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Anyone else working and fully breastfeeding ?

(52 Posts)
mothernature1 Thu 05-Feb-04 21:00:48

Just wondered if anyone else wants to chat about the joys of breastfeeding and working. My ds1 is 7 mths and still having all his bfeeds with 2 small meals a day.Dh very good and non complaining about the lack of room for his own food in the freezer !
Am really pleased with myself as a lot more relaxed this time around.Oh well-off to watch the celebrity daily update !

hercules Thu 05-Feb-04 21:03:40

I am going back to work when dd will be 51/2 months at the end of March and intend to bf fully. Still trying to get dd to take expressed bm in a bottle though. Any tips gratefully received.

Evita Thu 05-Feb-04 21:07:37

Hi mothernature1, I went back to work when dd was 7 months old and still fully b/f. But I only worked 2 days a week. We had a bit of a nightmare as dd wouldn't take a bottle, even with expressed breast milk in it. So dp (who looked after her when I was at work) used to bring her in for a feed at lunchtime and she sort of had to get by then til I got home.

How's it going for you?

squirmyworm Thu 05-Feb-04 21:36:59

me too hercules - stay in touch and let me know if you find anything that works!

cazzybabs Thu 05-Feb-04 22:14:32

Not nay more, but fully bf dd until she was 6 months. Had to go back to work at 3 months and dd wouln't drink from a bottle. I would feed her before going to work, at lunchtime and then as soon as I could leave work. She wouuld sleep the rest of the time at nursery and then go to bed very late. Erghh it was a nightmare - still come home from nursery and staight away she wants a quick top up, although now she is drinking more cows milk. But I feel really proud all she had was breastmilk till she was 1 yr old.

motherinferior Thu 05-Feb-04 22:26:40

There are quite a few threads on this, particularly starring the wonderful Pidge. I work four days a week - based from home but dd2 is out of the house - and she's breastfed, and was exclusively breastfed for her first six months too. I express twice a day usually, and also have a massive freezer-drawer worth.

mothernature1 Thu 05-Feb-04 22:36:26

Hercules,its hard work but really worth it.Try not being around when your dd has a bottle of ebm, so bf is exclusively associated with you alone. Also dont panic if dd wont take a bottle. There are several other options.My dd 2 was cup fed breast milk from birth.I can tell you more if you contact me.ds had a trainer beaker from 3 months but will only take ebm when really ready for a feed.

Marina Fri 06-Feb-04 09:25:11

DD was six months old yesterday, I have been back at work for five weeks full-time, and she is still only taking breastmilk (and solids for the past four weeks).
Hercules, you might have to let her go "cold turkey" once with her caregiver. Dd took EBM from a soft spout bottle once she was at nursery, but never reliably before. She now has 9oz during the day and big feeds morning, evening and sometimes during the night. Like Mothernature's little one, she'll only take the cup if really thirsty or hungry. Otherwise she'll hang on for mum.
Like others on here, I do feel a sense of achievement that we are keeping it going until she is at least a year old. I'm a very reluctant returner and miss her like mad (makes expressing at work easier though )
Good luck Squirmy and Hercules, it can be done. Be prepared to shop around for teats/spouts is all I can say...

hercules Fri 06-Feb-04 09:35:29

Thanks for all the advice and points.
Squirmyworm - DD did take 1 oz a few days ago from a playtex teat which were recommended to me for bf babies. I'm not very keen on them though as you cant sterilise them! However, now she just plays with it.
Mothernature1- thanks. I have tried a spouter cup and took the valve thing out but didnt seem to work either.
I think part of the problem is me as I really dont want to go back to work even though I am lucky as DH will be looking after her as he works nights. I need to be more determined about the whole thing and will probably need to go cold turkey like Marina said. Trouble is dh is a softie and i know wont want to see her crying for long. He's already said about bringing her to work but wont be ideal as i only get short breaks and work in a school. I dont think she can go from 7.45 to 12.40 with nothing.

Evita Fri 06-Feb-04 12:43:08

You may be surprised - she probably could go from 7.40 - 12.40 at her age. My dd coped much better than I'd thought she would. Especially if you get her used to having some cereal with milk in it and having a little cup or bottle or beaker she likes with even just water in it so she can at least wet her throat etc.

Are you going to be working full time? Won't your dh be very tired if he's working nights?

It will be hard at first - I used to get v. upset and worried as the time drew nearer for me to go back to work, but it really does get easier and they do cope better than you expect.

