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Any breast feeding nurses out there?

(16 Posts)
Writerwannabe83 Mon 01-Dec-14 20:48:34

DS is 8 months old, has been EBF until being weaned and his has about four BFs a day amongst his solids.

I'm due to go back to work in 8 weeks and I am panicking about how working long shifts (I will be out the house for 14 hours) will affect my breast feeding as for 3 days a week I won't see DS at all as he'll be asleep when I leave and asleep when I get back.

I'm worried that I'm going to have to give up BF altogether and do it soon in order to ensure my supply has dried up in preparation for going back to work. My shifts mean that for 2 days a week I will have to go 24+ hours without BFing DS and I just can't see how it's manageable.

Are there any nurse out there who can advise or reassure me?

Thank you smile

AliMonkey Mon 01-Dec-14 20:59:50

Not a nurse but did go back to work 3dpw when mine were 6 months old and out of house for 11-12 hours. Did manage to get in one quick BF first thing in the morning but not always back for one in evening for DD (DS still woke at night for one). I expressed in my lunch hour. Then fed as normal on the four days I wasn't working. Doing that I managed to keep up the BF for another 8 months for both (supplemented with a bit of formula once the expressing became impossible due to work pressure meaning no lunch hour). I was amazed that on the other 4 days I was able to continue feeding as normal. So hopefully you can keep up the BF even if you have to supplement. If you can get a stock of BF in freezer before you go back that will help as well in case you don't always get time to express. If equally if you don't manage it then you've still done well to keep going this far.

weebairn Tue 02-Dec-14 09:06:16

I went back to work at 10 months doing similar shifts as a hospital doc.

There are three issues here really - adequate milk for baby, comfort for you, and your supply.

I was still feeding at night at that time (usually one feed around 3am), so if I was working a long shift and the evening one got missed, I trusted she would just take more at night.
In the early weeks I could be quite uncomfortable after a long shift and I would feed baby when I got home - just lift her out her cot, feed her in her sleep and put her back - that seemed to work and didn't wake her.
So I felt assured she had adequate milk. She also had more feeds on my days off. You can look at it as the total number of feeds over the week rather than on a particular day, especially if they are getting calories through solids. My baby was a good eater though, and a couple of months older than your little one.

Comfort for you - this is variable - I didn't find it too bad after the first couple of weeks. I wore my biggest bra with breast pads, dark clothes etc. (You're probably in uniform) I dreaded having to express at work but it didn't get that bad, for me. After a couple of weeks I was wearing my normal bras again. But like I said I had that night feed which sorted it out.

Supply should be bombproof at this point. Don't worry about it. If you want to give formula on your work days that should be fine too.

I never gave formula and I never expressed. Both my boobs and my baby were considerably more adaptable than I expected. After I night weaned at 14 months I just loved breastfeeding and continued for many more happy months and I am so glad I pushed on through with the return to work, which I was also very very anxious about. Hope that's reassuring - it was my experience anyway.

happypotamus Wed 03-Dec-14 10:12:55

I posted this same question just over 3yrs ago. The replies were not very helpful or reassuring, but it did work out ok for us and I continued to feed DD until she was 2.8. I used to feed her while she was still asleep before I went out in the morning and she often woke just as I got home at night for the first few weeks. She wasn't very impressed with formula during the day but she managed. Somehow DH even managed bedtime when she had previously been fed to sleep. On my thread people said I would have express. They weren't nurses so didn't understand that there wouldn't be time for that in a job where there isn't always time to eat or go to the toilet. I'd never succeeded in expressing anyway, so I didn't express at all and it wasn't too uncomfortable.
Good luck with returning to work

Pusspuss1 Wed 03-Dec-14 21:02:42

Why not just pick him up for a dream feed before you leave and when you get home? Will he do that? Mine would if necessary, he doesn't need to be properly awake to feed!

Writerwannabe83 Thu 04-Dec-14 09:16:58

I've never dream fed him but it's worth considering. I'd happily do it in the morning before leaving for work but I'm not sure I would risk waking him at night by doing it confused

I'm thinking it might be easier just to stop BFing. I'm having a lot of issues with it at the moment and the fact I'm going back to work seems to be another reason to stop.

Pusspuss1 Thu 04-Dec-14 19:08:32

Honestly, you'd be amazed - try it once in the evening! They're so knackered at that time of night that they sleep right through it! Don't beat yourself up if you've had enough of BF though. You've done brilliantly to get to 8 months, which is a lot longer than most people.

