Returning to work - am i being naive?(14 Posts)
I am 30 weeks pregnant with my first child. I will be returning to work (uni placement and non-negotiable sadly) 4 days a week when the baby is 6 weeks. My husband will be at home with the baby during the day. I was hoping to bf for the first 6 weeks, gradually giving EBM during the day, so baby got used to the bottle. I had then hoped to pump while at work. My mum says this is all rather complicated, and that i'm being naive about expressing at work. She says baby should just have formula in the day and breastmilk at night. I don't really want this, but should we try to ff during the day? Will my supply keep up to allow bf at night? I know there is no way of knowing whether baby will take both breast and bottle, but what is the best way to encourage this? Is pumping a total nightmare? If it is ok, is it worth spending £200+ on a good pump, or should we just get a cheap one to try out? Also, will we need special bottles, ones that are more like the boob? Sorry, I know many of these questions have been answered before, but I suppose what we need is some solid advice, especially as since my mother was bf, pumps and the like have moved on somewhat. Many thanks.
I think you may find the info on kellymom.com useful. You could also phone the BF helplines (numbers here somewhere, LLL, NCT, BFN etc) and your MW can let you know about local support groups which you could attend before the birth.
I am not an expert but am currently breastfeeding a 2 month old. I've had a few issues along the way but we've got through them. From my experience I would suggest that you get lots of info about BF to prepare yourself before the birth, do lots of skin to skin- not just immediately after the birth but for days / weeks. Prepare yourself for BF to take practice for you both before it becomes easy, don't give up if you have problems but get advice and support immediately (and find out what's available now so it's to hand if/when you need it.) DOn't ignore nipple pain - if you're sore, the baby's probably not getting milk as effectively as he/she could. About expressing - learn to hand express now - you can practice getting colostrum out. Hand expressing is a very useful technique for many reasons. In the initial days your baby may be sleepy and a few drops of expressed milk/colostrum either sitting on your nipple or given by syringe or cup may be useful to get things started. (Cup feeding may be useful too, speak to your postnatal MW about that and to learn how - no risk of nipple confusion.) Once your mature milk comes in, expressing a little can help if you are engorged and the baby finds it difficult to get latched on (they can slip off when you're engorged!)
Others will be along with more ideas I'm sure. Well done though for preparing yourself. Aim for it to happen for you - why shouldn't it? - but be aware of how / where to get help if you need it.
Just to add - I've not used a pump and in the early weeks I couldn't hand express much but I can now express 1oz in less than 5 mins by hand.An electric or manual pump isn't essential to express but it may suit you.
There are other posters on here who expressed at work every day for their dc so it can be done.
I second the recommendation for KellyMom, lots of great news on pumping.
You may also like to read:
It's very common in the states so you will find lots of info out there.
You might also want to consider co-sleeping which will make night feeding easier, especially if you're working in the day and will help keep your supply up.
I also recommend getting an electric pump. Medela swing is popular but you might want a double one.
Also, your employer has a duty to provide somewhere for you to store expressed milk.
Do you have a Baby Cafe (www.thebabycafe.org)or other support group near you? They might be able to lend you a pump so you can see how it goes before splashing a load of cash. I think the choice of pump is important, so it might be best to try one out.
I was lent a really good Medala double pump at a Baby Cafe, which I think are over £200 to buy. Having that meant I knew I found pumping OK, and that my baby would take a bottle before we spent any money. We were then given a cheaper pump (a Tomee Tipee one, around £40) which I tried and hated so much I couldn't use it (it made my boobs vibrate - not pleasant). We then bought the Medala Swing single pump for about £80, trusting that the same brand would be good, and I've found that one fine.
I would also say give yourself a chance to get used to expressing before you decide whether it's practical or not. I was expressing during the first few weeks due to bad nipple pain, and found it took me ages to get much, had to look at or imagine my baby to get any flow etc. But now 3.5 months down the line, it's become much easier and faster.
