Breast Feeding and Working

Updated on June 01, 2010
L.N. asks from Brownsburg, IN
8 answers

I am asking for my daughter. She has a 10 week old son who is entirely br fed. Unfortunately she has returned to work after baby only 6 weeks old. I am the baby's babysitter. She has been pumping just fine and replacing what he uses when gone.. Her schedule changes often, days, nights and evenings all interchanged randomly. She has a double pump but is usually unable to get away to pump only twice per shift. Her son is now sleeping most of the night and hence is nursing less often. When she is home with him she nurses him every 2 - 3 hrs as he indicates he wants to feed. She is concerned her milk supply will go down if she doesn't get in enough" nipple stimulations" - she has read that she should have about 8 episodes of either nursing or pumping in a day. I nursed my children for enxended time periods but I never had a breast pump so I have little experience from which to advise her in this situation. My question is I would love some advice on how it has worked or some of you moms who have been successful in described situation.

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answers from Indianapolis on

I had to start pumping with both kids when going back to work as well. It sounds like your daughter is a nurse (based upon the shift work and unpredictable schedule). I was fortunate to have time available during the day to pump (had to do it in my car as a travelling sales person). However, I usually only pumped 2-3 times, and I was able to keep my production up very well based upon demand.

That's the most important thing - demand will create production. So, my advice would be to pump as soon as she wakes-up and then have the baby nurse when he wakes. I'd then pump mid-morning, after lunch, and on my way home (around 4:30-5pm). I'd nurse until after he went to sleep and would pump again at 11-11:30pm. I intentionally did this much to overproduce what he needed.

As great as breastfeeding is for the baby, her schedule may wreak havoc on her ability to produce a consistent amount. With my first child, I was so adamant about nursing for the first year. Then, not quite 3 months into my second child, I was diagnosed with cancer and had to stop nursing. I learned that formula wasn't as bad as I had it in my mind.

So, my advice would be to try to make it work, and if it doesn't, nurse when possible, pump as much as you can and supplement if needed with formula until he's ready to start solids in a few months.

Good luck to you all!



answers from St. Louis on

I had a similar situation, but I've never heard of a certain number of nipple stimulations per day. I would pump after feeding my sons and get some milk for later. I was really only able to pump once during my work day, but it worked well for us. I pumped after almost every feeding (unless we were out and about and I couldn't pump).

I used a double electric pump, the Ameda Purely Yours, and it did a great job getting milk out. I also drank a whole lot of water to make milk.

Good luck to your daughter!



answers from Cleveland on

I nursed both of my children for over a year and unfortunately went back to work with both of them. I usually only pumped one time per day and work. Occassionally, I would pump twice, but that was rare. For my first child, this was not enough. I had to mix bottles with 50% breast milk and 50% formula. For my daughter, I was able to produce enough milk so I think it depends on the child and how your body responds.



answers from Indianapolis on

It sounds like she's doing a great job so far!! As long as she replaces any missed nursing session with a pumping session, she's fine. If he's only nursing 6 times a day, then she should do whatever she can to pump at the times he'd usually be nursing.
Encourage her to find a La Leche League meeting to attend. There will be other moms who can help her:) I know it's a drive, but the Castleton meeting is in the evenings. There's nothing on the west side right now, but there is a Greenwood meeting that is really more SW. She can also feel free to call any leader. Please email me (or have her do it) if you need help finding a LLL meeting or leader:)



answers from Cincinnati on

I was a working mom while breastfeeding my oldest for his first year. I pumped twice in an 8-10 hour day and had did not have any problems without effecting milk production. I would focus not on the # of pumpings per day as much as getting in productive pumping sessions - pump until empty, try not to rush, etc. Then nurse the baby as often as necessary at home.



answers from Tampa on

Just have her pump as much as possible. Outside of work hours, I also normally pumped a few times after my son went to bed and I would pump after his night feed in the middle of the night as well..that was extremely draining..staying up even after I got the little one back to bed. My son breastfed 19 mos (I had to go back to work when he was 3 mos). I had about a two month phase where I could not keep up and he ended up getting about a bottle of organic formula once per work day. Eventually, he slowed down (worked through that growth spurt) and I was able to keep up with him again and we ditched the formula. Good luck to her. It can be draining but so good for the baby



answers from Albuquerque on

I am in a similar situation in that my baby is about the same age, I am back at work and can only pump about twice a day. (Luckily I do have a set schedule.) This is my second child that I have breastfed and what I find helps out the most regardless of when I pump or feed is that I drink A LOT of water! If I do feel like my supply has not been up to its usual amount, I realize that I have not been drinking enough water. During my pumping sessions I end up pumping more than he would eat at one nursing session so it made up for any extra bottles he needs while I am away. I have not heard anything about a certain amount of nipple stimulation.
(Hopefully she does have access to a restroom frequently though!)
Good luck!



answers from Toledo on

I was able to nurse my daughter and work a crazy long shift at work, often only able to pump 1-2 times in a 12 hour day. I found that pumping off in the morning after nursing my daughter and pumping off before going to be helped a lot. I would also freeze the extra milk for times when I wasn't able to pump as much. Also, I found that freezing the milk into ice cube size chunks helped to not waste much. I used sterilized ice cube trays but they now have trays designed for specifically freezing milk and homemade baby food. It is great because each ice cube is about 1 oz and it makes it really easy to only thaw what the baby needs. I didn't have trouble keeping the milk supply up. When my supply would dwindle, I would work hard to make sure either my daughter was nursing more or I would pump more often. I think she will be able to keep up.

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