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Back to work BF mums - is it always going to be this hard?

(14 Posts)
missmakesstuff Sun 07-Nov-10 20:13:59

Hi, just could do reassurance please, that this will get easier! I'm sorry this is so long, but thought I had better include everything.

DD is 29 weeks, EBF. I have been back at work a week, 4 days a week. I am pumping twice a day. Baby is with childminder. I am BLW wherever possible, but childminder is a little wary, so have been sending in yoghurt, porridge, with fruit for the am, and some food she can feed herself with for lunch - so she is getting some food in her, but not loads. Have told childminder to encourage the milk, and not to fret over how much food she is getting.

She has been taking some milk at the CM, but it has tailed off this week, friday was very little, maybe 2oz. Has taken water from a sippy cup, is really into having that! Won't take milk from it though.

She is feeding at 6am, then I drop her off, 9ish, 12ish and 2-3ish, then when I pick her up, at 4-5ish, for aaages...(have to feed her in the car, can't get her home as she cries as soon as she see me!) then probably another 2 times before bed at 7ish. She then is waking 9ish, 12, 3. Sometimes more.

I am exhausted, we are totalling more than 8 feeds a day, the pumping at work is difficult, as I teach, and get very short breaks - at the moment am spending them all in various empty rooms around the school with my pump! Have started getting a cracked nipple, which I never had before, and I just cant see when this will get easier! We could try to up her food intake, but we quickly have found she gets so much discomfort from pooing, am trying to take it slowly with the BLW. I dont want to risk more constipation by giving formula, and I dont want to have to give it myself when off work. (lazy!)My aim was to be able to get to xmas hols, 6 weeks time, and then have another think. Ideally would like to feed her until 1 year, partly because nothing else settles her at night, or when she is tired/teething.

I dont know what I'm asking really! But does it get easier, will she get less clingy and desparate for milk all the time she is with me? Or is it likely she will cotinue like this for a good while yet? I dont know if I have any other options, apart from giving formula - which would mean hubby could give feeds, and she may sleep more potentially? He isn't able to at the moment, as I cant pump at home too, just dont want to, plus dont want to up my supply, as might get engorged at work.

I really am unsure about how to continue in the best way for me and bubs. any advice/experiences would be great, so sorry for the length of this post! blush

MumNWLondon Sun 07-Nov-10 20:30:41

I think she needs to up her daytime milk intake otherwise you are going to be "reverse cycling".

I am still feeding DS2 (same age) 3 x a day, 7am, 6pm and 10pm. He then sleeps all night. In the day he has two bottles formula (roughly 6oz mid morning and 4-5oz in afternoon (he never finishes bottle then). He also drinks around 3oz of formula after 10pm BF. He goes in his cot awake though and would happily settle without the breast.

He has three meals a day as well - including protein at lunch. I am hoping by 8 months to cut out mid morning feed and also to drop the 10pm top up so will be only one bottle of formula by then. Also planning to BF until 1 year.

Sounds like she needs all the BFs as she isn't getting much food? Personal choice I guess I'd rather he eats more as I need my sleep.

re: constipation, I give stewed prunes/apricots in porrige in morning, and haven't give any banana or baby rice which constipated my other DC when babies.

I don't think you need to give formula but do think she needs to take in more milk in the day (whether from bottle or cup) and perhaps more food as well, esp at tea time. eg Today DS (also 29 weeks) ate: 2 scoops ready brek, 1oz milk & 1 cube apricot, 4 cubes of homemade chicken casserole (lunch), 4 cubes veggies plus rachels fruit yoghurt (tea at 5pm).

AandRMum Sun 07-Nov-10 20:36:04

Hi missmakesstuff I feel your pain! I remember when I went back to work after DD2 at around 6 months (3 days a week). She just refused to drink milk when I wasn't there. I ended up just not bothering to express. Our childminder tried her with formula but she wasn't interested in that either and in the end she just waited until I came home and had a milkfest. I think taking away the expressing part made it much easier (so depressing going to so much effort whilst at work only to find out the milk had been thrown out!) She is now a very healthy happy 2 year old and loves cows milk. I bf until she was 13 months in the end because as you said it was the easiest way to settle her at night and so lovely to have the cuddles. Other than the initial settling period, my milk adjusted surprisingly well to different feeding patterns on different days - I guess because they start to rely less on your milk and more on the food.

Good luck with it all - going back to work initially is bloody hard, so do whatever you can to make your life easier!

TruthSweet Sun 07-Nov-10 20:38:18

Re. the cracked nipple that can happen if the vacuum is up too high.

Re. BLW - try explaining it to the CM as low-salt toddler food (i.e. what ever she would give a toddler charge to eat but a low salt version).

What cups/beakers/bottles have you tried? Does she prefer to feed her self or be held to have her milk?

rubyslippers Sun 07-Nov-10 20:41:58

Yes it does get better
You have only been back a week

DD jumped on me the minute I returned home for the first 2 weeks and then she settled - she was 8 nths when I went back

Can you co-sleep?

