Help needed- Shift-work and the boob-dependent baby

(7 Posts)

Sorry your manager isn't being more supportive sad

I would ring the HR department and ask if there is a policy around accommodating breastfeeding mothers. Also, if you're in a union see what support they can offer. I'm in Unison, and have seen them help with people in your situation (not me, but a colleague of mine).

If I was in your situation I might be tempted to ask for a break away from the ward to express every 4 hours (you're entitled to this and I believe they also need to supply a suitable private area to express and storage for your milk). They might well find it easier to keep you in days than to arrange this in the middle of the night.

Might also be worth contacting Occupational Health to speak about the amount of stress this is putting you under. Emphasize things like crying, worrying constantly etc. Ask for a Stress At Work assessment. They can direct your manager to keep you off nights for a period if they think it will stop you from going off work due to stress.

Whatever you do, don't put up and shut up! In my experience the NHS is terrible about not offering employees the support it should.

backtoworknurse Mon 22-Apr-13 20:00:19

attheendoftheday- I asked my manager last week if I could be taken off nightshifts for a few months because of breastfeeding, and the answer was no. I just kind of shrugged and said "oh well we'll have to try and sort something out with DS" and then cried all the way home. sad

If I can get colleagues to cover my nights I can do days instead. I've asked around, some of the shifts later in the year have been taken off me this way, but the problem is starting back in summer, I can't get the first few covered, and they are the problem.

We have never been able to rock him to sleep in the evening but I think eventually after lots of wriggling and crying he would probably go to sleep. When dh has tried in the past there has been lots of crying.

It's the same problem for naps- worse- at the moment he has to be held for naps- if I put him down he wakes up!

I'm hoping I'll be able to express enough and he won't need formula. I'm only working 3 days a week.

Why the need for self settling? Could your DH rock him to sleep? To save you stressing in case he never quite self settles. Likely though he'll settle faster for your DH.
I'd also speak to them about you BF your baby still.

Is formula an option for night feeds?

I'm a shift worker, I went back to work when dd1 was 10 months. We were in a similar situation to you, dd1 fed to sleep, she also co-slept with me and woke several times a night to be resettled by feeding. We tried to get her to take expressed bm from a bottle from about 4 weeks and she always refused.

I was dreading going back to work, but it really was fine. Babies are very adaptable. We discovered in the run up to my return to work that dd1 would take a bottle if I wasn't present (if I was in the house, even in a different room, she wouldn't take a bottle - when we were trying things out I used to have to go for a walk or hide in the garage). Dp found ways to settle her, at first by rocking, then by just lying with her.

Regarding the nightshifts, could you ask your shift pattern to be altered until you finish feeding. If you're NHS (like me) then there should be a policy around making reasonable adjustments for breastfeeding mothers. Wherever you work you have the right to ask for flexible working, which could be to not work nights until you finish bfing. Remember also that your workplace must allow you to either have breaks to feed during your shift (if someone can bring the baby in) or to express milk.

I'm a shift worker, I went back to work when dd1 was 10 months. We were in a similar situation to you, dd1 fed to sleep, she also co-slept with me and woke several times a night to be resettled by feeding. We tried to get her to take expressed bm from a bottle from about 4 weeks and she always refused.

I was dreading going back to work, but it really was fine. Babies are very adaptable. We discovered in the run up to my return to work that dd1 would take a bottle if I wasn't present (if I was in the house, even in a different room, she wouldn't take a bottle - when we were trying things out I used to have to go for a walk or hide in the garage). Dp found ways to settle her, at first by rocking, then by just lying with her.

Regarding the nightshifts, could you ask your shift pattern to be altered until you finish feeding. If you're NHS (like me) then there should be a policy around making reasonable adjustments for breastfeeding mothers. Wherever you work you have the right to ask for flexible working, which could be to not work nights until you finish bfing. Remember also that your workplace must allow you to either have breaks to feed during your shift (if someone can bring the baby in) or to express milk.

monstergoose Mon 22-Apr-13 17:18:02

No advice but watching with interest as I work nights and going back when dd is 6.5mo (currently 2mo) and we co-sleep and feed to (almost) sleep!

backtoworknurse Mon 22-Apr-13 16:44:39

I didn’t know whether to put this in sleeping or breast/bottle feeding so i settled for parenting.

I will be going back to work in just over two months and my DS will be 9 months old. I work a mixture of lates and early shifts, and every 6 weeks I do 2 weeks of night shifts. It’s the night shifts I’m worried about. I leave for the shift at about 8.15pm and get back at around 7.45am.

I am very upset about having to work nights so soon, and don’t think DS or me will be ready, but thats probably something for another thread.

I am the only person who can get him to sleep at night. And DH is not very confident. We’ve got two months to change that. He absolutely cannot self-settle. If we put him down awake it goes from whinging to screaming quite quickly. At the moment DS needs breastfeeding to sleep for naps and at night. He will sometimes nap in the car or pram. But at night he needs to be fed to sleep. At the moment he wakes up once in the night for a feed, sometimes twice- this is as good as its ever been sleep-wise.

The other, related problem, is we made the mistake of never really persevering with expressed milk. It seemed like too much hassle. He will drink small amounts from a bottle, or increasingly now a sippy cup (he drinks small amounts of water from sippy cup with his meals). He has taken small amounts of expressed milk at night, but he is not impressed and whinges a lot, he wants a nice cuddly breast.

We’re trying to teach him to drink from a sippy cup, but I’m wondering if, to get him to sleep, we should just try a bottle, and get some faster flow 6+ month teats. Or teach him to settle himself- but is a 9 month old too young to sleep train?

When he wakes up at night I try to rock him to sleep if its been less than about 5-6 hours since he was fed. This sometimes works if he has not been asleep long, but he usually objects and starts screaming, and wants to be fed to sleep, I’m pretty sure a lot of the time its not hunger, just comfort, because he doesn’t feed for long when he wakes up, and he has done 7 hour stretches . He has taken to solids very well and eats three meals.

How do we prepare him (and DH) for me going off and leaving him at night?
Any other shift workers share their experiences of this, and leaving your baby the first time?

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