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Thread: Returned to school, feeling lost.

  1. #1

    Default Returned to school, feeling lost.

    I am a first time mom, I got to stay home with my LO until he was 3 months old hes now 4 months old. I've been back at school for almost a month now, and some how I've managed to stay afloat with BF. My son is growing rapidly and my milk supply seems to be diminishing. I had to throw out over a gallon of milk I had pumped in preparation to return to school when I was told the fenugreek I was taking was causing my son problems. After stopping taking the fenugreek the problems stopped. So I tragically had to dump most of my supply. At my school the only place I have to pump is in the employee bathroom once a day if I am lucky with no chair or table. My mom bought me organic rice cereal she thinks is ok to start giving him because he seems to be hungry more often for more then 4oz at a time, my doctor told me between 4 and 6 months was ok to start introducing him to foods. I am having a very emotional feeling about giving him anything but breast milk until he is 6 months old. I can't even wrap my head around the possibility of having to give him formula. I feed him at 6:00am from one side and pump the other I'm only getting 4oz while I am gone from 7:30am until 5:30 pm I barely even have time to drink. What do I do??? This is killing me and my supply just keeps getting smaller because I can't keep up.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Returned to school, feeling lost.

    How far away is school? I've heard of moms pumping as they drive to and from work.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Returned to school, feeling lost.

    Welcome to the forum! Lots of questions...

    -Are you a student or a teacher? The reason I ask is that an employee may be entitled to different things than a student, and might want to contact a different person at the institution.

    - How do you commute? Are you going by car or taking public transportation?

    - What sort of pump do you have?

    - How often does baby nurse when you are together? Does he sleep through the night?

    - How long are you separated during the day?
    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!"

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Returned to school, feeling lost.

    Who takes care of baby while you are away? Could they bring baby to you ever? Or come with you to school?
    Have u looked at laws regarding pumping that may apply to you? Breastfeeding mothers have rights and those rights are not void because you are working or in school.
    Can you arrange leave of absence or less demanding schedule?
    You are the mom. If you do not want to introduce solids yet, that is your call.
    Even if supplements are needed, formula is not neccessarily the only option.
    Did you already throw out the milk? There is a big difference between a couple feedings a day of milk pumped when you were on fenugreek and all feedings being that milk.
    Why were you on fenugreek? Have you always struggled with production?

  5. #5

    Default Re: Returned to school, feeling lost.

    I am a student, I have a medela pump'n'style, I commute an hour to school, I drive to and from in heavy traffic. Gauge sleeps through the night (9pm-5 or 6am) and nurses 1-2 times before I go to school, after school he nurses 2-3 times. On my 2 days off a week I feed him by demand which is usually one side every 3 hours and the other side is pumped. My mom watches him, and because my school is so far I don't have any options of her coming up to the school for me to feed him. I was on the fenugreek before I even had him because I was scared I wouldn't be able to produce enough milk. He had such bad GI problems from it that he got an umbilical hernia. I did dump the milk, but not after trying to give him 1 bag of the milk with fenugreek and the rest w/o as well as trying to mix it with other bags. Any sight of fenugreek sends him into shrilling screams that never end. I am separated from him from 7:45am until about 5:30-6pm. I cannot arrange another leave of absence, and the only other schedule I have available is 3 12 hour days in a row (which would be closer to 15 hour days with commute) vs. Tuesday-Saturday 9-4:30 I feel like I am failing at being a mom. When I'm at school he eats 12oz and I am only pumping 4-5 when I even get the chance to. On a good day I can feed him 4-5 times and pump 8oz. I am a cosmetology student and I am doing hair all day, I barely get time to drink water or use the rest room.

    What other supplemental options are there then formula?
    What could the effects of giving him organic whole grain rice cereal?
    Is there anything I could take to heavily increase my milk supply? I'll walk around all day engorged and in pain if it means I can do what I feel is best for him.
    If I decide to give him formula as a supplement how will that effect him? How much should I give him?
    Has anyone else ever felt so emotional about BF that the thought of doing anything else is frightening?
    Is 4 months of BF going to be "enough" to have positively effected him?
    If I start the cereal will that make my measly 4oz a day while at school enough?
    Last edited by @llli*stephanie4pm; August 30th, 2014 at 06:20 PM.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Returned to school, feeling lost.

    Can you talk to your supervisors? You really do need to take care of yourself (drink water, use the rest room and pump.) You don't have to pump for very long necessarily (ten minutes will even make a huge difference) and if you have an extra cooler you can put the pump parts in you don't necessarily have to wash everything after every pumping session.

    No amount of herbs or even medications are going to make much of a difference in your supply if you are not removing milk from your breasts it sends the signal to your body that it is making too much milk and your supply goes down.

