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Can I work four days a week and continue breast feeding without expressing

(24 Posts)
Liveinthepresent Thu 29-Sep-11 21:21:55

Hi - posted this in back to work - someone suggested I may get some more advice here -

Advice / reassurance needed from someone with experience.
Going back to work 4 full days in 2 weeks time.
DD will be six months old and is exclusively breast fed.
She will be at nursery 3 days and with DH the other day.
Originally had intended to stop BF at 6 months - didnt really understand how strongly I would feel that I want to continue. smile
Am not able to commit to regular pumping at work - know the legal rights bit - but am often out on client site and cant face the attention it would attract where I work. I can express first thing in the morning every day. (Have been doing this for a while so have a freezer 'stash')
Have read lots of helpful stuff on here and had a few encouraging friends say I should be able to feed morning / bedtime / dreamfeed and my body will cope with the missed feeds without my supply drying up.
Am I being incredibly naive to think that my body can adjust to this (and possibly still do all feeds on days off)
Find I do get very uncomfortable when I miss feeds - would I just have to cope with that or would it get better?
Sorry long post and too many questions - starting to get a bit stressed that I might need a bit of a plan - especially as need to start thinking about weaning asap too.
Thanks for help in advance

maybunny Thu 29-Sep-11 21:46:16

Well in my experience bfing after 6 months is a totally different experience to the first 6 months in general. I found (and I obv can't say you will too) that I no longer have engorgement after missing a feed, leaking, a need for breast pads or sleep bras. It has been a totally different experience as DD got older!

I also got very ill recently and dr told me to stop bfing for a day or two to sleep and when I asked about supply, she said it would have no effect at all. This is obv different to doing it one day every week, but one day out of seven isn't a huge amount.

In order to deal with any uncomfortableness could you perhaps express at lunchtime?

redandyellowandpinkandgreen Thu 29-Sep-11 21:50:40

I think it depends on a lot of factors so no-one can say yes or no. I do it but my baby is a bit bigger, he was 9 months when he started nursery. He has formula at nursery as I basically can't be fagged with expressing. I feed him morning and evening. On my non working days he feeds about four times a day and my supply seems to be unaffected, it just works somehow. My boobs don't get full or uncomfortable either but I had cut down to feeding morning and evening and just once in the day before going back to work.

I don't need to express at work. If you were uncomfortable you could just express a small amount and it would probably relieve it.

I sent him off to nursery having never really taken a bottle before, first day he took nothing, second day he got wise and took the bottle fine! They are adaptable little things really. Good luck.

MiraNova Thu 29-Sep-11 22:37:10

I did this with each of my 3 DC - bf morning and evening only, when I returned to work, and it was all straightforward - the supply just adjusted to the changed demand..

Liveinthepresent Thu 29-Sep-11 22:40:13

Thanks so much for the replies - anyone have any idea how likely it is I will encounter 'reverse cycling' ?(baby feeding in the night to make up for feeds when I am not around) - will need to psyche myslef up for coping with this if its very likely!

Apart from that its great to have reassurance it is doable - albeit everyones experience is a bit different.

DD is fine with bottled EBM but not had formula yet..

lonesomeBiscuit Fri 30-Sep-11 20:39:45

I've just started back at work (also 4 days) and so far it's been fine (only 2 weeks in though).

I was also worried about reverse cycling but so far LO (10 months old) has a huge feed at 8am in the morning before going to nursery, then another HUGE feed 11 hours later when I get back from work, and one feed in the night. I find he is so tired by nursery that he actually sleeps better than before - except when suffering from the inevitable nursery colds.

He doesn't take any solid food either in the day, might play with one or two mouthfuls but that's it, so he's pretty much going 11 hours between feeds in the day, though he will happily drink water. He seems happy though, he's definitely keen for milk when he sees me but not desperate and if I peep through the window before going in, he's happily playing with toys. On my days off, he feeds more frequently.

I haven't suffered from engorgement, my experience similar to that of the other posters.

RubyrooUK Fri 30-Sep-11 21:22:58

I work full time and my son has gone to nursery since 9 months old (I know your baby is slightly younger) and never taken bottles. I never expressed and I still breastfeed morning/evening and night and he is 13 months now.

My supply seems fine. If he is sick and I'm home feeding him during the day, my boobs ache a little when I'm back at work, but nothing dramatic.

Honestly, yes, he still drinks a lot at night. But I think that is to do with his individual needs (can't go more than 3hrs without food, day or night, the git!) and because even though he now likes nursery, he definitely misses me and it helps us feel close. As he eats more and more at day, I don't think it's true reverse cycling. He does like to feed all night when he's teething though.

