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Back at work and losing ground

Posted by on Dec. 30, 2013 at 11:13 AM
  • 22 Replies

I feel very lucky that I was able to take 12 weeks off work to spend with my new daughter.  I was fine wtih the pumping, too -- the only problem was finding the time to do it.  We moved house about 6 weeks before she was born, and were doing a bunch of work on the new place so that we couldn't even unpack really -- there was nowhere to put anything.  The work was finally finished just in time for me to go back to work.  I had only managed to store about a 2-day milk supply.

So the work week is all about putting in the hours at my job, where I pump 2 - 3 times.  Then I come home to get her ready for the next day, eat something and spend a tiny bit of time with my husband.  Then I usually try to pump before bed.  If all of the day's pumping goes well, I have enough for the next day at day care.  If I had to skip a work pumping session for some reason, or if I fell asleep without pumping first, then I'm dipping into my stockpile.  

Sometimes I'm too tired to pump at night, sometimes I don't want to pump because the baby keeps waking up and I'd rather give it to her directly than have her come up empty.  On the weekends either we have stuff that takes us out of the house, or I'm pushing pushing pushing preparing for the holiday, or trying to get stuff unpacked and organized so that we're not living among giant piles of boxes, and all of a sudden it's Sunday night and I've only pumped maybe once all weekend.  After a month back at work, I'm now down to a 4-oz milk backup instead of 2 days.  

Also, pumping at work is becoming harder.  In the beginning, in a 25-minute session I would get around 5 - 6 ounces, throw it in the fridge and keep on rolling.  Now, I'm only getting 3 - 4 ounces in 45 minutes.  My letdown is not as strong as before, and I suspect it's stress related.  I use pictures and videos of my daughter to try to help me relax and let down while I'm pumping, but it's starting to feel like I'm manipulating myself and it's not working as well.  If I have to keep spending so much time away from my desk to pump I'm afraid my boss is going to notice in a bad way.  I'm already not as productive as I used to be.  Between baby stuff and holiday stress, I broke down crying last night.  I still feel blue today.

I need some new strategies here.  Can any other working moms give me some tips or advice?  


UPDATE on January 10:

Success!!  Between the holday, a snow storm, and the weekend, I had my daughter home with me for 5 days starting the first of the year.  The first couple of days were tough, especially putting her to bed since she still seemed hungry.  But by day 5, she was much more satisfied with what I had to give and my production was back up.  I did a morning and night pump every day but one.

This week at work, I kept the morning pump in addition to 3 workday pumps and one at night. I have left my baby with 11-12 ounces every day and instructions to offer 2 - 2.5 oz per feeding.  The first day she was slightly fussy and gassy, but the rest of the week has been smooth for both her and me (at least in terms of milk production!).  I have rebuilt my 2-day frozen milk buffer, each day I make more than my daughter needs from the bottle, and she is all smiles.  A couple of small changes made such a huge difference!

I just wanted to thank you ladies again for your help.  Happy new year to all!  

by on Dec. 30, 2013 at 11:13 AM
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Replies (1-10):
isaacsmommy68
by on Dec. 30, 2013 at 11:20 AM
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Pumping is hard. This is what worked best for my. I pumped for 13 months! I would nurse before I got out of bed. Put the baby back down and get ready. Before I left I would pump again. You can do opposite too, pump while baby is sleeping then nurse before you leave. I worked 8-430. I would pump at 10ish, then 130ish. As soon as I got home I would nurse. I was gone about 9 hours. You only need 1-1.5 oz for every hour you are gone. No bigger than 3oz at a time. My child only took 2 3oz bottles when I was gone because I nursed before I left. I had rule of no bottles after 3pm, so he would be hungry when I got there. I always had way too much pumped for the next day. I sent 3 bottles just in case. Yes stress can decrease supply. Drink plenty of water. The first month back is tough!

shortyali
by Alicia on Dec. 30, 2013 at 11:24 AM
1 mom liked this
This is what I did. Also you NEED to make sure and pump at the very least 1 time each day on the weekend.

Quoting isaacsmommy68:

Pumping is hard. This is what worked best for my. I pumped for 13 months! I would nurse before I got out of bed. Put the baby back down and get ready. Before I left I would pump again. You can do opposite too, pump while baby is sleeping then nurse before you leave. I worked 8-430. I would pump at 10ish, then 130ish. As soon as I got home I would nurse. I was gone about 9 hours. You only need 1-1.5 oz for every hour you are gone. No bigger than 3oz at a time. My child only took 2 3oz bottles when I was gone because I nursed before I left. I had rule of no bottles after 3pm, so he would be hungry when I got there. I always had way too much pumped for the next day. I sent 3 bottles just in case. Yes stress can decrease supply. Drink plenty of water. The first month back is tough!

