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Thread: Night Shift Nursing Blues

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Philadelphia,PA
    Posts
    7

    Default Night Shift Nursing Blues

    I am a nurse and returned to work part time when DD was 8 weeks. During that time, I was working per diem, 4 hr or 8 hr shifts twice / week. Now, she is 14 weeks old and I'm struggling to maintain our nursing relationship. Last night I started a full time schedule, which will be 36-40 hrs (12hr shifts) I will be away from DD from 6:15pm- approx 8:15am and I am freaking out!!!

    First, I am usually a day shift nurse, so I am already confused and disoriented by the time change. Secondly, I work at a busy inner-city hospital on a transplant floor, so we are busy 24 hrs a day. Thank goodness we are in a lull right now and I have a few mins to peruse this forum and post! Sometimes, I can pump every four hours and other days, I'm lucky to pump twice in 12 hours - OUCH!!!! Furthermore, I have to quickly shove food in my mouth while trying to provide nourishment for my baby and sometimes I'm charting on the computer while pumping. As you can imagine, thinking / writing about infected surgical wounds does not inspire let down. I'm so stressed that my pumping output is not so hot ( 3-4 oz). I have been having panic attacks at home and am really depressed by the thought of early weaning. My goal was to nurse for at least 1 year. My husband thinks that I should begin weaning b/c he is concerned that I won't be able to sleep well when I get home in the AM. He works from home while I'm sleeping and brings DD for BF as needed and gives bottles of EBM.

    My question is : Is it possible to pump over night @ work (my goal is 9pm-MN-3am-6am), nap/ nurse in AM and leave bottles of EBM for late morning and afternoon and nurse / play/ read / eat from 3pm-6pm AND THEN go to work at 6:15pm and start it all over again... THREE DAYS PER WEEK and then switch back to a more HUMAN SCHEDULE the OTHER FOUR DAYS ??? Will I need to pump overnight even on my days off? DD usually sleeps from 11pm-4am and then 4:30am - 8:30am. Should I just make life a little easier and combo feed/ partial wean?? Help me, please.

    Are there any night shift workers out there who have dealt with this?
    __________________
    Last edited by @llli*crystalc; November 10th, 2008 at 02:36 AM.
    Mama to Jaena Sage born 8-3-08, naturally with a midwife. She was a peanut, 6 lbs. 2 oz., but now she is already 11lbs. 8oz

    with Jaena Sage and best friend and husband,Randy. as often as she likes and wherever... while at work and as much as possible

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    miles from nowhere
    Posts
    11,107

    Default Re: Night Shift Nursing Blues

    I'm sorry, I don't have any experience working night shift, but I do think you should be able to pump while you are at work and then maintain a normal schedule on your off days. If you experience severe engorgement or notice a drop in supply you can add in extra pumping sessions to try to even it out.

    Hopefully someone else will chime in with some real-life expereience, but in the meantime I wanted to wish you good luck with your new schedule!!
    “We are not put on earth for ourselves, but are placed here for each other. If you are there always for others, then in time of need, someone will be there for you.”
    --Anonymous

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Pullman, WA
    Posts
    363

    Default Re: Night Shift Nursing Blues

    Hooray!! I'm not the only one any more!!

    I am a labor and delivery nurse. Used to work NICU day shift, but moved and had to go to nights. Some nights (like tonight), I sit around waiting for something to happen. Other nights, I don't stop moving. Sometimes I've had nights where I only got to pump once. But it's working. My son is a year old now. I've been nights since 7 months. But now that I am doing it, I know I'll be able to do it with my next LO from the beginning.

    Here's how I do it: I started out pumping three times a night since my LO was a big night nurser. I pumped at 9:30pm, 1am and 4 or 5am depending on patient load. I go home after work, nurse the baby while I eat breakfast (yes, I'm one of those morning eaters), then I go to sleep while he either hangs out at home with Daddy or goes to the babysitter's. If he's home, DH brings him in to nurse whenever he wants. I still seem to sleep ok, even with the interruption. If he goes to the babysitter's, I just sleep. If he'll be gone longer than 4 hours I get pretty full, and if he was younger I might wake up and pump once for 10 minutes (I usually pump for 20+).

    On my days off I totally forget about pumping and work and just enjoy my LO. It hasn't affected my supply except when he has a growth spurt and puts a dent in the freezer stash. Then I eat oatmeal every day for a few days and throw in an extra pump session if I can. My body seems to be keeping up just fine.