Trinpy Fri 05-Dec-14 17:34:35

writer I think we may be the same person grin.

I also have an 8 month old bf ds and will be returning to work as a nurse 3 days a week. I was actually coming on to start a similar thread when I saw you'd beat me to it!

Anyway thanks for posting this because I feel a bit less panicky now I've read everyones replies. Most of my colleagues ff or only bf to 6 months so I don't know how supportive they would be of me running off to express during the day ( and when is there time???). I'm going to dream feed on one side and express off the other before I go to work and hopefully I'll last. I completely understand why you might want to stop bf altogether though.

It's hard knowing you won't be able to see your baby all day, isn't it? sad

Writerwannabe83 Fri 05-Dec-14 17:51:03

I've decided to just carry on BF'ing and take my pump with me. I've got the documents that are there to support breast feeding mothers return to the workplace and they say that by law employers must allow BF mothers time out to express.

I'm lucky that I work on an infants ward (0-2 year old) and there is a BF room just outside the unit so it's probably easier for me to go it. I can't imagine where I would go if that wasn't there!

I'm doing 32.5 hours over three days and I'm dreading not being able to see DS, it's going to be horrible. I'm worried that it's all going to cause d huge upheaval for DS and I'm concerned how he will adapt to it.

Trinpy Fri 05-Dec-14 19:25:26

Yeah that's what I'm worried about too - it's such a big change to go from them being with you 24/7 to not seeing you all day. However I know plenty of my colleagues have gone back to doing long days after mat leave and their babies were fine.

When are you going back?

Writerwannabe83 Fri 05-Dec-14 19:39:55

19th January smile

The ward I'm going to is actually a 'new job' although I worked there 3 years ago. My current job is in the community (9-5 four days a week)
and my employers wouldn't let me reduce my hours so I resigned. Although my new job means I won't see DS at all for two days a week it means that overall I will see much more of him. I'm really looking forward to going back into clinical work but definitely dreading having days where I won't see DS. Thankfully I've found a really nice childminder who accommodates shifts and she will be having him two days a week smile

Trinpy Fri 05-Dec-14 21:44:21

ah you're going back a bit before me then. I'm due back first week of Feb. If you are able to, could you let me know how it works out for you when you're back at work please?

Your new job sounds great smile. I work on a surgical ward but every winter we take on some of the overflow of medical patients. So I'm expecting it to be very very busy by the time I go back, really don't want to be expressing multiple times a shift too!

Writerwannabe83 Fri 05-Dec-14 21:50:13

Well my first two weeks are normal 7hr days as I have a week if induction and a week of training so my first 'real week of working as a nurse' is the first week of February too!!! grin

We'll have to swap our horror stories of engorged boobs tearing apart our seams whilst we walk round in aprons all day to hide the patches of leaked milk across our chest grin

NotQuiteCockney Fri 05-Dec-14 21:50:56

I was puzzled by the thread title, and thought 'but "breastfeeding nurse" isn't a thing - there aren't nurses who specialise in breastfeeding?'. Silly me!

Right. So, in the early days, if you regularly go 12+ hours without breastfeeding, your supply is likely to dry up. But later on, it can continue ok.

Things that will help:
- a dreamfeed is worth a go, as others have suggested
- expressing, when you get a chance. Before work, after work, on a break
- feed as often as you can when you're home.

It's possible your child may start waking more, because that's when they see you. If you let them fill their boots in the night, that will help keep your supply up.

DanaBarrett Fri 05-Dec-14 21:56:39

I'm no super mum, just doing my best but I work full time now and I tandem feed a 2yo and a 4yo. I went back to work very quickly with my first and less so with my second, who was around 8m. Tbh your supply is way less fragile than you think, mines survived nights away and all sorts now.

With my second, I rarely expressed and I did leave formula for when I wasn't there, but even when I get home after bed time or late in the evening she'll have a suckle and a snuggle. And always has. Be aware of reverse cycling, we now co sleep to counteract that one!

Other than that it expressed for comfort during the day, lots of breast pads lol, and big bras. Going back to work doesn't have to be the end, and if you use a bit of formula at this stags, well, is really that different from a yogurt or a piece of cheese? A lot of women do find lo rejects formula and just waits for mum anyway smile my oldest did xxx

Trinpy Fri 05-Dec-14 23:50:07

haha yeah I'll look forward to that writer! luckily shapeless nhs uniforms hide everything!

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