It is law for you to express/have time off to breastfeed. I went back when my daughter was six months. Work were great had a place to pump and a fridge. Only regret was not getting a double pump medela swing is great though. Hope all goes well
If work/ uni placement is close enough maybe your hubby could bring baby to you when he/she is hungry, so you can breast feed. It is a legal requirement for work to give you somewhere private to express or breastfeed and facilities to store your milk. You are also entitled to breaks to express or breastfeed. You need to tell work of your intentions to continue breastfeeding and ensure they know what their legal resposibilities are.
I have never done it myself but know lots of mums who have, so it is def. possible.
I have expressed milk since it came in, to donate, so it is possible at 6 weeks. Practise expressing to see what suits you. I find the morning feed time is best and express on one side whilst feeding my baby on the other side. You will also need to express whilst at work though. Start to build up a supply in your freezer as soon as possible. Fresh milk is best for your baby (not previously frozen) but the frozen milk is a great back up to have.
Check out the breast feeding websites for info and maybe talk to a breastfeeding councillor.
Get an electric pump. You can give yourself tendonitis or carpal tunnel syndrome using a manual pump regularly.
Are you sure your uni won't help negotiate a few more weeks off with your placement? 6 weeks is so soon. Universitie departments have the capacity to be a lot more flexible than students give them credit for, though it often depends on finding someone who is willing to fight your corner.
It's perfectly possible - I went back to work fulltime when DS was 6mths and I'm still BF now he's 1. You just need to be commited and organised, have a good pump, and somewhere to store EBM at work (legally they're required to provide). I use a Medela Swing, Medela bottles for storage (much cheaper than bags), and a Medela 4 bottle cool bag for transportation. The BM you express on Monday can be used for your DC's feeds on Tuesday and so on ad infinitem.
It's also normal in some cultures for babies to sleep all day and feed all night, so if it didn't bother you too much you could switch your baby to mainly night feeds. My mother has a colleague who did this as a busy headteacher (!!!!) because she wanted the closeness with her DD.
Whatever you do DO NOT move over to formula during the day if you want to keep BF - it will mess with your supply, and you will have to keep FF during the day even on the 3 days a week you're with your baby.
Good luck! Do PM me if you have more detailed questions; happy to help.
I second the kellymom site (especially the forum). That site is very american which will work in your favour as in the USA most mums return to full time work at 6 weeks and have to express (or FF).
I went back at 6 months and managed to do exclusive breastmilk til 9 months she then had 6 formula feeds in total til 12 months when she had cow's milk at nursery and breast at home til about 15 months
It will be hard but doable if bf is working well for you. That said, formula is not poison but if you can avoid it it may make you feel happier. Just don't put so much pressure on yourself to ebf inspite of returning to work so early that you burn out totally or start to resent your DC
With regards to baby taking the bottle as well as breast, I am not an expert but wanted to give you my personal experience on it. When my ds was 4 days old I became ill and had to take steroids. I was advised to mix feed, I had been planning to exclusively bf. I found no problems with ds taking bottle and switching between this and breast, however I know people who have introduced a bottle later and have had problems, either with baby not willing to take bottle or prefering bottle to breast, so from my experience I'd say try a bottle as soon as bf is established.
Thanks so much for all of your advice, and for pointing me in the right direction. I'm definately going to give it a go, I think I'll get a heavy duty pump and try the bottle early too (thanks rockchick!). I suppose it all depends on the baby and the individual. Thanks again.
I haven't done it myself but am currently reading Hirkani's Daughters which is a collection of accounts of breastfeeding after returning to work. A lot of the stories are from the US where 6 weeks maternity leave is common. It is amazing what people have managed to do! Also, you can hire really high end pumps from Express Yourself Mums (google it) so try out different types before shelling out or else long term rental.
I went back fulltime when ds1 was 8 weeks old and left expressed milk for when I wasn't there and fed when I was at the weekends. My employers found me a private room to express in and I stored what i had managed to express in the fridge in a coolbag. I ended up doing that until he was 7 months old. I just had to be organised and remember to take the pump and storage stuff with me in the morning and to pick it all up at the end of the day.
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