So I would think you would maybe be a little uncomfortable at first but it will quickly settle down and your baby will get your supply up again the next day if it dips.

Good luck.

RubyrooUK Fri 30-Sep-11 21:26:16

Oh, by the way, he drinks water during the day from a cup as he hates bottles and isn't interested in formula or even cow's milk. And that plus dairy in food + breastfeeds has always been fine for him.

rubyslippers Fri 30-Sep-11 21:29:31

I worked FT and breast fed and actually I still do and DD is coming up for 2 years old

My supply was fine - DD did leap on me the minute I used to walk through the door and feed a lot through until bedtime

I also kept a dream feed until she was 11 months and I think that helped my supply

She never reverse cycled. But I night weaned her at 6.5 months so that may be why

Your DD will probably feed more when you are around - so weekends etc

Good luck

RubyrooUK Fri 30-Sep-11 23:51:20

I need rubyslippers to come round my house and tell me about this night weaning business. grin

My DS also jumps on me as soon as I get in the door but would then just like to stay physically attached till I leave again. smile

rubyslippers Sat 01-Oct-11 07:42:32

Am happy to tell you about nght weaning - took 2 weeks but worked

Am up of my eyeballs with party stuff today but will post at some point

fraktious Sat 01-Oct-11 08:06:53

Marking place for night weaning. I'm not sure whether DS has reverse cycled or is thirsty from the aircon.

OP I find that I do get uncomfortable at work and if I'm doing a very long day I need to pump and dump (keep a hand pump in my bag!) or just hand express off the worst. I do express properly when I cone in from work for DS to have bottled EBM when I'm gone.

roundthehouses Sat 01-Oct-11 08:14:05

i went back when ds was 4mo and expressed until he was 6mo. I stopped expressing a month ago and dh gives him 2 bottles of formula while i am away although now i will be home slightly earlier we will reduce that to 1 at midday only.

ds does reverse cycle. I am not sure how much is really feeding and how much is comfort but before i went back he slept beautifully, waking maybe once at 4am. TBH it has just got worse and worse since I went back and I can´t even keep count of the times he wakes in the night now. It is a bit of a nightmare but I don´t want to night wean as he is still little and if he is doing it because he misses me well, that seems fair enough to me. It IS gutting because he was such a good sleeper and we are more sleep deprived now at 7mo than we were with a newborn!

as for engorgement, i don´t find it too bad. on a monday after feeding more at the weekend I can be a bit uncomfortable come 5pm and it was definitely more noticeable at first but you can either express a little and chuck just to relieve or just bear it for a few days and your body will soon adjust. It isn´t so uncomfy that it would have any bearing on my continuing to bf or not.

Weekends I find confusing. i am still mostly bfing but sometimes it seems like he has become too lazy to wait for let down so if I am not quite full with a fast let down he gets frustrated so we have occasionally given a bottle at midday at the weekend too.

its all worth it to me and i accept that i could give up bf and it would be easier but accepting it is an active choice makes it easier.

Liveinthepresent Sat 01-Oct-11 17:06:54

It is great to hear so many others have done this successfully - as Redand.. said a number of posts back they are adaptable and so I guess we will find a way that works for us.

I think DD seems to definitely want to spend more time latched on in the evenings when we have had time apart - am more than happy with that as of course I miss her too smile - but I have been very spoilt with her not waking in the night for such a long time I think I would struggle with being sleep deprived at work.
roundthehouses - I really like your attitude - as you say its your choice - I will just have to wait and see.

Thanks to those pointing out expressing for comfort here and there isnt really a big deal - I am sure I can do that if needs be - though it would be easier if there were such a thing as a silent pump (does anyone have one?)!

A further question - If I wanted to bypass giving formula when my EBM supplies run low - how would I go about doing this?
Like Rubyroo's experience - but as my baby is quite a bit younger and not yet started on solids - am I just over complicating it to aim for this?
Suspect I will have to wait and see how we both adapt.

Thanks everyone I am a posting novice - have lurked for the answers to many of my PFB related questions so far - am finding this really helpful!

Bufster Sat 01-Oct-11 18:13:41

I kept bf-ing as well when I went back to work (when my dd was 6 months). I would feed morning and evening and sometimes once during the night and my dd would have two formula bottles during the day.

I started dropping the day feeds a couple of weeks before going back to work (one feed at a time) to allow my supply to settle into the new pattern slowly. I also gave formula during the day in weekends to avoid increasing my supply again. This approach might be worth considering?

Bufster Sat 01-Oct-11 18:16:34

I also wanted to say that I thought it was well worth it to continue. BF-ing is a lovely thing to do when you haven't seen your dc all day. My dd has just stopped bf-ing (at 10 months) and I am sad and will definitely miss it.

