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Breastfeeding and going back to work - your experiences please

(25 Posts)
Greedygirl Mon 28-Jul-08 22:09:48

I am going back to work in September and my DS (who will be 9 months) will be with a childminder 3 days a week. I want to continue breastfeeding. My HV says that he will adapt to having a feed before work and after plus night feeds and he will be fine on solids during the day. He has never taken a bottle so I can't send EBM but he will take sips of water from a cup.

Does this sound like you? Did it work?! Did your boobs still work?! How was the transition? I am getting quietly worked up so any experience/advice is welcome.

princessglitter Mon 28-Jul-08 22:13:26

My dd was 9 months when I returned part time. She refused expressed milk, but drank lots of water and ate more solids than usual. When I got home she fed lots to make up for it.

It was fine. I got a little uncomfortable, but just expressed at lunchtime and wore lots of nursing pads.

halogen Mon 28-Jul-08 22:15:01

My daughter was only 5 and a half months when I went back to work. She would not take a bottle, not even of EBM. She would not drink much from any kind of cup. She thought formula was disgusting. She would not even take a little water on a spoon. I breastfed her until she was 14 months and she's absolutely fine and was absolutely fine all the way through. She self-weaned. She did spend a lot of time breastfeeding at night, though, and she was always thirsty when I got home from work. Bear in mind that if your child will eat fruit and any kind of puree then he's easily getting enough liquid to cope while you are not there.

llareggub Mon 28-Jul-08 22:15:58

DS just fed around my working hours. I was full time so he fed before work, straight after and before bed. I never expressed or needed pads, and norks are fully functional still at 21 months. DS feeds more when I am around on the days when I am not working.

No discomfort either.

theyoungvisiter Mon 28-Jul-08 22:17:53

I went back at a year and it was fine - boobs were a bit full at first and I took a pump just in case, but they soon adapted. Am still feeding a year on - didn't notice any supply issues.

My DS has never taken a bottle either btw - I think it's easier that way, in some ways, they have no choice but to keep plugging away with the boob.

BTW if your supply does drop at all, be prepared for your DS to compensate with more night feeds (gah)

Greedygirl Mon 28-Jul-08 22:19:34

This is really good to hear - thank you for sharing! I guess I am getting worked up in general about going back and the feeding has become the focus of my anxieties. He does tend to feed to sleep during the day - not something I have consciously done, just a pattern we have fallen into since he began having solids. Do you think it would be a good idea to try and get him out of this habit or I am worrying about nothing? Did/do any of you feed your LOs to sleep?

shreddies Mon 28-Jul-08 22:19:41

I should think he'll be fine with solids and water and re your supply, I feed DS before and after work and have had no problems at all, he feeds a bit more on my days off and it all seems to adjust.

Greedygirl Mon 28-Jul-08 22:20:53

theyoungvisiter - yes I have been warned about the night feeds! I think I am going to operate of policy of going to bed at the same time as him on work nights!

shreddies Mon 28-Jul-08 22:21:51

Yes I did, and tbh he found it very hard to settle at his childminders. I tried to settle him without breast feeding for six weeks or so before going back to work. I wasn't very successful, but would still try if I were ever in that situation again.

Greedygirl Mon 28-Jul-08 22:25:53

Oh dear, I hoped if I wasn't around then he wouldn't be bothered. It is a shame isn't it because I enjoy that time with him but I will have a think about varying his sleep routine.

theyoungvisiter Mon 28-Jul-08 22:26:29

I always fed my DS to sleep (and in fact still do often) but he settled fine at the nursery. They have all sorts of tricks and they do know when bm is available and when it's not.

theyoungvisiter Mon 28-Jul-08 22:28:11

btw I think I wouldn't try to settle him without a feed - well, it depends on your child, but I think in DS's case the knowledge that he could get it from me was unrelated to his ability to go to sleep without a feed, and any attempt by me to withdraw feeding seemed to only increase his anxiety.

He is quite capable of going down without a feed, but only when I am not around.

Greedygirl Mon 28-Jul-08 22:39:11

Yes iswym. I just hate to think of him being distressed at his CMs and thinking I could have done something to prevent it. Mind you, he will fall asleep in the car or his pushchair. Or his bouncy chair which he is MILES too big for - I can't give that to the CM, she will think I am a terrible mother!

theyoungvisiter Mon 28-Jul-08 22:46:36

well, you can look at it two ways - either you can try to get him used to going down without a feed and he will probably be distressed becuase you are refusing him a feed, but it will be with you there at least.

Or you can send him off to the childminder in teh knowledge that he will have to adapt to a different routine, but that he is secure in the knowledge that you love him and your milk will always be there for him whenever you are.

I think there are positives to both approaches - but for me it was more important that DS felt I would never withold something he loves so much, and I felt that it woudl be so different for him going down on a mat in a room of other children that going without a feed would be just part of the general change and easier to cope with than the idea that I would arbitrarily (as it woudl seem to him) stop letting him feed to sleep one day, just as he was getting ready for a big change.

Either way he will still probably be distressed at going to the cm, there are always tears at first, it's just part of the settlign in.

ja9 Mon 28-Jul-08 22:48:16

I went back when dd was 5 1/2 months. I continued to feed her morning andevening myself. For the first month of nursery i sent her with two bottles - one for 11 am and one for about 3pm. The 11am one dropped after a month and weaning was established. The 3pm bottle continued until she was 1yo and down to morning and night feeds only.

I worked hard to get her to take a bottle. I found temperature to be the key thing - she would drink the bottle if it was hot rather than just warm.

