Breastfeeding Questions - Long Post!

Updated on January 03, 2011
G.T. asks from Canton, MA
17 answers

Hi there moms.
I am expecting baby #2 any day now and plan on BF'g. I was luckily able to do it for a year with my first, BUT it was not a pleasant experience at all.
I nearly drove myself crazy trying to keep it up for a year - I hated always have to available - never getting a break, no one else could feed her, I had to travel for a funeral and pumped for 6 days straight to keep up my supply.
My husband once took my little girl for the day to give me a MUCH needed break and spilled the milk so I ended up having no break, traveling 45 minutes to breastfeed her. UGH.
I only worked part time, but now will have to go back full time and work as a trainer at a gym, and can only pump with a battery pack in a bathroom stall. There is simply no other place - nothing. YUK!

I produced the most milk last time in the 1st 4 mos. Can I pump like crazy and store it in a freezer to have enough going forward? Was anyone else able to pump a lot for a year? I heard that milk pumped at 4 mos is not good enough for a baby at 6 mos? Is that true? Any advice would be great. And PLEASE no BF'g fanatics. I KNOW it is a worthwhile sacrifice and it is better for the baby, but sometimes LIFE gets in the way. Help!

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answers from Dallas on

My sister went back to work at 8 weeks and was able to pump all the way to one year! It's definitely doable. She consulted La Leche League and they gave her tips on pumping and making it work. She did keep a months backup supply (on top of the normal supply) in the freezer, at all times.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Providence on

Hi G. - I exclusively breastfed 2 children each for one year while working full time, traveling for work, etc. With my first, I was always stressed and made myself crazy... about having milk, where to feed, where to pump, etc, etc.... It seemed like that year lasted forever! With the second, I seemed to be less stressed about everything. I was much more comfortable with everything and the year flew by. Everything worked out. Yes, it was still a pain at times but it was easier to take in stride. Definitely pump and freeze as much as you can. 4 mos milk may not be the best nutrition for a 6 mos old but it will work in a pinch! My best advice is just to hang in there and try to relax. :-)

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answers from Sacramento on

I went back to work at 3 months and am exclusively breastfeeding and pumping my now 5-month-old. I also went back to work at 3 months with my son and breasted for 13 months. Both kids are healthy, well-fed, and have never had an ounce of formula. Here is what worked for me:

I pumped once or twice a day for several weeks (more so with my second) before going back to work. This gave us a good milk bank with a "cushion." I labeled each bag with ounces and the date (I believe that milk is good in the freezer for 3 months).

I pump twice at work, and usually pump roughly the amount that my daughter drinks when I am at work. It doesn't have to be exact because of the aforementioned milk cushion. I sometimes feed her right before I leave for work, and I always feed her when I get home.

I also try to get support from my friends that are breastfeeding and working full-time. We help each other make it to our goal of a year and give moral support when we were needing re-energizing.

Your milk supply will increase as your baby gets bigger, so no worries about that. It is definitely doable. Hope that helps!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Hi there,

Breastmilk is good for 3 months in the freezer, so I don't think that pumping for 4 months is going last for a whole year. I'm so sorry that it was such an ordeal last time. I'm glad that you are thinking ahead on how you can make it more endurable this time.

The good news is that your employer must provide a (non-bathroom) place for you to pump under the Obama health care reform. Taken for baby center: The healthcare reform law has included an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) according to which, the employers should provide reasonable unpaid break time to nursing mothers during the working hours to express milk to babies till the baby is one year old. The employer is also required to provide a clean and private area for the employee, other than rest room for this. The amendment is documented in the Section 4207 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Hope this help you to be more comfortable and supported during the first year. Congrats on your new little one!

BTW- pumping in the car is always an option, too! It definitely makes me feel better about traffic jams! Search previous posts for excellent lactation threads and recommended accessories.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

where did you get the idea that to be a good mom you must breast feed for 1 year? my generation wasn't breastfed and we survived. Formula is more and more like breast milk. Sure I'm all for Breast feeding, its sometimes easier, cheaper, more convenient most of the time but if it drives you crazy and stresses you out is it really what's best for you?? start with the breast feeding but dont feel so pressured to continue for a year. The first years of life with your baby should be so precious, something to remember when they are difficult tweens, memories to hold on to when he's a teen! or moves out!
Life is stressful enough dont create more stress for yourself!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

****Formula is NOTHING like breastmilk. It's full of synthetic nutrients not well absorbed by immature GI tracts, it also introduces foreign proteins and bacteria that irritate and inflame the baby's sterile, immature and open GI system*****

First things first... RELAX and stop seeing your child as a burden. This is something that occurs for a very finite time and once that time is gone you never get it back.