Good luck!!

elliott Fri 06-Feb-04 21:07:57

Can I ask how easily you all found it to express? I am getting very frustrated at how useless I seem to be - and its getting worse! ds2 is now nearly 10 weeks and I've been expressing for about 4 weeks - just to give him an occasional bottle so he's used to it, and also to try and get myself able to express. At first I really thought I was going to crack it this time, as I could just about manage 4oz in one (long) session if I did it first thing in the morning. Now I can't manage more than 2oz - and this takes me about half an hour! I've tried an electric pump but didn't find it as good as the Avent. What am I doing wrong? I can usually manage to get a let down (but its a bit hit and miss) and this will give me about an ounce, then the rest feels like I'm just squeezing little dribbles out and it takes forever!
I'm planning to start working a day a week after Easter. I know this is still a way off and he'll be a different baby by then, probably on solids, but at this rate it'll take all week to get one feed in the freezer! Should I just give up and give him formula when I'm away??
I guess I'm just feeling a bit fed up as in other respects bf feels much easier this time round - and I really thought if I just practiced and persevered I would manage to express as well!

mears Fri 06-Feb-04 23:08:53

Elliot - some times it can be a case of trying too hard. Any woman who is breastfeeding can express - if the baby can get it out then so can you It is confidence that is required.
Keep switching from side to side as you feel the let down. When you express on one side, you let down on the other. There is no point expressing for a long time on one breast - you save time by continually switching. Aim for 2 oz a day - you will have stocked loads by Easter. As you get more confident you will get more milk. Have a relaxing drink (even alcoholic) before you start. Make sure the room is warm and you are relaxed. Massage your breast by rolling your fist from the top down towards the nipple before you start. Work your way all around.
I used to express whenever I felt a bit full - don't worry if the baby suddenly looks for a feed just after expressing - you will still have plenty left in the breast. You can do it

hercules Sat 07-Feb-04 09:11:15

Evita - thanks for your message. Yes dh will be tired hence why I am applying to finish work at 2.20 so I can pick up dd from him and then collect ds from school. He will then get to sleep and start work usually at 10 pm. I am hoping my school will let me finish work at 12.3o from sept so he can sleep properly. no choice as childcare here is so expensive and one of us would be working for barely nothing
DD did take one ounce yesterday using a playtex teat though I think this was accident due to playing with the teat rather than actual drinking.
My pump is in the steamer as I type ready to try again.
It is good to hear it is possible but seems unfair on dd but we cant manage without my wage.
Elliot - when i first started to express it took 40 minutes to get one ounce using avent. I can now get between 2-4 oz in 20 minutes. Speaking to other friends (real life ones that is) it took them perserverance and they can now easily get 8oz. Agree with all that mears said. It helps to be warm and relaxed. What about trying after a bath or shower. SOmeone told me using epsom salts in a warm wet cloth and massaging your breasts helps, though not sure why the epsom salts.

prufrock Sat 07-Feb-04 09:16:46

Elliot don't know if this will work for you but I always used to express after a feed - dd v. rarely emptied both breasts and I found I could usually get a good 4 oz fairly quickly from the breast she had had second (terrible grammar but YKWIM)

elliott Sat 07-Feb-04 17:12:15

Thanks for your tips everyone. I guess I just have to go with what I can manage - little and often. Problem is I'm snatching moments when I can manage to and its not always the optimum time - nor do I often take the time to get relaxed, just tend to whack on the pump and hope for the best

Evita Sun 08-Feb-04 21:37:55

hercules, I know. Childcare is horrendously expensive. We've had exactly the same problem.

Marina Mon 09-Feb-04 09:00:11

Elliott, there are some good tips here, many of which have already helped me. You're right to say the pressure will be off you to some extend when your ds2 starts solids, because you can use formula to mix them if you wish (I find EBM just goes peculiar with anything rice or potato based).
You may also find, as I did, that expressing at work, where you basically can't fret on any level about the baby waking up and wanting more - or being disturbed by your older child! works better. I was only getting squirts at a time at home but once at work I found it much easier. HTH

Pidge Mon 09-Feb-04 09:39:19

I wish I'd known about mumsnet when I was contemplating my return to work knowing that I wanted to continue breastfeeding. I didn't know anyone else who has done this. I was in such a panic about it and it would have helped so much to hear other people's experiences. Anyway, many people here are proof that it can be done. I returned to work 3 days a week when my dd was 5 1/2 months and did the whole pumping in lunchbreaks routine. I was very lucky that I did not have a busy job and had loads of time to get myself sorted out. Expressing was really hard work to start with, I would get so stressed out about counting the ounces. But after a few weeks when I relaxed it did get easier. Mears is so right that it's about confidence. Just try not to panic when the milk won't flow. Often I found it was best to give up and try again a couple of hours later. Also - switching sides is a great tip and not at all obvious because it's the opposite of what you do when feeding.

My dd is now 18 months and I'm still breastfeeding her. I stopped expressing at work at 14 months, but could probably have stopped well before then. My freezer supply is gone, so she does now get a small bottle of cows milk in the afternoon on her 3 days at nursery, just because she seems to enjoy it. I feed her morning and evening and usually in the afternoon on the days I'm home.

I'm so pleased I managed to do this. And although it's a hassle on work days, it's so much easier not to have to do bottles on days off and when you're on holiday.