Agree you may have a cracked nipple from pumping ... Lansinoh may help to heal it

EdgarAirbombPoe Sun 07-Nov-10 20:42:25

is there anyway you can re-arrange your hours to make this easer? use some holiday to shorten your week/day?

i dmit i went back later than this, not until 8mo when SMP ran out...but could also go home at lunch (hour and a half lunch) to feed baby. Mine took time to get used to the sucky cup - a couple of weeks, and had the milk warmed.

cleanandclothed Sun 07-Nov-10 20:45:26

I found the difference in food/milk intake between 7 months and 9 months huge - at 7 months was still mainly milk, at 9 months was mostly food. I expressed until DS was 12 months to give him milk at nursery, but actually from about 9.5 months he was happy to go 8-6 without it - so what I am saying is hang in there in a few weeks time it will hopefully be much better.

ClimberChick Sun 07-Nov-10 20:49:22

Does seem like she is reverse cycling. FWIW DD up to 7 months awoke every 2 hours. Now at 8 months, she spends half the nights waking every 2 with the other every 3, so an better end is in sight.

DD had a cup from 4 months, as she got a bit fussy on the bottle at this point.

At times it is shattering, and you hit walls more often than you'd like, but from listening to others even SAHM this is common.

It does get easier, you kinda settle in a routine, weeks 3/4 back were quite hard as this I think was when the mundane nature set in, combined with stress from work building up.

When I dropped to one pump a day at 7months was a good point.

Giving her fruit to suck on (apple, pear, orange slices) and making sure she has water should help with the constipation.

We tried filling her up with milk one night but it made no difference so I had to accept that was the kind of baby she was.

Do you have a DP? If so, make sure they do at least 50% of stuff when your in at night, i.e. you feed her and nothing else as you'll need your energy for the night. I also used to send DH to bed at 9/10 so if she woke up at 5/6 she was all his (apart from me giving a quick feed). He would also make my breakfast and pack my bag ready for work. and make my lunch. (just suddenly realising how lucky I am)

anyway you'll survive, look back and realise how much you've achieved and life will be easy as pie for ever more [wishful emoticon]

AandRMum Sun 07-Nov-10 20:53:57

Oh yes - cultivating an addiction to raisins certainly helps with the constipation!

missmakesstuff Sun 07-Nov-10 21:31:55

Thanks all. guess its just a waiting game really. Have heard of reverse cycling, was worried this was what would happen. She has never slept through, but before I went back was sleeping 5 hour stretches occasionally, and was settling without a feed sometimes. not so much now!

I cant co-sleep, she is just too wriggly, and neither her or I sleep - it used to work, but not anymore!

Will just keep going with sending in yoghurt so I know she is getting calcium etc, and keep sending the milk in, and pumping for the next week, will have another think about it then, hopefully things will settle down. At least I can freeze the milk I pump, if she will ever take it!

Am using breastflow bottles, she has been taking the milk from them fine, up until now. loves the cup, but it hasn't got her taking any more milk. She will feed herself with the bottles, seems to prefer this.

Can constipation put them off their milk? or teething? she just cut two teeth in the past week or so. But then she still wants it from me, just not the bottle.

Truthsweet - when you say vacumn too high, how would I sort this on a manual pump?

TruthSweet Sun 07-Nov-10 22:06:09

MissMS - Try not pressing the pump handle down the whole way and not too fast (i.e. short slow pumping once let down is achieved). The cracking tends to happen with lots of really vigorous pumping (which I have personally found yields less than slow'n'steady pumping).

You could try sticking a bit of blue tack or similar on the under side of the handle at the bottom so it can't be fully squeezed IYSWIM?

MumNWLondon Sun 07-Nov-10 22:07:09

re: constipation, feed her stewed apricots or plums will sort it out very quickly.

We found that the GF advice of solids after evening feed really helped with going a good stretch at night.

ClimberChick Sun 07-Nov-10 22:08:18

it can do, can make them want the comfort that BF gives, it's just food they get from BF. Also it's new place, so she could just too distracted working everything out and than at night she's buzzing from everything she's learning.

LO has got clingy and will feed just for the sake of it, but not really take any milk in. If she see it (if lying in bed) she just crawls on and sucks.

pump: you can pump slower and not all the way (i.e. only half press the lever)

missmakesstuff Tue 09-Nov-10 11:07:25

Thank you everyone, I do love MN, I feel better about this now, need to stop worrying and relax...I think I just had a bad week last week, was so fed up about going back, it just felt like I was actually starting to enjoy mat leave, and it was over so quickly!

much more positive yesterday, ate and dank everything I sent in, she was still v hungry when she saw me, and had three feeds between 4:30 and 7pm, but she did sleep a bit better, only waking 11pm, 2:30 and 4am, then till 7am...not great, but I can cope..

Have taken on some on the advice here, thanks, will be a bit more gentle when pumping, and she has had fruit and prunes in her yoghurt/porridge every day, and seems much more comfortable. Will also try giving her some solids before bed, although it hasnt seemed to make any difference before, worth a try though!

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