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Thread: working nightshift and need sleep...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    Default working nightshift and need sleep...

    i just returned to work, i usually do 3 12 hour night shifts (7p-7a), but i am only doing 8 hours for the first 2 weeks (11p-7a). my son is 11 weeks old and he nurses well, i am concerned about keeping up with supply for bottles while at work. i am getting between 5 - 6 oz each time i pump, but my husband says he will eat up to 8 oz when he gets up. so far i have been able to nurse him to sleep around 9:30, then i leave for work at 10 pm. he gets up around 3 and eats 8 oz, then he is up at 6, i get home at 7:30, my husband tries to have him hold off so i can nurse, but db really gets upset. he always has nursed again when i get home (and then all day). my concerns are this:

    1. will i have enough pumped when i go back to 12 hour shifts? he usually nurses almost constantly during daytime (every 1-2 hours) if he is taking 8 oz at a time and he wants to eat every hour or 2, that is alot to try to pump

    2 my husband tried today to let me sleep a little and give him another bottle, it was 4pm, he ate 8 oz, then was still hungry, so he woke me up, he nursed for about 30 minutes (aggresively) then fell asleep, he was up again by 5:30 starving. will i ever be able to pump enough not just for work, but so i can sleep a few hours? as of now, we co-sleep, and i just keep him in bed he can somewhat self latch, so that works well

    i was never concerned about supply before because i always seem to have enough, pumping is my problem.

    3 when i pump, it is about 5 -6 oz, but it comes out in about 8 minutes, then i get nothing, if i hand express, there is still milk coming out, but not from the pump. i work in a hospital, so i have access to a medela hospital grade pump (there is an employee pumping room) i have no problem with letdown ( i am usually leaking before i even start to pump) i have been pumping at least 2 times per 8 hour shift, is that enough? we haven't ran into milk supply issues yet, but what if he wakes up more at night? and i don't have enough for him to eat so i can sleep during day. any other nightshift working/pumping moms with advice?
    thanks for any help, amy

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    Default Re: working nightshift and need sleep...

    update to earlier post...
    i had to leave work early last night. as usual, i nursed ds to sleep at 9:30 pm, and left for work. my husband called me at 2am, not only had ds gone thru the 3 6oz bottles i had pumped and in fridge, dh was now thawing out my last frozen 5 oz of precious liquid gold. so i packed up and went home. got home and nursed all night (as usual). instead of just nursing, i pumped on side while nursing on the other. instead of the 2 - 2.5 oz (per side) i normally got, i only was getting around .5 - 1 oz. now i am worried about my supply. i never had issues with it in past, always had enough to nurse all day and night now i have not enough for him for me to work. staying home is out of the question. i carry all medical benefits for my family and i am the primary income. help...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    Default Re: working nightshift and need sleep...

    I really think you need to try to work more pumping sessions into your night. Try to pump at least every 2 hours.

    You are in a tough situation -- as you know, milk supply depends solely on supply and demand. Take away the demand and the supply will dwindle. If you're needing to sleep during the day and you aren't pumping or nursing then you are taking the demand away and your supply will dwindle.

    Would it be possible for your husband to bring baby into you every two hours during the day to nurse with the exception of one 4 hour period (maybe he could feed baby a bottle during that time)? I'm not sure how often your baby eats. Perhaps if you can get him to tank up more during the day, he'll eat less at night. Theoretically speaking, that is.

    Remember, there's light at the end of the tunnel. As your baby grows older, he'll hopefully begin to sleep longer periods (no guarantees though) so you won't have to use the milk you pump at work for the night time feedings.

    Another thought is that it's quite possible that your husband is overfeeding the baby. This isn't from an approved LLL source but it's got good information, including a link to a milk calculator -- http://www.kellymom.com/bf/pumping/bottle-feeding.html

    Finally, is it at all possible for you to change shifts, even if it's temporary? Right now you aren't getting much time with baby at all and that has got to be tough on both of you!

    Hope this helps!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    Default Re: working nightshift and need sleep...

    Hi Amy -

    Have you seen LLL Dawn's reply in this thread?

    She mentions in it a great resource, a paper written by International Board Certified Lactation Consultant Dee Kassing (whom I am lucky to count among my friends as she is also a La Leche League Leader in my area) about her "Kassing's Bottle-Feeding Protocol." She describes a way to feed a breastfed baby a bottle that REINFORCES the right techniques needed to breastfeed successfully, and she also points out ways to avoid the overfeeding that happens often when babies are fed bottles. Typically a baby of this age still has a lot of sucking needs. Often they will drain a bottle because they so desire to suck (and because milk drips out of a bottle with little or no effort on the baby's part). By holding baby upright and bottle at a 90 degree angle, the baby has to work a bit more to take milk from the bottle, which both reinforces technique for breastfeeding, and also can minimize the chance baby is taking more milk than he/she needs.

    I'd be interested to hear if after reading that article you think it might work for your family.

    Otherwise, trying to do more frequent, but shorter pumping sessions at work might be helpful. Research has shown more frequent pumping sessions send a better signal to your body about baby's demand.

    Lastly, some moms find that hand expressing is more productive for them in terms of output. If you find that to be the case, more power to you! You may find that alternating between hand expression and double electric pumping might be a happy medium.

    I'd be interested to hear from any other nightshift moms. I have not worked with many over the years, so I'd be interested in what other tricks of the trade they may have. Is there any chance of networking with other pumping nightshift mothers at your place of employment? My little sister (not so little, mother of 2 and turning 30 this year!) has started a mothers support group at her employer after finding none existed. While not all mothers are pumping, she said many are and it's been a great source of support for her.

    Best wishes,
    Karen Smith
    LLL Leader, IL

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