Want to continue bf when returning to work, but cant express, what are my options?(31 Posts)
I am soon to return to work when my ds will be 7 months old. He will be ebf until 6 months, which he is next week. My original plan was the start solids and formula at 6 months, but to keep morning and night bfs. So as of next week i would need to start introducing some formula during the day to get him used to it and into the routine that we will be following (food/milk wise) when i return to work the following month. I have five weeks to do this.
I am led to believe that my supply will adjust to just feed morning and night. The thing is, now it has come to it, i am feeling so sad that i wont be bf him through the day anymore. Especially as my last month of maternity leave is when i will be stopping, it sounds silly but i feel like im starting to separate from him in this way ahead of leaving him to return to work, and i feel so sad.
The question is, would it be possible for me to bf during the day on my days off (initally will be off the weekend, plus two days in the week until he is one). Would my supply adjust to this or drop too much because of the three days a week that im not nursing during the day?
It is definately not an option for me to pump during work hours (i know it is a legal right but it is to do with the culture of my workplace). Also, i get a very poor yield from expressing
I've read somewhere (can't remember where! Not helpful I know) that this is sometimes possible. Maybe Kellymom or the LLL Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. I'll see if I can find a link. IIRC I think you may need to prepare for your DS wanting to feed more at night.
My 10 month old DD has suddenly picked up all the daytime feeds she had gradually dropped as she's unwell and doesn't want to eat food. There seems to be loads of milk so maybe supply isn't as fragile post 6 months?
I went to see a breastfeeding counsellor yesterday with this exact dilemma! Except my ds will be 9.5 months when I go back in 6 weeks.
I will be working 3 days - long hours 7.30 to 6.
I said I wanted to hopefully still bf on the days I am home with him. She seemed to think this was entirely possible. She said I could try and reduce afternoon and mid morning feeds over the summer, but didn't have to.
She said supply will even out and at this age your supply is more 'sorted' so not feeding in the day on days you the working would not affect supply in other days too much.
I plan to feed in morning and on picking ds up from childminder
and all through the night on days I'm working. Then on demand including during day on days I am home.
Hope that helps!
Also I won't be able to practically express at work (teacher) - she said my boobs would get used to it but it might help to just hand express a bit at lunchtime the ease the massive boobs!
At 8 months, I could leave my DS during the day (I worked 9-4) and only feed overnight. Both he and boobs were fine (we carried on feeding until he was 2.9 - the feeds slowly reduced). He just drank water or juice during the day. I didn't have any supply problems at all.
I could never pump any sensible amount either. I think by this point everything's so settled that you can get away with a lot.
This Kellymom article seems to agree. (Look at last section).
I had the exact same problem, by 7 months DS was persuaded to drop the two daytime feeds as he well on solids. He was fine during the day with water. I carried on bf in the morning and evening until he was 13 months old.
This is great news! I'm thinking ahead& have the same dilemma so it's v encouraging to read! Thanks OPs
This is great news! I'm thinking ahead& have the same dilemma so it's v encouraging to read! Thanks OPs
Thank you all so much, had some great advice and information that i can use to form a new plan!
Can i just ask, has anyone offered formula on the days they are at work rather than just juice/water/yoghurts etc? As i think ds will be too young for me not to leave any formula and will just about be on three meals a day by the time i go back so it will be too drastic not to give any milk during the day. Also does anyone know the total amount of milk theyvare supposed to have a day (whether it be breast or formula or both). Thanks all again
Hi, I went back to work full time (45 hour week) when dd was 5 months and am still breast feeding her four months later. I did a mix of going home at lunch and expressing for first month, then for last 3 months I just bf her in morning, when I get home and a couple of times in night (she goes to bed about 7:30pm but usually wakes and comes into my bed about 1-2am. My supply is amazing strong I was surprised! I've even had a weekend away with friends - dd takes formula - the ready to use stuff - of course during the week days then I bf her a bit more at weekends. She also has about 3 purées per day and drinks water so gets plenty of fluid. Good luck!
Ps The formula carton says at 6 months they should be on 600ml per day of milk but dd probably has 200ml formula either as a drink or mixed with pureees, 100ml water and three to four breast feeds, as well as the 3 fruit or veg purees or baby porridge.
But I'm sure there are experts on here who know what is medically recommended...
returned to work at 6mo. Never used formula nor expressed. They had solids and water during the day and big cachup sessions once a was home (after 4pm). For the first month I skipped solids during the weekends so they could fill themselves up on bf.
