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Talk to me about expressing and returning to work(13 Posts)
DD is 4.5 mos and EBF. I'll be returning to work FT in 7 weeks. She'll be at nursery.
Our plan was for me to build up a stash of frozen BM now, and also to express in the office whenever possible. This way, DD would have BM to take to nursery, and I could do morning, bedtime, and night feeds.
I'm starting to wonder if this is realistic! When I express I don't get much - on a good day, 90-100ml, but last night as low as 30ml. I could try expressing multiple times in a day I guess, but it's tough.
Has anyone who has only a mediocre supply like me actually done this? What if I can't make enough? How hard is pumping in the office? Should I really just be planning to mix feed from 6mos to save struggle and disappointment?
Would love to do longer than that, but am I setting myself up to fail?
What kind of pump do you have? I found I got way more with a manual than electric.
I went back when DS was 7 months and expressed at work for about 4 months after that. I went from miserable volumes to 500mL in a sitting almost overnight - limited stress over it, no other demands on me or the milk - sat and looked at pics/videos of the baby on my phone.
We did end up mix feeding and honestly, I wish I hadn't beaten myself up over it so much. DS was still getting lots of breast milk (morning, bedtime, 1-2 night feeds) but he was a milk demon so often needed a formula top up during the day. Formula didn't change much - he still clearly preferred my milk and was getting benefits from it.
I had to basically con my body into producing an extra feed. I chose 9pm, as it was the longest time between feeds. I had to express same time, every day, and eventually went from 1-2 oz to 6 or 7 in one session. Miss a day, and the amount would drop and is have to build up again.
Expressing at work was fine. Easy because I was missing a feed anyway. I just took a cool bag for the fridge, and used an empty office.
I successfully bf/expressed until 14 months, so it can be done . Dc did reverse cycle a bit, and started feeding evenings and an extra night feed. Also bear in mind yours will be about 6 m when you go back, so will be weaning, which makes things far easier.
Yeah I snould just get over the angst about mixed feeding, I reckon. Not like it really matters being purist when she's going on solids!
Also the tip about expressing same time every day is a good one. I'll try 10pm every evening and see how that goes! I use an electric pump but do own a manual so might break that out again to see if it gets better yields.
I managed it. I could never get much but with an electric one managed to build up some to freeze. Expressing at work was fine, I just did it around lunchtime in the rest room and popped it in the fridge in a cool bag.
It's doable, you just have to want to do it and be organised. I went back to work when DD was about 8 mo and expressed until she was a year (and bf until she was 2).
Here are my tips/ what worked for me.
- Buy a good double-pump. I used the Ardo Calypso, which was recommended by a v. good lactation consultant. Also has benefit of being a 'closed system' (google it - it will put you off using a Medela Swing or other 'open system' pump)
- Buy a 'pumping bustier' (or make one) so you can pump hands-free. Absolutely essential, so that you can do emails, etc, while pumping.
- I started out pumping 3 x a day and realised that was too hard to maintain, so went to pumping 2 x a day at work (about 20-25 mins per session). This easily produced enough for DD
- Re. supply. I was worried too. So like a PP I added in an 'extra' feed at about 9pm (after dinner, in front of telly) to boost my stash.
- I also started taking Fenugreek when I started pumping as was worried about supply. This really helped get my pumping 'regime' going.
- Your body will adapt to pumping and start producing more the more you do it. Things like looking at a photo of your baby while you pump can help, and not stressing about how much you're producing!
- You don't need to wash/ sterilise equipment at work in between pumpings. Just stick it all in the fridge in a clean ziplock and use it again. I'd then wash/ sterilise each evening.
- Buy a little cool bag with freezer packs to transport milk to and from home
- Check before you start building up a stash that you don't have lipase issues. (more below)
I don't think you're setting yourself up to fail. Be organised and don't stress about it and it will probably be fine. If it's not, never mind - you tried and you can mix feed or whatever. Other things to remember is that your DC's milk demands will drop a lot around 7/8 months as they get more into solids. DD I think really could have survived fine without her daytime milk feeds when I was at work (would have just had more snacks and water). But, I really wanted to do it (for various reasons), so I persevered.
The lipase thing:
- Has your DD already drunk your expressed milk? Have you tried giving her milk that has been frozen and defrosted? If not, just double-check she'll take it/ test it yourself. I ask because I had an issues where my milk tastes 'bad' if it's in the fridge for more than about 18 hours or has been frozen and de-frosted. It's to do with excess lipase. It's easy to get around, but it took me a while to figure out that's what the problem was.
You get around it by 'scalding' you milk before it turns bad tasting. So I'd pump at work, keep milk in fridge, transport home in cool bag and then 'scald' it (heat v. quickly in pan) and then put into sterile storage bags and put straight in freezer.
I worked out how long my milk lasted in fridge unscalded by expressing some and tasting it every couple of hours.
p.s. good luck
p.p.s I found US websites had the best advice about pumping at work (because mothers there have to go back to work so horribly soon after birth)
DS is 10 months & ive been back part time 6 weeks.
Super organised is key. Pumping at same time is great advice too. I bought a cool bag too.
But it's hard - I feel guilty being at work & I feel guilty taking time out to express!
I was expressing twice a day at work but now only once & replacing mid morning with a yogurt (if he's not sleeping).
As difficult as it will be, rest plenty & eat well. I really think full fat milk & porridge every morning has done wonders for my supply. Take a multivitamin.
I was fortunate in that I have a gd freezer supply from early days. It's hard because you don't want to increase your supply massively when they start solids etc.
I plan to stop BF around a year so we can try again
Good luck OP
Wow City that is super helpful!!
Didn't know that about lipase but have been stashing for a good few weeks already (just, not getting much each time) but I'll test this out when DH is next off work. I think it will be easier for him to give her a bottle.
Already on fenugreek but need some more!
And I have my own office at work so that should be fine.
Thanks all - feeling more positive about this now!!
Ahh yes porridge, my MW said about that! I'd forgotten. Thanks!
If you want to build up a stash I would pump in the morning. I would easily pump 250mls in the morning but struggled to get 50mls at night. Even if I missed a feed and was engorged- as happened on my first few 9-9 shifts at work (I had a resolute bottle refuser so gave up pumping after a week back at work, but my baby was older).
Hi Milky, tried that but it's hard as DH is out at work and it's just me and DD, and she inevitably wants attention - hard to pump for twenty mins with fretful 4.5mo next to you!! Swopped to evenings for this reason though you are right in terms of supply.
It is hard to do anything I know! I used to try pump off one side while DD fed on the other. Took me a while to get the hang of it, but I did manage to store a lot of EBM before going back (all of which was refused!).
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