K.F. asks from Valley Village, CA on April 12, 2010
Supplementing When Going Back to Work
I have a 7 months old son. I have been exclusively breastfeeding him since he was born. I nurse him 4 times a day and pump in between nursing. I will be returning to work full time next week and will no longer be able to pump during the day. I am planning on supplementing with formula and nursing just twice, morning and night. I have a couple questions: How do I maintain my milk supply? Will I be in pain all day if I don't pump? Do I incorporate the formula gradually or just give him the amount he will be having when I go to work? What is the best way to make this transition? Thank you in advance for all your advice.
J.M. answers from Boston on April 12, 2010
I would drop one middle of the day feeding at a time, to avoid being uncomfortable. I would replace that with formula. It will probably make him a little constipated for a little while, so you don't want to overload him.
And you did a great job nursing! Don't let anyone make you feel bad for giving your son formula at this point. I'm sure you're making the choice that's best for you and your family. Good luck with the transition.
2 moms found this helpful
T.L. answers from Los Angeles on April 13, 2010
Hi K.! Congrats on your baby. You say you have been pumping, so does that mean you have a nice little stockpile of "liquid gold" built up? If so, that will help your transition! Also, you don't mention if you are physically unable to pump at work (logistics?), or this is just the right time to give up pumping? Either way, good for you for nursing this long! don't let anyone say otherwise if you are choosing to stop pumping. Good job mommie!
1 mom found this helpful
M.K. answers from Los Angeles on April 13, 2010
If you are going to skip several feedings without pumpimg, your supply will go down. My first son was a preemie and only got IV feeding the first month. Even with pumping every few hours, my supply was low once I started breastfeeding. My supply was great with my second, until I found out he was allergic to the cow's milk I was eating/drinking. I had to stop breastfeeding for a few days and "pumped and dumped" my milk to get the dairy out of my system, but my supply never fully came back. Now back at work, I have given up on pumping and I have only leaked once. I have to supplement with a lot of very expensive formula, but still breastfeed what little I have. I consider it his "comfort food". Some items like fenugreek can help boost the supply somewhat, but unfortunately wont keep it where it is now.
D.D. answers from Los Angeles on April 13, 2010
Just want to echo that in CA you are guaranteed time AND a place to pump. Not sure if you have other logistical issues.
If you can't pump, you may be in the pain as well as a bit leaky in the beginning. I would probably try to drop a couple of day feedings before going back. Wear plenty of breast pads and maybe even bring a change of shirt just in case (not to scare you). Drink tons of water, eat oatmeal, and take fenugreek to keep your supply up. Stay away from caffeine and other things that can zap your supply.
Good luck, mama! It will be hard but we have all survived!
Here is the law (the fine is pathetic of course):
Minimum Requirements of the California Lactation Accommodation Law
Effective January 1, 2002
Provide Break Time for Employees to Express Breastmilk.
Employers shall provide a reasonable amount of break time to accommodate an employee desiring to
express breastmilk for the employee’s infant child.*
If possible, the break time should coincide with the employee's paid break time. If not,
the break time need not be paid.
How much time does an employee need to express breastmilk? Typically, a lactating
woman would need to express breastmilk about every 2-3 hours when she is away from
her baby. Twenty to forty minutes is generally needed for each pump session.
Women who double pump (pump both breasts at the same time), generally take less time for pumping than
women who single pump (pump one breast at a time). Women need time to set up and clean equipment,
collect, label, and store milk. Some women prefer to work while pumping by reading or reviewing work
related materials. If however, additional time is unpaid, consider allowing employees to arrive earlier or
stay later than their normal work schedule to make up their time.
Provide the Employee with the Use of a Room to Express Breastmilk.
Employers shall make a reasonable effort to provide employees with the use of a room or other location for
the employee to express milk. This space should be private and in close proximity to the employee’s work
area. This space should not be a toilet stall.
Examples of workplace spaces used for expressing breastmilk:
• A vacant office
• A room which can be arranged to be used by the lactating employee
during specific times of the day
• A women’s lounge area
• A first aid room
• A dressing room
• A cubicle with a curtain (A last resort, if no other space is available!)
A room can be made private by having a lock on the door, placing a message on the door that the room is in
use, drawing blinds or curtains, covering curtain-less windows with paper if necessary, or setting up a
Civil Penalty For Violators
Employers that do not comply with the provisions of the law could be subject to a civil penalty of one
hundred dollars ($100) for each violation by the Labor Commissioner.
An employer is not required to provide unpaid break time if to do so would seriously disrupt the operations.
Although not required by law to be provided by the employer, the following items are
generally needed to express milk in the workplace.
• A clean, safe water source, sink, disinfectant dish soap, and paper towels nearby for washing hands
and breast pump equipment.
• A refrigerator or ice chest to keep breastmilk from spoiling.
• A room or space with an electrical outlet for employees who use
an electric breast pump to express milk.
• A comfortable chair to sit in while expressing milk.
• A small table for pumping supplies.
J.C. answers from Florence on April 12, 2010
I work at Wal-mart and when I was breastfeeding my youngest daughter I had an electric pump that was built into a backpack. I was given a place to pump and I pumped both breaks and my lunch. It is required by law for them to supply you with a place to pump. Unless you just want to supplement. Also I would feed her in the early morning when she first woke up and at night we would nurse. I believe you will get engorged the first day or so. Because your breasts are used to making all that milk for your son. I think it will also cut down your supply some because if the milk being produced is not used then your body will cut back on production if that makes sense. I also had to take lactation pills the whole time with my daughter to keep my supply up. You can get them at the health food store. I would just send what formula you think he needs. Good luck and be sure to ask your employer about a place to pump if that is what you would like to do.
J.R. answers from Los Angeles on April 13, 2010
I went to the twice a day feedings when I went back to work, both with my older daughter and then this past year with my twins. My supply adjusted fairly quickly, and I never had a problem with too little supply. I did pump a few times during my lunch break to relieve the fullness at first, but there were several reasons it didn't work long-term. Yes, in CA they HAVE to let you pump. However, at my workplace the only place was the locker room....another girl did spend her lunch breaks there with her electric pump plugged in near the sink. It was awkward for everyone, to say the least, when someone needed to use the toilet. I'm in law enforcement and I was always anxious that I'd be in the middle of pumping when I needed to respond to something. I'm the supervisor and need to be there for various situations for liability, so it's not something I could just blow off. I agree that dropping the mid-day nursings before you return to work will help. Your body and your baby will adjust and make it a lot easier. Good luck to you!
K.C. answers from Barnstable on April 12, 2010
If you nurse him when you are with him, your milk supply should be fine. Especially if you nurse through the weekend. In Massachusetts employers are required BY LAW to give breastfeeding moms time to pump. Are you feeling forced out of pumping?
M.W. answers from Los Angeles on April 14, 2010
Hi! My baby is 8 months now and I returned to work when she was three months. I have gradually reduced the number of times I pump since returning to work and am now down to pumping once a day (end of the day), and nursing her 1-2 times a day (middle of the night and early morning). Your body will adjust to your schedule and your supply will decrease with fewer pumpings in which case it is totally fine to supplement with formula. Introduce it gradually with breast milk at first, maybe expect some more spit-up for a while until your son gets used to it. Once he's broken in, you can use water with the formula, but again, that is a little transition and he may spit-up a little bit in getting used to it.
It's hard to maintain a full-time working and pumping schedule so be really nice to yourself!! You've done a great job!