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Thread: What's a female Soldier to do?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    54

    Default What's a female Soldier to do?

    My son is due any day now and I plan on giving my best effort at Bfing (traditional or pumping ... one way or another). I am in the National Guard and I do get 90 days with no drill or training. Unfortunately, we have our annual training coming up in late May ... just in time for me to rejoin the unit. We will be going to Ft. Irwin, CA for about 21 days. During this time, not only will I be away from my baby, but we will also have no access to showers for days at a time. Because of the training we will be doing, I also see no possibility of me taking a pump (it would not only be logistically impossible, but the pump would get ruined in a matter of days due to the sand and having no way of cleaning it). Needless to say, I am concerned not only about the likelihood of my milk supply drying up, but also about the possibility of infections and other problems. Has anyone ever been through anything like this? Is there anything I can do? Any help would be appriciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    43

    Default Re: What's a female Soldier to do?

    Hello! Sorry to hear about your problem but thank you for serving our country. You could learn to manual express and do this for the time your away so you can keep up your supply and to decrease risk of infection or blocked ducts. I know someone should have a good site to manual expression. If you plan to wean before hand I would gradually do it so your body has time to adjust. Good Luck with your new baby.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    1,864

    Default Re: What's a female Soldier to do?

    Congratulations on your baby!

    I think the PP has a great idea--manual expression. You can do it anywhere. I have a link (or a few) somewhere. I will be back to post them.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    18,063

    Default Re: What's a female Soldier to do?

    Have you tried talking to your chain of command?
    they might be able to help if you explain!

  5. #5

    Default Re: What's a female Soldier to do?

    Congratulations on the impending birth of your baby! And welcome to LLL.

    I'm sure there are other mothers who have done something similar, and I'm hoping they find this thread and chime in.

    Previous posters have mentioned hand-expression. Here's a link on that to get you started: http://www.llli.org/NB/NBMarApr96p51.html This site, while not a LLL site, does have a good description of it as well, with illustrations. http://www.lactationinstitute.org/MANUALEX.html

    By knowing how to hand express, you can at least express enough to keep a bit of a supply going for when you are reunited with your baby, and work to prevent plugged ducts and mastitis.

    Once you are reunited with your baby, you can use techniques that are often used for resuming nursing after a nursing strike. This article has some great tips in it, although the focus of the article is something different. http://www.llli.org/NB/NBJulAug01p136.html

    You can also work to bring your supply back, too, once you are home. This site, also not a LLL site, but very good, has info on increasing your milk supply. Click through the links for more info. http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/lo....html#increase Remember, many adoptive mothers can bring in a full supply, so with work, a mother in your situation can bring the supply back.

    If you can, as someone else suggested, see if you can talk to someone in your chain of command about the situation. Being sick with mastitis isn't fun anyway, I can only imagine that it would be even less fun to be sick with mastitis in the conditions you're describing. Maybe there's a compromise that you can come up with, or they've worked with other mothers before in this situation.

    I thought I remembered reading somewhere that at least one of the branches of the military had protections in place for nursing mothers, providing time to express milk, but I can't find that information now. I'll keep looking. Other readers, if you know what I'm talking about, please chime in!
    Shannon
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    54

    Default Re: What's a female Soldier to do?

    Thank you for the advice. I have thought about expressing I'm just wondering where I will be able to do it ... a port-a-potty in the Cali desert in May is going to be dayum hot, lol. I'm thinking I can try to get on one of the supply caravans to get back and shower more often ... surely they will give exceptions considering this could be considered a medical issue I really don't like asking for special considerations (I've been in going on 9 years and still deal with the female stigma from time to time) but I don't want to be in incredible pain (esp. with all the gear we will be wearing) either.
    The biggest concern I have with going to my chain of command is that I doubt they could do much. I KNOW they (actually he) would be very concerned and helpful, but we are a VERY small unit (there are 8 of us) and will be attached to a larger unit ... made up of mostly males.
    I know I'll be packing extra breast pads and a JUMBO supply of baby wipes, though

    at least one of the branches of the military had protections in place for nursing mothers, providing time to express milk,
    The unfortunate thing about programs like this is that they mostly apply to the active-duty forces. If I were just returning to my regular drill weekends, I know I would be provided with time to pump, but like I said, we are a small kind of family-like (albeit disfunctional, hehe) group.
    Last edited by wvgemini; February 10th, 2008 at 02:29 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    152

    Default Re: What's a female Soldier to do?

    wow, that's a tough situation! i would pump as much as you can before you leave in order to have a good freezer stash for when you're gone. you probably won't be able to freeze enough for 3 weeks, but it could be mixed with formula so your lo would still be getting some breastmilk. you will have to perfect the art of manual expressing or you will be in a world of hurt. manually express as much as you can there to keep your supply going. and then work at getting your lo back to the breast when you get back. it will definitely not be easy, but i think it's totally possible and once you get through it, you will be glad you stuck with it. i'm in the military as well (active duty air force) and have been in some very strange situations as far as pumping is concerned. i know getting out of doing the exercise isn't an option, but i'm sure if you're open and very matter-of-fact about the situation while you're on exercise, the guys with you will be somewhat accomodating. good luck!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: What's a female Soldier to do?

    I believe it is preferable to feed the BM separately from the formula, rather than mixed. I think this is to minimize the chances of wasting it.

    I would make sure you get the baby using a good breast-like bottle, so that nipple confusion might be avoided/minimized. I like the Breastflow, but there are others.

    I wuld also spend some time with your caregivers to make sure they understand the importance of feeding the baby in such a way that it is more like breastfeeding. This handout from Kellymom is very helpful: http://www.kellymom.com/store/freeha...le_feeding.pdf

    L e i l a, married to hubby, loving our "bock-ee" kinda girl, 6.23.06
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    547

    Default Re: What's a female Soldier to do?

    I just want to say- You Rock! It is awesome that you are both a new mom and serving our country, but to try and breastfeed/maintain your supply as well is awesome. Good luck to you, looks like some good advice in the pp's.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    235

    Default Re: What's a female Soldier to do?

    Hi, I'm a former Army mom myself, I was active duty when I had my dd so things were a little different. I was in the reserves while pregnant but got out two months after I gave birth so I didn't have to deal with a AT. Could you see if your higher command might let you schedule your own AT at the drill unit. They might need something done around the unit for two weeks which allow you to fulfill your AT requirements and let you come home to your lo. If you have to go, really work on getting your supply up so you can pump extra to store, you should be able to store enough for 21 days without a lot of problems if you plan ahead and then hand express until you get home. Good luck hon.

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