Massachusetts has pretty liberal laws regarding breastfeeding and employers treatment of pumping Mothers. I'd start there, the site has a link to the state laws.

Co-sleeping/bed-sharing the first year or 3 is a lifesaver. No waking up for nighttime feedings, no crying alone in the dark for baby... everyone gets sleep.

Start pumping regularly after the first month, and continue pumping often for as long as your body supports pumping. By month 4-6, your body has become tailored to your child's needs, not the pump's needs.

Take naps when baby naps - it is a very pleasant experience to nurses baby to sleep for a nap and take some sleep for yourself too. The body will release sleepy and feel good hormones in both you and baby to make you both feel tired.

Once you return back to work - hopefully with a better environment to pump via the state laws - only bottle feed when away from baby and pump while nursing the other side.

Maybe you will allow yourself to enjoy this special relationship the second time around.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I am a very strong supporter of nursing, and extended nursing into the toddler years. Now that I've said that, I want to point out that it's not an all or nothing situation. You can do a combination of formula and nursing, and that will be better for your baby than only formula. If you nurse exclusively for the first x weeks, and pump, and introduce formula, and do a combination, it might free you from feeling like the nursing is a burden so that you can enjoy it, and all the wonderful things that nursing can bring to your relationship with your baby.

Milk pumped at 4 months is okay for an older baby. It's not ideal, but it's better than formula, and it definitely will not hurt your baby at all. According to the La Leche League guidelines (found at, if you make sure that your hands and equipment are clean, breast milk can be stored:

* at room temperature (66-78°F, 19-26°C) for 4 hours (ideal), up to 6 hours (acceptable) (Some sources use 8 hours)
* in a refrigerator (<39°F, <4°C) for 72 hours (ideal); up to 8 days (acceptable)
* in a freezer (-0.4 to -4°F, -18 to -20°C) for 6 months (ideal) up to 12 months (acceptable)

Another thing that I suggest, even if you don't go the combined BF/Formula route, is to have 1 can of formula in the house for emergencies -- like the time you took a break and your husband spilled the milk -- just in case. It's tricky -- if you've decided that you're not supplementing, having the can in the house can be tempting if it gets difficult, of your tired, or something, and it's sitting there all nice and easy to use, but it's possible to resist if you want to.

Again, supplementing with formula does not make you a bad mom. If it allows you to relax about nursing and enjoy it and be a better mom, then it could be the right choice for you.

I completely understand that tied down feeling -- I've nursed 3 children for 36 mo, 39mo, and 23 mo (so far-- he's still going strong) and there have been times, particularly recently when I think about the fact that I've been continuously pregnant, nursing, or both for 10 years, when I'm really ready for my body to be just mine again, and nursing has been an extremely positive experience for me. I can only imagine how hard it must be if it hasn't been so positive. Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I keep my baby with me all the time. That is what helps me. I have 5 kids so I can totally see how quickly this time goes. It's just a short time out of a lifetime! Enjoy this. You'll get a break when your child weans. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Spokane on

I think it's great that you want to give your baby as much breastmilk as possible, even if it can't always be direct from the source ;)

I've never pumped, but I stay home full-time with my girls so I've never really had to. I can't imagine why you can't pump and store as much as you can while you can and save it for later. I know breastmilk changes as the dietary demands of baby changes, but we're talking just a couple of months, right? And isn't *some* breastmilk better than none at all?

I'd talk to you doctor or a LLL rep for specifics, but I think you're great for exploring ever avenue before trying formula (which, contrary to some people, is NOT poison). Good luck :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I had 2 children who would not latch on and nurse so I pumped for each of them. The first one I pumped for 9 months and lost my milk supply (because I was pregnant with number 2, suprise!).
The second one I also pumped for 9 months. I was able to pump enough with number 2 child to store a supply in the freezer that lasted until he was 15 months. If you keep pumping on a schedule that your child eats (pump every time you would be giving a bottle or nursing), you should be able to store enough. Especially if you pump from the start.
Some my girl friends were encouraged and they would pump right after nursing to make sure that they were fully empty and to increase their supply! I was able to store a bunch of milk (more than the baby would eat was being produced) in the early months, and it eventually almost evened out.
The milk supply is as good as what you are eating (keep a good healthy diet). It will last a long time in the freezer. My lactation consultant told me if it is stored properly, it could last forever.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