I only work part time and expressed on my days off (not usually on my work days). Boobs coped fine - found them to be very easy going about the whole thing!

good luck!

Mikafan Tue 29-Jul-08 10:07:36

I went back when DD was 6 months old and expressed at work 3/4 times a day and she had that milk in a bottle when I was at work and she fed from me first thing in the morning. I kept this up until a month ago, she's now 15 months old.

Greedygirl Tue 29-Jul-08 12:48:10

Thanks JA9 and Mikafan, it is good to know that your boobs and your LOs just get on with it! TBH if Adam was younger think I would try a bottle again as you did but now I have started with a cup think it would feel like going backwards but I think I'll maybe try and send some EBM in a cup and try some different temps too and see how that goes.

Theyoungvisiter - no, we can't have any tears ever! Only joking, I know it might be upsetting (for me more than him) the first couple of times he goes. He is such a content happy soul but I think at least some of that is down to the fact that he loves the boob and has had free access to it up until now. But I am sure he will adapt to the changes as all your LOs did.

Thanks again smile

theyoungvisiter Tue 29-Jul-08 13:41:46

not wanting to alarm you - but it was at least 6 weeks until my DS settled reliably every time!

But I think the younger they go, the faster they settle so you may be more lucky.

(sorry - not trying to scare you but I think it's better to be prepared - I was really upset that DS was taking "so long" to settle and it was only talking to friends I found out that's a pretty standard length of time for a 1 yo)

Greedygirl Tue 29-Jul-08 19:57:59

That must have been horrible. The CM did say that she preferred to get them earlier than a year because of this. Fingers crossed but best to be prepared (gulp!).

anonymama Tue 29-Jul-08 20:10:02

I went back FT when DS was 6mths. I was away from him from 0800-1530, and did a feed before I left, one on arriving back, one at bedtime, and 2 during the night. The rest of the time he had beakers of water and I had started weaning at 20 weeks, so he was on a wide range of purées by then. Sadly, I think I felt the pressure to wean so early because I was going back to work, and I remember spending lots of my "babymoon" period - when I should have been enjoying my baby - angsting over what would happen in X weeks time.

My advice to you would be - not to worry now. It will all work itself out. Your LO will be eating enough food and taking enough liquid by 9mths to cope without you for 6/7 hours. You may end up reinstating a couple of night feeds for a few months, but it will all be fine.

So relax and enjoy the last couple of months of your maternity leave.

Greedygirl Tue 29-Jul-08 20:17:02

Thank you anonymama, I will try my hardest smile! I would have been exactly the same if I had gone back sooner.

mamadoc Tue 29-Jul-08 23:09:53

I also went back at 9mo and DD had never had a bottle and was bf to sleep.
Just like anonymama I did a lot of worrying which was completely unnecessary as it was all just fine.
DD by that time could drink from a cup and had EBM 11am and 3pm in her cup and I fed her am. pm and once or twice in the night.
I never expressed at work as I just could never get any let down there but I only once had any leakage when I missed a morning feed. I fed her on my days off as before and never had any supply problem.
My childminder was really great about the naps. DD would also go to sleep in the car or pushchair just never on her own so initially the childminder rocked her in the pushchair and then sort of gradually reduced that and now she just pops her in the cot (doesn't work for me though!)
Please, please don't worry as you can never really know what will happen. If you have a good childminder they will have seen it all before. At first DD cried bitterly when I left her AND when I came back but it gradually got better and now (16mo) she holds her arms out to go to them, loves playing with other children and gives me a really sweet hug when I pick her up.

Greedygirl Wed 30-Jul-08 14:16:29

Thanks mamadoc that is really reassuring! I wonder why they cry when you return? I had this once when I had left him at his Grandma's for a couple of hours. I was most peturbed but decided he was pleased to see me (I like to rearrange events to suit myself!).

Raspberryjam Wed 27-Aug-08 14:49:42

Hi Greedygirl,

I like you have been worrying about my now 8 and a half month old daughter going to a nursery for 3 days at the end of September.

She is still breastfed and has solids 3 times a day. She won't take a bottle and was refusing formula from a cup.

Over the bank holiday weekend my husband took her out in the pram and gave her some milk midmorning from a Tommee Tippee cup. She only took a few sips. I have been giving her a cup of water or very dilute apple juice from a Doidy cup ( which has sloped sides and has no lid) after lunch and dinner which she can drink a little from.

Today she managed about 40 mls formula midmorning when I took her out in the pram and seemed to quite like the taste and I also mix in formula to her cereal in the morning.

Saturday I got her down to 3 breast feeds and yesterday and today first thing in morning and before bed. Seems ok so far with little engorgement and milk still present. Just made sure to get her to take from both breasts during a feed.

I also give dairy/cheese/sauces/petit filous during the day when she only has juice and water, so I think she had enough calcium and protein that way.

I think I will try to keep going with 2 breastfeeds a day when I am back at work, but will just have to see.

Plan would be breastfeed, breakfast cereal mixed with formula, formula from a cup midmorning, lunch with water/juice, formula from a cup afternoon, dinner with water/juice, breastfeed before bed

I hope some of this helps and I am sure it is easier to get the childminder to give formula than from you!!!

Raspberryjam Wed 27-Aug-08 14:57:45

Dear Greedygirl,

Meant to add to last post, my DD wouldn't take EBM or formula from a bottle or cup initially, only water, which was just a case of perservering with the formula in the cup.

Her naps during day and night time sleep so far have been unaffected with fewer breast feeds.

How are you getting on now?

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