    With your long commute, I definitely encourage you to look into pumping as you drive. Might seem odd but with a hands free bra and a nursing cover you can pump in the car on the way to/from school and probably make a huge difference in your supply as well as the amount of expressed milk you can provide your baby. If you were to manage to even pump 2 times at school as well as during part of the drive to/from you would probably be in really good shape.

    I would recommend increasing night time feeding. Do you go to bed at 9 pm when baby does? If not, try dream feeding before you go to bed. Night time nursing is the savior to many working moms, the more baby eats at night the less pressure there is to provide lots of milk for daycare. It also helps your supply to nurse extra at night. Co-sleeping is the only way many working moms can manage to get enough sleep and nurse.

    You are a great mom, you have already provided your baby with 4 months worth of Breast milk. Any amount of breastfeeding is beneficial.
    Breastfeeding does not have to be all or nothing, if you have to supplement it is OK. Before going to rice cereal or formula you might look up/research some recommendations for baby's first foods and baby led weaning (baby led solids) as well as some options for home made formula and alternative feeding methods if you are worried that a bottle will interfere with breastfeeding.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Returned to school, feeling lost.

    Well, I am so sorry about the fenugreek and your babies reaction. Most breastfeeding mothers make plenty of milk with no "milk making" herbal supplements. And taking fenugreek while pregnant is unlikely to have done anything to help with production, that is just not how it works. But that is water under the bridge at this point. I have never heard of fenugreek causing such a severe reaction in a baby, many mothers take it without issue. In any case, it is frustrating your milk had to be tossed but even having that milk now would not help in terms of keeping your milk production up for as long as you wish to breastfeed. Know what I mean? There are two issues when dealing with separations and milk production. One is, pumping enough for baby to eat while you are gone. The other is maintaining good enough milk production for the length of time you wish to nurse your baby.

    Some moms find that supplementing because they are not able to pump enough to leave baby is needed, but they can still take steps to maintain enough milk production so they can nurse their child longer overall. Both your milk and the physical act of nursing are beneficial healthwise- to baby and mother. There is nothing to indicate that a baby having 100 percent breastmilk for 6 months, and then going on formula, is 'better' than a baby having some formula at four months but nursing until a year. Know what I mean? I know what I would chose, if I had to chose. I would chose longer duration of breastfeeding, and supplement as needed. So while yes, as much breastmilk as possible is best, that does not mean that nothing else must ever pass babies lips. If supplements are needed, they are needed. Using formula does not make you or anyone else a bad mother!

    My son is growing rapidly and my milk supply seems to be diminishing.
    Do you mean your pump output is diminishing? Your baby growing rapidly on only breastmilk indicates you make plenty of milk. Also, if you think your baby needs MORE milk now than he did earlier, please know this is not true. As baby gets bigger, the rate of gain normally decreases. So a 5 month old baby needs no more milk each day than a month old baby.

    What other supplemental options are there then formula?
    Donated breast milk. This is not always available but it certainly is an option to explore in a case where mom is unable to provide enough milk for her baby. Nutritionally, the general consensus is that a growing infant needs breastmilk or, if breastmilk is not available, formula. Most would say that formula is the appropriate substitute for breastmilk, nutritionally speaking, and that rice cereal is not. I guess I wonder why you and your mom think rice cereal is preferable to formula.

    What could the effects of giving him organic whole grain rice cereal?
    There is no research to suggest rice cereal, organic or not, is the best first solids to give a baby. Processed rice is not very nutritious so the nutrition in these cereals is added, just as with formula. But not as much is added, which makes cereal inadequate as a breastmilk substitute. Its bot necessarily that rice is bad (although it can be quite constipating) its just that has not anywhere near the nutritional completeness of breastmilk, and formula does come closer. ON the other hand, if your child is extremely prone to having allergies or gastrointestinal issues, I cannot speak to what would be best in that case.

    The AAP currently recommends that babies not start solids until 6 months or later. HOWEVER. Breastfeeding expert Jack Newman DOES suggest that "early' solids (after 3 months) is an appropriate substitute for formula when a mother is not able to provide enough milk for her baby. So there is not total agreement in this area. You may want to read Jack Newman on this subject. For an excellent explanation of solids, when, what, and why, I suggest the book My Child Won't Eat. What the author shows is that historically, many of the recommendations of what to start and when to start solids are based on subjective opinion, or old or faulty data.

    Is there anything I could take to heavily increase my milk supply? I'll walk around all day engorged and in pain if it means I can do what I feel is best for him.
    OK, so walking around engorged and in pain is not going to be good for you, or for your milk production, and it is not going to help your baby for you to suffer. What really needs to happen is that you have more time to pump and a better place to pump in. If this cannot happen, then your milk production will continue to go down. But there are things you can do to help keep your milk production as good as it can be, given your situation. Namely, more milk extraction at night, as pp suggests.