    I have formula in my cupboard which I will never use. He didn't need it. It was there just in case, but we never had to use it. I know I'm very lucky. I vote to keep up the breastfeeding. "Partial weaning" isn't going to help you out all that much. If you have a shift where you don't get enough milk, supplement. Just make it one shift at a time and trust your body. And let him nurse as much as possible on your days off.

    Keep me posted! Good to have another night nurse on board.

    Stephanie
    Stephanie, mom to Jaime Hoban 11/04/07 and Annika Jayne 12/21/09


    We . . . no room in the bed for more!

    We love our cloth diapers!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Pullman, WA
    Posts
    363

    Default Re: Night Shift Nursing Blues

    One more thing: you probably won't have to pump at night on your days off. You'll have to see how it goes. If you need more milk, try pumping late at night before you go to bed.

    Also, for me, being disturbed while sleeping doesn't seem to be a big problem. You can always try letting your baby come in to you to nurse more so you don't need as much EBM. Does she nap with you? When my son will nap with me, we both sleep well and get some much needed nursie time. Worth a try. Just keep a monitor on you and give your DH the handset so he can "rescue" you as soon as she wakes up.
    Stephanie, mom to Jaime Hoban 11/04/07 and Annika Jayne 12/21/09


    We . . . no room in the bed for more!

    We love our cloth diapers!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Philadelphia,PA
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Night Shift Nursing Blues

    Thank you so much for "listening" and for the advice. I was really having a rough night when I posted. I've been off from work for three days now and I feel like DD and I are "back in business", so to speak. In fact, I need to go to sleep because we are going to a support group at our Breastfeeding Resource Center tomorrow. We are so blessed to have a BF community center that also supports baby wearing and massage that is 5 minutes from home. How could I have even considered weaning so soon??? I will just chalk it up to a wee bit of PPD/ anxiety. I know that we can do this because we have come so far. Initially, I was just trying to nurse for 6 weeks and here we are at almost 15 weeks!! Nursienurse,I am especially psyched to have found another night shift nurse

    I will take your advice and bring the monitor up to bed with us so that he can come get her. The other day, I was quite annoyed because DH left her in bed with me the entire time. She seemed content and when she wanted to nurse she patted my face or chest, but I feel that she needs more stimulation than that! Is it fair to leave her in bed with me from 10am-3pm? In his defense, he said that she slept poorly over night and needed to catch up on her sleep too. Oh well, these days are fleeting and soon she'll be rolling and crawling about so I guess we'll cross that bridge when it comes.
    Mama to Jaena Sage born 8-3-08, naturally with a midwife. She was a peanut, 6 lbs. 2 oz., but now she is already 11lbs. 8oz

    with Jaena Sage and best friend and husband,Randy. as often as she likes and wherever... while at work and as much as possible

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: Night Shift Nursing Blues

    Hi! I also work 12 hours on night shift. I work in radiology! LOL It's nice to see other night shift healthcare workers here.

    I almost exclusively pump so I might not have the best advice since you want to continue BF. But here is what I do every day, working or not. I pump at 5am, 11am, 5pm and 10pm, give or take 30 mins to an hour depending on work load or what's going on at home.

    I need my sleep, esp when working nights. This is what works the best for me, physically and emotionally, while giving my baby what is best for her.

    Good Luck! I hope you find a routine that works for you.
    Missy MooCow
    - Mom to DS 03/2003 & DD 07/2008
    - - Ex-Exclusive pumper
    - - Yeah!! Full time nurser since December!!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: Night Shift Nursing Blues

    hello all

    i also work this crazy midnight shift, as a police officer... my problem is my shift is from 10pm till 6:00am. i am working inside on desk duty for now, (post partum) and i work alone. i exclusively BF my soon to be 3 month old. at work i am not able to pump until 3am , that is when all is quiet most days. i am able to get between 3 and 4ozs in each bottle (double pump). i do not pump again after this. i BF LO when i get home around 6:30am. after this i pump once during the day when i can find time. if possible i will do two pumps at home. my question is, will this make my supply diminish. should i try to squeeze in another pump session after 3am or can i get away with trying to squeeze in 10 minutes to pump something before 3? i have been doing this for 2 weeks now. help, i really want to BF for at least one year...

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