Returning to Full Time Work - Still Breastfeeding

Updated on March 23, 2011
H.W. asks from Albany, NY
7 answers

Hey Mamas,

I'm the proud mother to a sweet 7 month old little girl who is 80% breastfed. She sometimes has the odd bottle of formula at night time when I'm home, and is given formula when I'm at work. Which has been 2-3 days a week (but mostly nights).

I've just received a promotion which means I'm going to full time work, which is spread between day shifts and night shifts. As much as I didn't want to stop breastfeeding just yet, it's impractical for me to be pumping at work. I did it for months a little while ago and it is such a pain and I find it hard to fit it in while working. My job is very Customer Service focussed.

Have any of you returned to full time work and didn't pump while at work?

It would be wonderful if I could keep up some sort of supply and manage to feed her while I'm at home - which I will give a go anyway! Even if it's just more for comfort or the odd snack.

Any advice?

As a disclosure - if anyone is thinking about telling me that I'll burn in hell for all of eternity for not breastfeeding until my daughter has her own child - don't bother answering. **I'm being serious. You obviously cannot imagine how offensive it is to be told that you are such a bad person for not breastfeeding for as long as possible. It is SO hurtful and people who dish out that sort of critisism should really STOP and realise that they are in no position to tell anyone else what they should do. Some people can't breastfeed for a very long time, some choose not to for very good reasons and these people BEAT THEMSELVES UP over it and feel incredible guilt. They don't need any know-it-all woman behind her computer screen telling everyone what's what and making life so much harder. I see this happen a lot and I've had it happen to me. Just because your computer screen makes you feel as bold as brass, the words you type cut through people. And it hurts.
That was for any mother on this site who has been seriously hurt and offended or just flat out pissed off at/by another user of this site. Many of you don't do this and I think you so much.
@Pamela - you've done this to me before. Just because you don't know me doesn't mean you need to be rude.

Thank you in advance for all of your wonderful advice!!

**Added** I live in Australia and there are laws in place to allow women to pump and not be discriminated.

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answers from Boston on

First of all kudos to you for still breastfeeding and wanting to continue while returning to your career. I pumped at work for the first 7 months and then decided that I'd had enough, I was still able to breastfeed for 12+ months. He just had formula while at his daycare and I was still able to nurse him in the mornings and evenings. Everyone was happy. Of course my supply really dropped off to the point that he was mostly just getting a snack here and there (10-12 months). Maybe you could try pumping just one time daily while at work?? That would keep your supply going a bit longer. I highly recommend Medela Pump n' Style, took me 10-min. to pump. Best of luck to you!

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answers from Boston on

Ha! Love your addendum!

I stopped nursing during the day when I went back to work as a teacher because the idea of pumping and possibly having a HS student walk in on me was terrifying! I had a very good supply, so my body had no problem adjusting to just morning and evening nursing for a couple of months, and then just at night for another couple of months. I don't know exactly how your body will do with an irregular schedule; I got terribly engorged if I skipped even one regular feeding. You might want to find times that you can consistently nurse, but "part time nursing" can absolutely be done.

Good luck!

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answers from Boston on

I dried up from only feeding while at home, sorry! But no big deal if you try and it doesnt work, you have bf her a long time already, great work.



answers from Washington DC on

I suggested in another thread that you mix your stash with formula to stretch it and that even if you supplement during the day, you can try nursing at night and weekends. I know people who do that. I would ask the daycare not to feed her before pickup so you know she'll nurse/be hungry when you need her to nurse.

If you do have the opportunity to pump some on weekends or during your commute (I did that sometimes, but you must set up before you hit the highway and you must be hands-free! Imagine being pulled over for pumping...) you can try that, too.



answers from Los Angeles on

Sorry to say this, but your supply will start to dry up if you don't pump regularly at work. At least it did for me.
But you did a great job so far so if you decide to stop breastfeeding then do what best for you.

What you can try is pumping at least once during your work day. Perhaps during your lunch break. This may allow you to keep a minimal supply flowing.

Good luck!!


answers from Pocatello on

a lot of people can keep up some supply with relatively few feedings. once breastfeeding is "established"- your body can keep 'just enough" in there until all the feedings stop.

If I were you i would slowly cut down... but keep up the "regular" skin-to-skin feedings- those are what maintain supply. Formula is ok... but too much might leave her over-full if it is spaced close to when you will have her feeding/s. I found the easiest feedings to keep long-term were the morning and night feedings.

Regardless of how long you keep going... any breastfeeding is awesome. There are plenty of reasons to keep breastfeeding for a while still- if you are "on the fence" about whether to keep going... that said, there is nothing wrong or bad if you decide to quit!

I am just saying that it is NOT an all or nothing thing to do... you can have varying degrees of breastfeeding all the way from exclusively breastfeeding, down to just one feeding a day. for some benefits of "extended" check out this site:

the benefits actually peak from what I have read at about 1 year old, and then slowly decline over time. I can attest that my daughter NEVER got sick until she weaned- not that I feel guilty about it. but- the pros might be worth it if you are willing to keep a feeding or two just a little longer (whether that means 2 weeks, a month, or a year) No one can make that decision for you!

BTW- if you are curious, i breastfed my daughter, at least one feeding per day up until she was 21 months. Extended breastfeeding isn't for everyone. Do what you feel is best for you, her and your family!


answers from Tampa on

After your extreme biased and off the wall jibe - I was considering not answering... but since I have a lot of personal and friend based experience in this - I will.

If you breastfeed EXCLUSIVELY while at home with your child, and supplement when you are away - things should be smooth sailing for as long as you allow your child to nurse.

NY has some pretty great pumping/breastfeeding at work/in public laws out there and your job is legally bound to give you time to pump and most likely a sanitary place to pump. I'd take advantage of that.

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