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Breastfeeding 1yr+ and Shift Work - any experience? Can I make it work?

(10 Posts)
MrsKitty Mon 15-Nov-10 22:27:19

DD is 14 months old & breastfed. I started back at work, full time, last week and begin proper shift working on Thursday.

When I start my shifts I'll be doing a mixture of 8 and 12 hour shifts, of 6:00 - 14:00, 14:00-22:00 and 22:00-06:00 with 12 hour shifts of 6-6 on weekends.

She's currently having around 3 feeds a day (morning, bedtime and overnight), she will often have more than one overnight, or have an extra feed in the afternoon if she fancies it.

How can I make this work with shift working? Can I make it work?

I'd rather not express as I work in quite a male dominated environment, and also a time-critical (real-time) environment and would feel a bit uncomfortable with it - it would also be hard to manage on particularly busy shifts. If it turns out I need to, I will though.

I'm just worried that because there will be no real consistency that my supply will disappear or that she will wean earlier than she would like. (She loves her feeds - everytime I pick up a cushion she thinks she's in for a feed and bounces over to me grin).

Will my supply be able to adjust to irregular feeding patterns? I'm particularly concerned about late shifts, as I'll miss her bedtime feed for 2 evenings, then be around for 2, then be back on late shift for 4 evenings...

Night shifts I work 3, then 2 off, then 7 in a row...I'm rather hoping this'll work in our favour though and get her finally sleeping through if there's no milk about!

Sorry this has turned a bit rambly - I'm insanely tired, but this has been playing on my mind for a while now so I wanted to post.

I weaned DS at 12 months before I went back to work, but DD seems so much more reliant on it and enjoys it so much that I'd like to carry on for as long as she wants to.

Thanks for any advice - Off to bed now, but will return in the morning smile.

lowrib Tue 16-Nov-10 01:27:47

I really don't know, but I can say that I went back to work for full days, 3 days a week and fed DS when I was at home- so I was DS went 7.30 to 7 at the very least without milk. I didn't express, and I've had no problems with supply.

HTH, and someone who know something a bit more relevant comes along soon.

I wonder if www.kellymom.com has anything on this - it's a great website on BF.

RobynLou Tue 16-Nov-10 01:35:47

I went back to work when DD was 9m, irregular shifts at antisocial hours, I've never had to express or use formula, and I still occasionally feed her now, she was 3 in August and DC2 is due in Jan.

By this stage your supply is so well established it won't dwindle due to irregular feeding patterns, and your DD will surprise you with how flexible she is about when she feeds.

from 16m my DD went to stay for 2 days and a night with my parents every so often, and even this didn't effect things - when I'm around she asks for 'mum mums' when I'm not she doesn't, she'll go for 'fridge milk'

just go with the flow, feed when she asks for it and your body will adapt just fine.

RobynLou Tue 16-Nov-10 01:37:25

Oh and up until 8m the only way my DD ever got to sleep was by feeding - every nap and every night, but When I left DH to it they were fine, I expected it to be a nightmare, but it was ridiculously easy.

MrsKitty Tue 16-Nov-10 07:10:07

Thanks RobynLou & Lowrib. With regards sleep, although a feed won't always get her to sleep, she's never gone to bed without one, so we'll have to see how that works out... In fact her sleeping is atrocious (she just won't), but that's another thread entirely smile.

Particularly heartened to hear that you're still having occasional feeds now, Robyn.

MumNWLondon Tue 16-Nov-10 12:02:21

At that age I don't think the timings of the feeds matter, more that the quantity demanded per 24 hours is broadly similar.

thell Tue 16-Nov-10 12:16:49

Hello - I didn't go back to work, but just wanted to reassure you that my dd fed increasingly erratically as a toddler and it didn't affect my supply at all. By 12 months it's so established it takes ages to dwindle again. She didn't completely stop until after 3 - I always had milk, even when she didn't feed for a few days at a time.

jaggythistle Tue 16-Nov-10 14:05:10

Hi, I'm doing this just now and it seems to work ok!

i don't do night shifts so can't advise on that unfortunately.

my DS is 13 and a bit months and I've been back at work since he was about 6 months. i did have to express, but was able to avoid doing it at work by the time he was about 10 months.

i am too lazy to express unless i have to. when i am leaving for a 6am shift i just get him out of his cot and feed him in his sleep.

for late shifts he has either ebm or warm cow's milk (depending on laziness) with dh before bed. he settles ok, sometimes takes a bit longer than when i feed him at bedtime but he's usually asleep when i get in. i then feed him in his sleep again. he has slept through after just cow's milk though, a couple of times he looked so comfy i just left him to sleep.

sometimes he has another feed in the middle of the day before/after my shift.

he has always seemed ok with the randomness of sometimes me feeding him and sometimes milk from a bottle/cup from dad. (mostly cup now)

jaggythistle Tue 16-Nov-10 14:35:43

sorry, that turned into a bit of a ramble. blush

MrsKitty Tue 16-Nov-10 21:55:06

Thanks for all your input, everyone - I'm so relieved to hear so many positive stories. I'm particularly reassured by you, jaggythistle, and don't worry - I'm partial to a bit of rambling myself wink.

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