I would suggest supplementing with formula from the start, and pump during those bottle feedings (with DD we did once a day). With our first, he was allergic to milk protein and had to have the hypoallergenic formula. He hated it, so he was BFed exclusively. IT was hard! When DD came along, she got formula her first night in the hospital because I was desperate for sleep after 48 hours in labor and dealing with a 2 year old. My milk supply was fine, and she was bf'd for a year, and also got one bottle of formula a day. This worked out well because she was not attached to the breast and if there was not enough expressed, she would take a bottle.
This was our experience and everychild is different. Yes milk pumped when your baby is 4 months old is not nescessary ideal for a 6 month old, but it is still very beneficial, even if it is not IDEAL.
ALso, atleast around here it is is the law to provide breast feeding working moms a place to pump that is not a bathroom. Your bosses office may be an option? I also got a pump adapter and sometimes pumped in my car under a blanket/jacket etc.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

Kudos to you for your effort with your 1st and for wanting to do it again. It is SO hard!I don't think its true that milk at 4 mos wouldnt be good for a baby who is 6 mos. But remember too that a 6 mo old will be eating baby food as well.
Personally i feel like there is so much pressure on us when we decide to B.F. that failure is terrifying. I tried so hard with my first and only made it 8 weeks, then with #2 I told myself I'd be better prepared, I read books went to classes had all the "supplies" and we only made it 6 weeks. I was heartbroken. Finally my OB said to me, "If you aren't enjoying your baby because of the stress of B.F. it's not worth it" And she was right. You are willing to try while working full time. Thats huge. And Im sorry it is just not as easy for some of us then others. If it doesnt work, your baby will be just fine. I think telling yourself that from the get go will take some strain off of you. Do the best you can, but realize that your happiness is vital to your baby as well! Not everyone can have their baby with them all the time, and be dependent only on the breast. Good luck and regardless give yourself credit for trying!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I would look into state laws about your employer having to provide a place for you to pump. Here they must and it can't be a bathroom. I would check at the hospital when you deliver and I'm sure they can provide you with the current information.

I have been freezing since my son was 2 months old, he is now 5 months old and I am getting ready to stop nursing/pumping. He will still get at least one milk bottel every day for the next two months. I how ever did supplement with formula the entire time. When I supplemented I then pumped and froze that milk for later use.

Good luck it is hard work, but well worth it.


answers from Austin on

When I started back at work after my first, my supply decreased. So I mixed half breastmilk and half formula. That helped extend my frozen supply for a couple of months longer.



answers from Portland on

Wow, you are amazing to have nursed exclusively an entire year. I nursed my first for a year but supplimented with formula. I am a SAHM so there was no need to suppliment however we did it so I could get a break every day. My husband gave my son an evening bottle every day and it was such a break. We started that when my son was about three months old. With baby number two I set a goal to make it at least six months breastfeeding and see where it went from there well turns out baby number two didn't like any bottles no matter if it was breast milk or formula so here I am at 11 months still breastfeeding (which is still going good) but fortunatly my baby is now very into solids so if I need to get out for an afternoon he won't go hungry. My point is that giving your baby formula as a supplement is not horrible. And you could always mix half formula and half breat milk in a bottle.(that's what we did with my first for about 5 months). I HATED PUMPING and my hat's off to you and anyone who has to pump in public places.



answers from Boston on

Hi G.,

My first son breast fed for 18 months and my second is already one and still nursing. I supplemented with formula for both and still had an adequate supply. Right from the beginning I introduced formula with baby #2 and he went back and forth between bottle and breast with no problem. I also used a pump and only stored milk for a few days at a time.

I realize it's better to breast feed exclusively, but they still get many of the benefits from breastfeeding if it's only done partially. I would try this if I were in your situation. Good luck and congratulations!



answers from Dallas on

Unfortunately, I was only able to BF for 3 months before my supply dried up, but I was planning on doing it for at least a year, so I studied up. You can keep breast milk in the freezer for up to 6 months, so you should be able to create quite a store. My doctor warned me that moms that work full time have a harder time keeping the milk coming simply due to not being able to keep a consistant schedule, so pumping will help with that also. Unfortunately for us, life does get in the way and we can't keep our babies with us every moment. You are doing what is best for your baby by breast feeding and doing what is best for your whole family by working full time.

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