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Return to work and pumping

(4 Posts)
Fiep Sat 13-Jul-19 19:28:03

Hi all,
Hoping for some advice / reassurance / experience stories.

My baby is 5.5 months and so far exclusively breastfed. I return to work mid August when she’s 6.5 months and I had planned to slowly wean her off her daytime feeds in the month before then, so that I could continue to breastfeed her at night and in the morning.

BUT now we’ve had news that a member of my DH’s immediate family has died in traumatic circumstances in Australia and we have to travel there from the UK and are staying to help arrange affairs and provide support basically right up until I return to work.

Having done the flights before (when DD was 3 and 4 months old) I know breastfeeding makes the journey a LOT more comfortable and convenient (shuts up a crying baby; no formula faff etc). But keeping up the breastfeeding would really scupper my plans to reduce my milk supply slowly.

Pumping at work is problematic for me: there isn’t a suitable private room (I know this is a legal requirement, but to be fair they can’t exactly magic a room out of nowhere) and as I work in a secure environment I can’t just leave the building (takes like ten mins to get through airlocks etc). I have an Elvie but it doesn’t really work for me - I think the shields are too big for my small nips and they don’t deliver to Australia, and we’re leaving Monday so can’t get them sent here. I also struggle to get the letdown at work as I’m dealing with pretty horrible stuff all day and oxytocin is in short supply - I tried to hand pump in the very uncomfortable toilets on a KIT day and only managed 20 ml despite being super engorged. Time can also be tricky- again I know it’s a legal thing but I just won’t be able to do my job as well if I’m worrying about pumping.

I don’t have a big oversupply (never leak, don’t get engorged day to day) but bubs does feed quite frequently still so I’m wondering what would happen if I just went back and didn’t feed her for 9 hours? (Obviously she’d get bottles from her SAHD).

So....
1) anyone have any experiences flying ultra long haul with bottles?
2) anyone have experiences going back to work and quickly reducing milk supply?
3) pumping tips?

What should I do? Switch to mix feed in Australia and deal with a potentially shitty flight back? Or keep bfing and deal with discomfort / pain / potential mastitis at work?

OP’s posts: |
BendingSpoons Sat 13-Jul-19 19:36:31

Could you switch to mix feed but do extra breastfeed on the journey home so you don't need to do too many bottles? I went back to work later (8.5 months) and continued to do one or two daytime feeds on my days off but went 10/11 hours without feeding when at work. Although I realise your baby will be having more feeds now. I think it would be hard to suddenly drop lots of feeds when returning to work but your body could probably adjust quite quickly to one or two less.

Fiep Sat 13-Jul-19 19:49:43

That’s an interesting suggestion, Spoons. When you mix feed, how responsive is supply to a change in feeding habits? I.e would my boobs be able to give extra feeds on the flight, without re-establishing a higher supply that I would then need to wean off again?

OP’s posts: |
BendingSpoons Sun 14-Jul-19 15:28:50

I'm not completely sure, but I know I didn't do the same number of feeds each day. When you are later on in the breastfeeding journey, your body seems to cope better, although not perfectly. My first couple of days at work I felt very full by the time I got home as I had missed a feed.

It's a bit complicated by the time difference as well, as day feeds would become night ones sort of!

How long is it between getting home and going to work? I'm guessing no time really from your OP.

Also, this may not be good advice but it is recommended that you don't take decongestants when feeding as they lower your supply. Personally it never affected me but could be worth looking in to.

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