    If I decide to give him formula as a supplement how will that effect him? How much should I give him?
    How much is a question for your child's pediatrician. How much milk is your baby drinking when you are at school now? It's going to be about the same, because formula is made to (as much as possible) match breastmilk as far as calories goes. It is the accepted substitute for breastmilk when breastmilk is not available.
    Has anyone else ever felt so emotional about BF that the thought of doing anything else is frightening?
    Of course. This is a normal reaction of a concerned mother who loves her baby. A mother being separated from her baby is going to have pain about that situation. No matter how necessary or unavoidable the separation is, biologically we are not meant to be separated from our babies for such long periods and so we have a stress reaction to this situation. This is biological. You can not reason these normal feelings away. Possibly the pain you feel about not being able to be with your baby and nurse him as much as you would wish is contributing to your fear of giving him anything else.
    Is 4 months of BF going to be "enough" to have positively effected him?
    4 seconds of nursing at their mothers breast is enough to positively effect a baby.
    If I start the cereal will that make my measly 4oz a day while at school enough?
    I do not think so. The rule of thumb is a baby needs about an ounce to an ounce and a half of milk for every hour of separation. I doubt rice cereal will be enough to make up this short fall.

    Here is what I suggest.

    First, figure out how to feel ok about your situation. I don't know the circumstances or why it would be impossible to put off school until next year or next semester, take a lighter class load, attend a closer school, or move closer to your school. If your mom is home watching the baby all day, I don't know why she could not come with you to school, even one day a week would make a big difference. But if none of that is possible, then, it isn't.
    In your op, you said this situation was killing you. You feel lost. Well, that does not sound healthy to me. You cannot stop being a mother, and you say you cannot stop being a student either. So somehow you are going to have to make this situation work for you.

    I suggest, if going to this school, with this class load, right now, is the best choice for your life and your child's, then, own it. Own your choice as the best one! I think that will give you more empowerment than thinking you have no choice.
    In the situation you are in, to have the best possible milk production:
    Fight for your right to provide your milk for your baby. There must be somewhere besides a bathroom you can pump. Talk to your teachers about being late to a class or taking a few less clients. Get some kind of waiver. Whatever. FIGHT. Pumping is not just to provide milk for your baby. It is a MEDICAL NECESSITY for a lactating mother. Not pumping leads to potentially dangerous medical issues for MOM, aside from the fact it makes it so your baby is not getting your milk. These are real issues. It is outrageous that you are not able to pump more often at school.
    Get a better pump or trouble shoot the one you have. Pumps fail. It is very common.
    Nurse your baby over night. Your baby sleeping for such a long stretch every night is going to further harm your milk production. Does baby sleep in a different room from you? Does baby get a pacifier or is baby swaddled? All of these might lead to your baby not waking to nurse often enough for optimal milk production. Also, the more your baby nurses at night, the less breastmilk he will need during the day.

    I am being kind of abrupt because I am trying to say a lot, and its late, and my own toddler is fussinng. So I hope you understand I feel very sympathetic. This is a tough situation, but please don't make it harder on yourself by blaming yourself for things that are not in your control. Motherhood is tough enough, don't make it harder with all this worry. You have done amazing. You know that most babies are not nursed for even 3 months, right?
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; August 31st, 2014 at 12:32 AM.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Returned to school, feeling lost.

    I checked FL law and it's not enforced, there aren't any particular rights for students, just employees and public breastfeeding.... and the only law I can find says that they have to provide somewhere other then a restroom for employees.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Returned to school, feeling lost.

    Thank you all so much for your words of encouragement! It's been very informative and helpful.

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Returned to school, feeling lost.

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*stephanie4pm View Post
    I checked FL law and it's not enforced, there aren't any particular rights for students, just employees and public breastfeeding.... and the only law I can find says that they have to provide somewhere other then a restroom for employees.
    Talk to a teacher or supervisor and let them know you need to work your schedule somehow to let you pump more. (pumping breaks need not be that long.) If there are any times in the day where you sit down to do paperwork of any sort, they could perhaps be used as pumping breaks while you are still doing the paperwork.
    (Remember that public breastfeeding is Legal so if they are unwilling to provide a place for it, then you can legally pump in public, bring a nursing cover so you don't feel so awkward about it.) That might cause them to provide you with a better place.

    Remember that the school doesn't want to loose you as a student since that means loss of revenue for the school. It is worth asking for help with being able to schedule a couple extra 15 minute breaks for you so you can avoid the risk of getting sick with mastitis (which would likely have you missing whole days of school.)

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