RubyrooUK Sat 01-Oct-11 20:35:24

Agree with bufster - well worth continuing. I was so scared before I went back to work that the incredibly close relationship my son and I shared would be damaged by working full-time. And the breastfeeding definitely helped him feel that I could still give him that special "mum" comfort even as he got happier being looked after by other people for daytime stretches.

Plus, as he has got older and goes to nursery/clubs/activities more, he endlessly gets sick. Breastfeeding has been amazing for this. Twice he has refused solids and water for 8 days and only had breastmilk. It has meant that even though he has often been quite ill, dehydration has not been an issue.

WayThroughTheWoods Sat 01-Oct-11 23:27:28

Hello, well done for getting this far. I went back to work in July when DD was six months old. I work 3-4 days a week and am away from her up to 9 hours at a time in the day. I dropped to feeding her once when I wake up at 6 and after her tea at 5 or before she goes to bed. It works really well, and I love having a feed with her to reconnect when I have been away for her all day. it feels really natrual and body has adjusted really well. Obviously the change co incided with her starting to have solid meals, and she also drinks water in the day. We're doing really well in the way of feeding, and she still loves it. Really good luck with return to work.

LarryAdler Sun 02-Oct-11 19:39:15

Am also marking place for night weaning advice!

Liveinthepresent Sun 02-Oct-11 20:11:54

thanks - Am so glad I am barking up the right tree with this.. I would be so upset to stop now - I am already having separation anxiety!
My Mum visited over the weekend and was remarkably supportive of my plan..
she knew nothing about BF when I had DD - think she is a convert smile

This may be a dim question - DD feeds usually 6 times a day - if I am only doing 3 - should I assume I will need to ask nursery to give formula when my EBM runs out - or will the solids and water crank up quickly??
I know its different for everyone but would be good to know what I am aiming for.

rubyroo - hadnt thought about bf helping with the nursery bugs - thats great! DD already had rotovirus (sp?) and thats just from settling in (assuming it came from there!!)

roundthe houses - I am I think experiencing the impatience with letdown - mainly on one side - she pushes me away and tugs at my nipple (ouch.. ) hope that wont get too much worse - it hurts! .

rubyslippers Tue 04-Oct-11 06:03:15

night weaning

Tis is what I did to wean DD

Basically, the last feed of the night is done before bath time so a feed is not associated with going to bed

So, biiiig feed before bath, then into PJs and story and lots of cuddles

If baby is below one year, give a biiig dream feed at around 10 pm.

Then, an this is where the fun starts, you begin to reduce the time of each and every night feed by one minute every other night

My DD was feeding 3 hourly so after her dream feed, she would wake at 1, 4 and then 7 ish.

7 am was treated as wake up time, so not affected by the reduction

So, at 1 am, I began on night one by feeding her for 10 mons as this was about the length of time each feed took. So work out what length of feed to start with

Night 2 9 mins, night 3 9 mins, night 4 8 mins, night and so on until I got to 2 mins and then stopped

I did this with the feed at 4 am too

She weaned within 2 weeks at ngith

I stopped the dream feed at 11 months in the same way

I literally had a stop watch in the room with me and when time was up, it was up. DD adjusted really well and we only had one night of upset, where I stayed with her

lonesomeBiscuit Tue 04-Oct-11 11:06:05

OP, will you be doing the pick-ups from nursery? A word of warning if so. My DH normally does the pick-ups. He offers DS a drink of water on the way home, then tea when they get back (most of which is refused) and DS waits for milk till I get home around 7pm.

Knowing this, I hadn't anticipated that DS's reaction towards me would be very different when I did the nursery pick up one day last week - he screamed hysterically as soon as I put him in the pushchair because he wanted milk AT ONCE and was sobbing desperately at the thought that I wasn't going to feed him. I had to literally run across the road to the nearest park to feed him - and of course I hadn't thought about this when dressing for work, so was wearing a tight-fitting blouse that I had to almost completely unbutton (but of course none of that matters when one has a screaming baby).

So, if you are doing the pick ups, it is worth getting there early so you can feed inside the nursery before they close, and bringing a cardigan / similar for modesty in case you have to feed on the way home.

RubyrooUK Tue 04-Oct-11 22:00:10

Thanks rubyslippers.

Sorry for diverting this thread into night weaning, OP. Whoops. I'm off to try some of these tactics. Might report back if I have any success/total failure.

Liveinthepresent Wed 05-Oct-11 08:57:17

Thanks Biscuit - We will be mixing and matching on pick up - so thats a really good tip.. Sorry but I did chuckle at your scenario!

Good luck to the night weaners!

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