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Thread: Pumping at work

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    31

    Default Pumping at work

    Hi! This is my first time posting, but I have been reading and following advice on this forum for a few weeks. I am back at work after 7 weeks with my 8 week old. I have been pumping to store milk while at home but now back at work I'm worried! I came back to work for the last week of school to try to get a schedule for my pumping sessions but all I can squeeze in so far is 1 session for 15 min around noon. I am a high school teacher and leaving my students more than that has not been possible so far. Am I in trouble? Luckily, school is over this week and I will be back with my baby for another 8 weeks until school starts up again in August. My baby girl will be about 4 mths by then. Any suggestions, or am I doomed? I really wanted to try to keep up the BF for the full year. I have an awesome pump, Medela PIS, but can't find the time!!

    ps... I have been nursing at 8 am, pump at noon, then nurse from 4pm on. (in case you need more info!)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    1,551

    Default Re: Pumping at work

    Hello!
    Maybe some other teachers will post here to talk about their experiences?

    I know it can be done, but you are right, it can be tricky for teachers to find the time they need to pump. (My husband's a teacher. I know there are some days he literally gets no breaks at all! It can be a very demanding job.)

    Maybe you could try getting extra pumping parts and assembling as much as possible beforehand? Extra parts would save you having to wash except at the end of the day. Do you have a room that works? Could you leave your pump in that room, all set up and ready to go? Or maybe you could practice manual expression? No washing of parts needed for that (just hands!).
    Here's a description.
    http://www.lactationinstitute.org/MANUALEX.html

    It link above describes the process taking 20-30 minutes. You probably won't have that kind of time, but you may find even a shorter session helpful.

    HTH!
    Mary

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    31

    Default Re: Pumping at work

    Yeah, getting extra parts will help...I will try to find more time, but I guess my real question is will I begin to diminish my milk supply if I do not find more time to pump during the school day?
    I think I would feel really guilty if I can't maintain both teaching and giving my baby the best start by BF longer.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    1,551

    Default Re: Pumping at work

    You are trying really hard to balance your goals at work and your goals for breastfeeding your baby!

    Here's a couple of "Making It Work" situations with responses from other mothers.
    Making It Work-Working Without Pumping
    Making It Work-Weaning from the Pump
    This article below has a description of reverse cycle feeding.
    Employed Mothers: Supporting Breastfeeding and Mother-Baby Attachment

    Here's some info from LLL's Breastfeeding Answer Book:
    Not all women who work away from their babies have access to breast pumps or the time or privacy to pump. If the mother wants to avoid giving her baby formula, brainstorm about options to find creative ways that will work for mother and baby. Some babies reverse their sleep patterns, sleeping for long stretches during the day and nursing frequently at night when the mother is at home. In this case the mother may be able to maintain her milk supply and leave the milk her baby needs with only minimal expression.
    Some mothers develop their own unique approaches. One mother woke an hour before baby and pumped 10-12 ounces of milk, which she left for the baby during the day. When the baby awoke later she fed her at the breast and then got ready for the day. At work the mother hand-expressed just enough to keep her from feeling overly full. She fed her baby at the breast when she picked her up from daycare. After this feeding she pumped again, storing this milk for the following day. Following this routine this mother was able to provide milk alone for her baby for 3 to 4 months after returning to work.
    A routine like this would work well only for a mother with a large storage capacity and an abundant milk suppy. For most mothers, going eight hours between pumpings or feedings would signal their body to produce less milk and they would be unable to maintain their supply. In many mothers with a full supply, going eight hours without pumping or feeding could also trigger mastitis.
    (BAB page 249)

    Your baby will be about 4 months old at the time you return in the fall. One thing to keep in mind is that once the baby starts taking solid foods (at about 6 months) you may be able to cut back on pumping. Once the baby is taking liquid from a cup and eating a variety of other foods, you may be able to stop expressing entirely and simply breastfeed when you are together.

    There isn't any prescribed method for phasing out expressing. A gradual approach is best so you don't become uncomfortably full. Every nursing couple is unique. You'll be able to decide what works best for you and your baby.

    Enjoy your summer vacation!
    Mary

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    22

    Default Re: Pumping at work

    I used to teach and taught when I had my son. Things I used to do:
    1. Find someone in the school in a position of power who is supportive. Mine was the high school secretary. She knew when I pumped and would "protect" me. (ie not send students to me, not send calls back, not interrupt...)
    2. Become vicious about protecting your time. I ALWAYS had a lunch time and at least 20 minutes of my prep that were MINE. Before my son was born, I had kids in my room all day. I usually forfeited my lunch to help kids, but in order to bf son, I learned that I had to say No and mean it. So, I did. I took more grading home (I taught English), but that was okay with me. I still pumped.
    3. I also prepped my stuff ahead of time and was very prepared for it to be quick.

    This past year I was a high school counselor so with my daughter it's been easier, but not by much. I still had to train our goofy wrestling coach to not use his master key to unlock a locked door. After he caught me twice fastening my shirt, I just announced in a faculty meeting that I thought he was trying to "catch me in the act" and get a glimpse. Since then I haven't had trouble with him. I also had to train myself to ignore noises outside my door and ignore kids knocking. (I pump in my office with the door shut. For some reason, the kids and teachers will knock on the door if they want me. I've never answered them, but they still knock.)

    My other suggestion is to pump like mad all summer. I managed to store up a ton of reserve ebm for dd. That way, when I had a tough day and couldn't pump, then I had a fall back. She has had no formula at all and is almost 5 months old. It's been tough, but worth it I think. I'd weaned ds by the time he was 4 months old.

    Finally, be okay with it if you have to supplement. I was heartbroken with ds, but looking back, I'd done my absolute best. And after all, that's all you can do. :-)

    Hang in there and be glad your timing was better than mine! DD was born in Dec, Ds was born in October. I had 6 weeks and then was REQUIRED to return to work. FMLA only guarantees 6 weeks unless other medical conditions exist.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Pumping at work

    I, too, am a teacher in a high school and have been exclusively breastfeeding since my son was born in December. It has worked great for me, and this is how.
    1. I had a student aide set up my room with black paper on my windows on my doors so no one can see in. On the outside of my door I posted a sign: "Knock and wait for an answer before entering". I also keep my doors locked and my blinds closed.
    2. I pump (also with a PIS advanced) right when I get to school in the morning and then again during my prep period.
    3. I nurse right when I get home and then throughout the night. I also nurse before I leave for school.
    It is much more difficult being in the school setting, but worth it.
    Remember, your baby will be eating less often as he gets older, so it will get easier.
    Good luck!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    31

    Default Re: Pumping at work

    That is so great to hear...I also found another teacher at work who has been through this whole pumping process so she gives me lots of advice. She said she went through the whole school day pumping just once. Her milk supply never went down. I know every woman is different...but I am still worried that my milk supply will go down if I don't pump more than once in a school day. What do you think? Can I get away with pumping once in an 8-9 hour workday and still maintain my milk supply so that I don't "dry up"?
    School is over now so by the time we start up again she will be 4 mths, not quite old enough to begin solids, but close!
    I feel like I can do it.

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