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BF/short ML and going back to work - your thoughts and advice.

(8 Posts)
flyingcloud Tue 01-Sep-09 17:30:40

Not sure if I should post this in the Living Overseas section or here.

Before I go further I know very little about how it all works apart from what I've read on this thread and what my mother/mil did (their experience and advice differs wildly from what's on here, but I'm not saying they're right!)

I am pregnant and I would like to breastfeed. I live in France (recently moved) where ML is minimum six weeks post birth and the usual is between 8 and 12 weeks. I plan on going back part time at about six weeks (working from home) and full-time between 8 and 12. Full-time involves a bit of travel (five days a month overseas and three days a week driving up to five hours for work).

None of my friends/acquaintances in France (apart from MIL) have breastfed. Mostly they said it didn't interest them OR two have said their supply cut out after three/four weeks and they were advised to switch to formula.

Does anyone have any experience of working in France and bf? When I discussed with my gynaecologist I said that I wanted to bf for 8 weeks until I went back to work FT but as I have no idea how it works I'm not sure how I will organise my life around it after that, he said fine 8 weeks will be enough and then you can switch to formula (he is also an obstetrician and has pediatric experience and is very highly thought of in the area).

Everything I read here says that BF requires (and I'm not complaining but I thought in light of what I've written already you might understand my dilemma!) constant care and full-time attention, whereas FF allows for more of a routine. I just wonder if I am setting myself up for failure in trying to achieve this during my short ML.

Will I be able to start expressing at 8 weeks and carry on like that?

OK - I know I am a little unclear, but if you have any advice or experience on how it all works (and how I will succeed considering the prevailing attitudes) then I would be hugely grateful.

Thanks so much.

flyingcloud Tue 01-Sep-09 18:37:57


Iggi999 Tue 01-Sep-09 19:22:04

Wow, ML is soo short in France, that will be hard for you I imagine. I can see why breast-feeding isn't popular, if you are expected to work again so soon!
I used to express one feed a day while at work, if you have lots of milk you might be able to do more but it sounds really tough. Your body would adapt (after the ML) to doing a morning and night breast-feed, and formula the rest of the day. Everything I've read about it says even a day of breastfeeding will benefit your baby, so 2 months of it is still something to feel good about - give it a go, and good luck!

flyingcloud Tue 01-Sep-09 20:14:52

Thank you so much! I can't wait to meet the little one and I just want to do the best I can.

Caro1302 Tue 01-Sep-09 20:26:01

With DS I went back to work FT at 14 weeks and I expressed a couple of times a day at work. I managed to send in 2 bottles of EBM to the childminder every day and always a bottle of formula as well. I had a rough start to BF with DS though and my supply was never brilliant. Good luck!

pushmepullyou Tue 01-Sep-09 20:28:45

Can't help you with the overseas part, but I went back to work moreorless full time from 14 weeks and managed to exclusively breast feed until 6 months by expressing when I go away and freezing milk if I was going away for longer periods.

I'm sure a bfing expert will be along shortly, but I started to express one feed a day from about 2 weeks and gradually increased. I found expressing first thing in the morning particularly effective. Then when I was away I expressed every few hours and refrigerated the milk for the next day.

I have found that if I miss expressing for a day or so it can be quite difficult for me to get much for a few days after, even if I have been bfing my baby regularly as my let down doesn't always seem to work very well.

It is quite hard work, and tiring as I get up to express before my DDs first feed of the day, which is the last thing I feel like doing some mornings! I would also advise that you get yourself a good pump, maybe an electric one or at least a handheld that is easy to operate as it can be quite tough on the hands if you're expressing a lot. I use the electric Avent IQ, which also comes with a manual handle so I can express quietly if I need to eg if I'm at work.

CMOTdibbler Tue 01-Sep-09 20:37:06

Again, I didn't work in France, but I went back to work FT when DS was 16 weeks old, and travelled for work. I bf exclusively for 6 months, and continued till DS was 23 months old.

I expressed 3 times a day at work using an Ameda Lactaline and stored it in the canteen fridge. If I was driving around, I'd express in the car if necessary and put it in my cool box with plenty of blocks.

When flying, I'd hand express down the loo or a sink

flyingcloud Tue 01-Sep-09 21:26:15

Thank you all - you sound like Super Mums (full of admiration and you've set fine examples).

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