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Thread: Back to work & away from baby for 16 hours

  1. #1

    Default Back to work & away from baby for 16 hours

    I'm looking for any suggestions anyone might have. I have to return to work next week after 12 wonderful weeks home with my darling son. We have had to really work at breastfeeding. He spent his first 4 days on a feeding tube getting formula, then was bottle fed a combination of breastmilk and formula. After a month, I decided to see if he would take the breast since we had so many issues with latching in the hospital and he did! We've been exclusively breastfeeding since around 5 weeks old with an occasional bottle of breast milk. I have been able to freeze about 100 ounces of breastmilk.

    I return to work next week and work 14 hour shifts. I will be away from my LO from 7am until 11 am. I plan on feeding him myself before i leave him and then pumping on the way to and from work and several times during the work day. I am starting to get really nervous about being able to pump enough milk and being able to take enough breaks. I fall into the exempt category of the breastfeeding laws and am not guaranteed breaks. I know I need to take at least 4 breaks during my shift but I am worried this may not be possible. There have been days in the past where I haven't even had time to eat. I will be gone from my LO two to three days a week and plan on letting him only have bottles when I am physically away from him. I feel like we have worked so hard on breastfeeding and I really don't want to have to supplement with formula.

    So I guess this boils down to if anyone has any suggestions for working moms that don't work 9-5 jobs and are away from their babies alllllll day. I'm getting so stressed about going back to work and just need some support. My husband doesn't see the big deal about using formula but I hate the idea of having to use it. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    5,641

    Default Re: Back to work & away from baby for 16 hours

    first off, how great that you persevered through early difficulties and are now enjoying a great nursing relationship with your baby. Breastfeeding going well at the time mom goes back to work sets you up for being able to continue to nurse after going back to work.

    So you obviously know that pumping with some frequency during separations is important, and will do your best to make that happen. btw, before there were any laws for anyone, moms negotiated with their employers about getting enough pumping time. There are many benefits to employers in promoting breastfeeding. But they need to be educated.

    here are some other tips-

    how baby is fed bottles matters. learn about paced bottle feeding and educate baby's caregivers
    Nurse lots when with baby, day and night.
    get the best pump you can afford and make sure it is and stays in excellent working condition, is the right fit, and just is general, works for you.
    learn hand expression for emergencies or as needed use
    Make time to eat AND drink at work. Vital.
    Ok I am sure other moms will have more suggestions.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    604

    Default Re: Back to work & away from baby for 16 hours

    Great tips! I would also suggest that if forced to choose between more frequent, but shorter breaks and longer but more infrequent breaks, that you choose the former. Even if you only get five minutes, take them, and pump whatever you can! Do you have access to a refrigerator at your job? This would be an ideal situation to simply throw your pump parts into the fridge between sessions so that you do not have to worry at ALL about cleaning the parts during whatever break time you get. Or even purchase multiple pump parts, if you cannot refrigerate them!

    What do you do for a living, mama? What does your working environment look like? What are your job responsibilities? We might be able to come up with some ideas for squeezing some pumping sessions in if we know that! Lots of us here have had to get "creative" to get our breaks in. (Certainly, if you have a commute, those are also times you can add in some pumping if you have a hands free set up.)
    Apologies for the short responses! I'm usually responding one-handed on my smartphone!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    2,214

    Default Re: Back to work & away from baby for 16 hours

    I agree. For a 14 hour separation you might need more than 4 sessions to maintain supply. Are there any tasks that you do while sitting in front of a computer? If so, those might be opportunities to get set up with a hands-free system (there are special bras made for this purpose, or you can make one for yourself using a snug-fitting camis and cutting holes out to fit the flanges into). That way you work and pump simultaneously. Set an alarm on your phone to go off at the times you want to pump to remind you to do so. Pump while eating meals. Figure out whether there are arrangements you can make with co-workers so that you cover them for whatever breaks they want/need to take, they cover you for pumping. Talk to your direct supervisor and see what you can figure out. One mom on here is an RN, she pumped on the other side of a curtain while giving report. Be creative!

    I really think you CAN do this. The good thing is you will be doing this only 2 or 3 days a week, so even if you fall a little short on your workdays, you have other days where you can make up for it - for example adding in a pumping session or two on non-work days and lots and lots of nursing when you are together. Make sure baby does not sleep long stretches at night on your workdays (yes, tiring, but really important for supply). Make sure your baby is not overfed while you are at work. Try to keep it to 14 oz but definitely no more than 20 oz, so baby will be motivated to nurse when you are back together. You do that by making sure to use paced feeding techniques as LLL Meg mentions, here are a couple links about that:

    http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...astfedbaby.pdf
    http://kellymom.com/bf/pumpingmoms/f...ottle-feeding/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: Back to work & away from baby for 16 hours

    Set an alarm on your cell. Time goes fast & you could get so involved doing your work, you might forget to pump.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Back to work & away from baby for 16 hours

    Thanks for all the suggestions. I am hoping all goes well on Monday and I just need to remember that my son is #1 and everyone can wait while I pump for him.

    I am a pharmacist and am always the only pharmacist there. I do have technicians who can handle most responsibilities and will just have to train them how to handle things when I step out.

    Thanks again for the suggestions and support!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    2,214

    Default Re: Back to work & away from baby for 16 hours

    One of my friends would do phone calls while pumping. Since I imagine you have to make calls to docs and their offices, that's another potential pumping time activity. And yes, do rely on your technicians!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: Back to work & away from baby for 16 hours

    Based on your job, I would think that lots of little breaks might work best for you. Definitely use phone calls as an opportunity to pump in a private room. Even if you only get 5-10 minutes. Those can add up over the course of the day. Even if it has only been 1 hour since your last pump, I would take as many small breaks as you can. A cooler to keep all your pump parts in your pump room would probably be a good idea too.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Back to work & away from baby for 16 hours

    You can do this!
    I'm an RN and I work 12+ hour shifts routinely. I've found that I'm usually able to pump a lot of milk if I use my hand pump at night. My baby is 8 months but still wakes up at least 2 times a night to eat. I use my hoppy pillow and while feeding her on one side I pump on the other. Sometimes I can get as much as 5 ounces but even getting 2 or 3 is one less bottle to worry about making.
    At my job I sometimes can't take my breaks on time to pump or I've been in a hurry to leave and forgotten my pump.
    One tip that works well for me is to learn how to hand express. I've done it many times while on a "bathroom break' . You can't keep the milk but emptying milk from your breasts for even a couple minutes helps with your supply overall.
    Try not to stress! You've already made it through things that would make many women give up.
    mom to one beautiful 10/31/13

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    307

    Default Re: Back to work & away from baby for 16 hours

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*colomom27 View Post
    One tip that works well for me is to learn how to hand express. I've done it many times while on a "bathroom break' . You can't keep the milk but emptying milk from your breasts for even a couple minutes helps with your supply overall.
    You can! I've already hand-expressed into clean plastic cups and stored the milk in milk storage bags. Lately I do this right after nursing my baby in the morning. I hand express about an ounce into a clean bottle (no patience taking out the pump for this) and add a bit of oatmeal to give it some texture. Then I spoonfeed it to my baby for "real" breakfast . I do it to stimulate my body to make more milk and to give my baby a variation of food. The only time I don't save hand-expressed milk is if I'm doing it in the sink to clear a clogged duct or engorgement.

    Mom to Samuel J.
    born 7lb. 10 oz. and 22" tall
    on Saturday, October 19, 2013.

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