my manual pump at work, but I'm thinking I may need to use my double electric when I get home.

    Not necessarily looking for anything here, just helps my anxiety to write it out, I guess!

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