Beware that they will catchup also withnighttime sessions for extra cuddles ;-)
I went back 2 days per week at 9 months. I expressed at lunchtime in the toilet for my own comfort for about 20 minutes on my work days and then bf as normal on demand on my days off. I would have got engorged I think and v uncomfortable with no expressing but if you find thins a problem you can take a small hand pump to the toilet and just take a bit from each side to relieve the pressure. You wouldn't need to sterilise bottles or spend ages in there, or even take the milk home. I found an out of the way disabled toilet that was never used which was a godsend, so no one asked questions. I did find my supply became more and more adaptable as the months went on, by 15 months I'd given up expressing although I was out for 12 hours and still feeding loads on demand on my days off -and all through the night-- I think it can work but I'd personally want a pump with me to start with. I fitted the medela mini hand pump into a tiny make up bag so it wasn't a big deal. It's quiet too, if you have to use more audible loo stalls than I did
Thank you all for sharing your experiences and offering some fantastic advice! Im glad to hear it is possible to carry on.
I wish i had an option of somewhere i can express, but im in the sort of work environment where everyone knows everything and its not the culture to take set breaks (or any breaks sometimes)or to even leave the premises for lunch breaks so i would find it awkward and stressful to pump regularly. I also will be working long days leaving not long after 7 and getting home around 6 so will need to fit feeds around this. Some of your efforts to carry on bf around work are really commendable!! I plan to see how it goes, hope i can be as successful!
You might be pleasantly surprised with your work - if people take smoke breaks or tea breaks, an expressing break isn't really any different (and healthier!) and may not take very long, I know I used to pump a feed in about 15 minutes while reading emails on my phone. Might be worthwhile asking your manager if there's an office you could use or something once a day rather than just assuming that they won't let you.
But yes, as everyone else above said, your supply does adjust, particularly once baby is older. My DS1 dropped his expressed bottle in creche when he was about a year (hurrah, no more pumping) but still often had that feed "from the tap" at weekends.
Hi Leedy, thanks i do hope i am able to continue around work.
My work would definately be fine with me pumping and would find me somewhere etc, thats not really the problem...but i work with about 99% male workforce, think haulage firm or something. I would find it embarrassing to ask for somewhere and embarrassing that people would know where im going and im sure there would be a bit of banter about it, even if not to my face. I would just feel very uncomfortable. Added to this, i just cant get much from expressing. Only one breast will let down to the pump so i usually pump for half an hour and get 2 ounces total and even some of this i really have to eek out. If i could express reasonable anounts quite easily, perhaps id be more willing to give it a go..
Like some PPs mentioned hand expressing can be very handy for relieving any pressure. After I stopped expressing at work (10m?) I'd just pop to the loo and express onto tissue for a couple of mins to make myself more comfortable. I found expressing pointless as my milk doesn't keep so stopped as soon as I comfortably could. I only worked 2 days but supply adjusted fine when DD guzzled on my non work days.
Heh, my work is very blokey too and if anyone knew anything about where I nipped off too, they didn't say anything. I used to just disappear after lunch. Suspect I would have just said SCARY WOMAN THINGS if they'd asked...
I don't express at work on the two full days I do per week. They're a bit shorter usually than your days, but after a couple of weeks or so I found my supply settled down and I didn't seem to be getting as engorged on those days.
That might also be due to DS waking up a bit earlier for a mammoth morning feedathon . Don't forget to pack a good supply of breast pads!
I went back when LO was 10 mo and I did nothing to prepare my boobs/LO for the change and I never expressed at work (lack of time / felt a bit weird / & like you my yield with the pump was so poor i did not see the point!).
I worked 3 days pw until he was one and now work a 4 day week. Boobs adjusted really well!!! I feed on demand on my days off and when i am at home.
LO adjusted well too. He would not take formula or cows milk from the childminder whether offered in a bottle or sippy cup so after a month we stopped offering. He makes up for it when he sees me and eats 3 meals + 2 snacks in my absence. He drinks water and juice with her, although he will barely touch water when I am around!
Good luck. MY LO turned 14 mo this week and we are still bf. it is a lovely way to reconnect after a day in the office.
I went back at 7 months on a 3 day week and expressed in work for a couple of weeks. But it was just too inconvenient and I ended up instead leaving a 250ml carton of ready mixed formula each day with whoever was looking after her and they split it in 2 or 3 drinks over the day. I bf'd in the morning before I left, as soon as I got home, bedtime and then once over night. My supply didn't seem to be affected and I could do the feeds during the day just fine when I wasn't at work. Finally stopped feeding when she was 1 ish
Hi OP you have had lots of good support already so just wanted to add another big yes this is possible - I worked a 4 day week from when DD turned 6 months - I fed morning and night on work days - and through out the day on my three days off. I did express in the mornings throughout and she had ebm from a bottle at nursery for several months.
Continued like this until about 14months and really loved it.
Like you I dreaded preparing for the end of maternity leave - so in the end I did nothing to prepare and just hoped for the best.
I did used to feel engorged / uncomfortable some days but it wasn't major and a small price to pay for the special cuddles when I returned from work.
Chose not to express at work as quite enjoyed my adult work non mummy mode too on my work days.
HTH and good luck - I would never have known this was possible without Mumsnet .
Oh afterthought - I didn't experience any night waking for milk - which was a relief as I was tired enough after work.
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