I'm now facing the next challenge - I want to keep feeding my dd until she weans herself naturally, but have just taken on a project at work which will involve at least one and a half hours travel each way on my three days. So I may only see dd for 20 minutes in the morning and evening. Am hoping we can just about fit in those feeds, but will have to see what happens.

mothernature1 Mon 09-Feb-04 23:29:27

Pidge it was so reasurring to read your thread.My ds is 7 months old and i am working 2 days a week but will go up to three when hes 9 months old.It was lovely to hear that you still carried on morning and evening feeds.I hope in a years time i will be able to say the same thing !

Evita Tue 10-Feb-04 20:55:05

mothernature1, dd is now 16 months and has been happily having just 2 feeds a day now for quite a while. It does work!

elliott Sun 15-Feb-04 22:11:02

its me again Just another moan - this changing sides thing, I try it but it doesn't seem to work - if I get a good let down on one side, I'll pump until the squirting stops (which is only a few minutes and will yield about an ounce if I'm lucky), then swap over to the other side, and....nothing! Is there a problem with technique or does it just not work for me?
Resigned to trying to build up my stocks in two ounce installments....
At least I don't have to fret about pumping too close to a feed - there's always stacks left since I get so little out using the pump!!

mears Sun 15-Feb-04 23:11:33

I always had more milk out of one side than the other. If you find you don't get anything pumping the second side, switch back to the first because you will have let down again. Keep going from side to side. Do you leak from one side when feeding/pumping from the other? If you put a sterilised breastshell in your bra you can collect that milk too. All the 1-2 oz will soon build up into a vast collection before you go back to work. Expressing once you start missing feeds at work will be easier then you just replace used stock. Try not to get too worked up about it. You will manage

elliott Wed 18-Feb-04 21:18:40

thanks for your encouragement, mears. The swapping sides technique is working a bit better for me at the moment and I am keeping in mind your goal of 2oz per day - because I know this is acheivable it does help me feel better about it!

maras Thu 19-Feb-04 16:22:27

Elliot - I have had to return to work quite early with all 3 of my children and have successfully b/fed. I also had problems getting a let-down expressing to build up a store but I found that what worked for me was to feed baby on one breast to get the let down and express from the other at the same time. Milk flowed easily and you don't waste "down time" when baby is asleep! I had a battery/mains pump, but as long as it's one you only need one hand for you should be able to manage! It does take a bit of working out where and how you're going to balance/put things...the last thing you want to do is to spill the precious nectar!! Surprisingly baby didn't seem too distracted by stange buzzing in her ear!
I could usually get 4-5 oz this way, whereas if I tried to do it "on my own" it would take ages to get 1-2oz.
Also when expressing at work in the early stages when I was getting really full it wasn't a problem expressing, but later on when supply and demand evened out I sometimes found it hard to let-down even if I was quite full. I know the general school of thought is to look at photos of your baby etc and to think of her feeding - but it didn't work for me! What did was to completely forget about what I was doing and look at a magazine/newspaper/read a book and hey presto suddenly I'd feel that tingling and my bag would be full!! Just goes to show we're all different!!
Anyway do try to persevere - my youngest is now 14 months is still breast fed morning and evening and a couple of times in the day when I'm home. I'm so pleased I never had to give her formula. She now has some cows milk from a cup when I'm not around. I only work 2 days a week, which makes things easier, but they are long days - usually 12 hours. I think I probably stopped expressing at about 10 months and recently was away for 24 hours and didn't even get too full - neither did it affect my supply - so it does all get much easier. The first couple of months back at work are probably the hardest so if you can get over that the rest is much easier. A supply in the freezer will certainly take the pressure off you.
Also although it all seems a huge faff (the third time round I really had in my head that it wasn't worth the effort and I'd just give formula when I was away) when the time came I just got on with it and somehow felt I could only justify being away at work if it didn't jeopodise her best interests of getting breast milk only. I would literally class my day at work as being good or bad in relation to the amount of milk I brought home!! A variation on "bringing home the bacon" I guess!!! Very strange!!
Anyway good luck - it sounds as you're doing really well so far - your determination will pay off!

clanger Sun 22-Feb-04 15:34:29

I have just started expressing as I'm going back to work in 6 weeks time. All the tips have been very helpful (especially to keep changing sides) and I managed to get 1oz this morning quite quickly which I never managed with ds1. Ds2 will be 7 months when I go back to work but hasn't yet started solids - will do so when he's 6 months - so may only be on 2 meals when he starts at nursery. How much milk will he need at 7 months? He feeds a lot at night (!!!) so hopefully he won't need so much in the day but my nursery will want enough in the freezer in case he gets hungry (which is fair enough). I vaguely remember ds1 had three bottles at that stage of about 8 oz which would mean expressing 48 oz a week which I just don't think I could do.

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