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Milk supply and part-time return to work?

(5 Posts)
SatelliteCity Sat 08-Apr-17 20:45:42

DD is 20 weeks old, and mostly breastfed (she gets a top up at night that is usually expressed milk, but is sometimes formula). I return to work in 7 weeks. I will be working three consecutive days. I know that I'm legally entitled to pump at work but for various reasons, I think arranging that may be logistically difficult and interpersonally stressful, so I'm trying to get an idea of how things might go if I don't pump at work.

Currently she more-or-less sleeps through the night. She'll occasionally wake for a night feed but she usually goes 9:30pm until 6:00 am without eating and has done so since she was 11 weeks old.

If I end up not feeding her between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm three days, before returning to a normal feeding schedule for the next four days, would that even work?

I'm worried my supply will drop over the three days I'm at work, leaving her to work at increasing it over the days I'm home, only to get it back up by the time I'm back at work again... But I have no idea how quickly milk supply will drop/increase.

Ultimately I may just have to accept that we'll be moving to evenly mixed formula/bf feeding in general, but I'd appreciate some idea about how quickly that will happen and how big a drop in supply I'll experience...?

Writerwannabe83 Sun 09-Apr-17 22:00:56

I returned to work when my DS was 10 months old and my shifts meant I was out the house for 14 hours.

I would breast feed DS before I left for work (at about 6am) and then couldn't breast feed him again until 6am the following day.

When I first returned to work I was having to express 2-3 times a day whilst at work because otherwise my breasts just swelled up, started leaking and were extremely painful. I would also then have to express again before bed once I came home which was usually at about 9.30pm.

As the weeks passed though and my body started to adapt to periods of being away from DS I didn't have to express as much, I found I could go 6 hours between having to express and I was soon able to cut out the expressing before bed too.

I would say that after 2 months or so my body had adapted in such a way that I could easily go the 24 hours in between feeds without having to express.

However, bear in mind my DS was a year old at this point, having three meals a day and snacks etc so my milk production wouldn't have been in such high demand as yours will be due to the age of your daughter when you return.

On the days I was home with DS he would breast feed as normal and I never got the impression there was a problem with my supply.

My work were very accommodating when I first returned to work and they never put me to work two days in a row because I was concerned that having 48 hours away from breast feeding would be agony for me and would affect my supply. When I'd been back about 3 months and everything had settled in terms of feeding and expressing I told my Managers that split shifts were no longer necessary and although this meant I could be away from DS for 48 hours there was never any problem with my supply - the milk was always there when he wanted it.

I continued to breast feed until DS was about 2.5 years old so returning to work definitely doesn't have to mean the end of breast feeding.

Just be realistic and accept that expressing probably cannot be avoided in the first few weeks/months but things will settle down. Just keep an open mind about how easy/difficult it will be and try not to get too stressed by it.

Life always has a way or turning out as it should do so just go with the flow and see what happens flowers

PlectrumElectrum Sun 09-Apr-17 22:26:43

I returned when my DD was 8.5 mths & didn't have long shifts like writer. I managed to still feed DD 3 times a day - 1st thing when I got up, a feed when we got home & then a dream feed just before I went to bed at night. She went to a child minder in the 3 days I worked & had I think1 bottle of formula along with other foods as she was on solids by then. I never could express & apart from a couple of awkward moments being asked about DD where I leaked just thinking about her blushmy body adapted really quickly & easily to the new set up.

I had all sorts of doom & gloom advice before I returned to work about how I couldn't continue to feed & my supply would dry up but it worked really well & we didn't stop til DD was 15 mths. I'm sure you'll both adapt, mainly cos you have to!

SatelliteCity Wed 12-Apr-17 14:48:22

Thank you both - heartening to hear positive stories - especially of adapting to some days "on" and some "off".

UndersecretaryofWhimsy Wed 12-Apr-17 14:55:22

It's definitely possible, especially since baby will be 6mo by the time you return. I went back to work 3 days a week at 8mpp with an ebf baby who wasn't yet eating many solids. I expressed once a day for a while but mostly my boobs just adapted. I continued to feed on demand on other days. With a 6mo you might find you get rather full and uncomfortable if you don't express for that long at first, and you might want to watch for blocked ducts. A 6mo might well also choose to wait for you to come home and then feed more overnight rather than taking a bottle. But keeping up breastfeeding is more than doable.

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