Merrick17
by Corrine on Dec. 30, 2013 at 11:24 AM
1 mom liked this
You described my situation almost exactly. I've been back to work for two weeks and have no stockpile, what I make today, she eats tomorrow.

I don't think there is an easy answer, but I can tell you what I'm doing that has helped me not to be constantly worried about having enough.

I am not a morning person, and I get maybe 4 hours if sleep a night and leave at 745, home at 615. I get up 30 minutes early and pump. Then I nurse my 3 month old. Shower, get ready, nurse her again before I leave if she's awake. If she's not, I pump again. I may not get much, but every oz adds up. I pump 3-4 times at work. Morning and afternoon break, and lunch. I commute on the bus so I can't pump there, but of you don't have a long commute, throw in another pumping session before you leave.

I get home, nurse lo, give dad a much needed break and basically have her all night. She is a sleep fighter and once she grows out of that I may get more sleep, lol. Here's to hoping!

I also started pumping 3x a day on weekends. It gives me peace of mind I case I'm stuck at work or any kind of emergency.

It's not ideal, or fun, but at the end of the day I'm doing my best and I won't regret it later.

I also read while I pump I relax, put on a little music. It helps.
SewingMamaLele
by Leanne on Dec. 30, 2013 at 11:27 AM
1 mom liked this
How much are you pumping every day? If it's3-4oz 2-3x a day, that's anywhere from 8-12oz, right? How long are you gone for?

If it's between pumping and feeding her at the breast ... Feed her! She needs a certain amount over 24 hours... So is better for her to take the milk directly rather than you pump it and have it bottlefed the next day.

Really, you just need to be consistent with pumping at work. Don't miss sessions.... 3 times a day, every day.
angelchewning
by on Dec. 30, 2013 at 11:30 AM
1 mom liked this

I know just how you feel and on top of it all you feel like this stupid machine is controlling your life! I work full time as well and this is what works for me

5am Wake up and Pump

6am Nurse baby

7am go to work early and pump before the day begins

10 pump again

1 pump again

3 pump again

4:30 pick up baby and nurse

6 nurse

8 nurse baby to bed

10 pump before bed

It is grueling and obnoxious but i know its whats best for LO and I know its not forever. this is how I've been able to make sure i always have enough for the next day at daycare and not dip into my freezer stash. hope it helps. you're not alone!

MinaPR
by Bronze Member on Dec. 30, 2013 at 12:57 PM
1 mom liked this

Add the early morning pumping to your routine, that's when you'll get the most milk and nurse baby before leaving. Pump 3 or 4 times at work. It doesn't have to be a 45 mins session, 20 mins will do. My days off from work are nursing holidays, but I still do the morning, the afternoon and and the night pump. Take plenty of water and fenugreek. I read while pumping and it helps me relax, you can also do breast massage, (we are the masters of multitasking, you can do all three at the same time!). I establish little, achievable goals, like adding at least 2ozs on a daily basis to my freezer stash. You can start with just 1 daily oz and slowly move up to two and so forth... Remember, baby only needs 1-1.25 ozs per hour you are gone... nothing more or she'll be overfed. Good luck and keep us posted!!!

MommyO2-6631
by on Dec. 30, 2013 at 1:53 PM
How much are you leaving for her and how long are you gone?
aehanrahan
by Group Admin - Amy on Dec. 30, 2013 at 2:40 PM


Quoting MommyO2-6631: How much are you leaving for her and how long are you gone?
GreenTree11
by on Dec. 30, 2013 at 3:02 PM

This is pretty much exactly my schedule but I'm only able to pump at work at 10 and 2. I no longer have extra to stockpile and I don't think she is getting much from me in the evenings anymore. 

It might also have to do with the pump you are using. I've tried three different ones and while I might get 1-2 ounces from my pump at home, I can get 4-5 ounces from the medical grade pump they have for us at work. 





Quoting angelchewning:

I know just how you feel and on top of it all you feel like this stupid machine is controlling your life! I work full time as well and this is what works for me

5am Wake up and Pump

6am Nurse baby

7am go to work early and pump before the day begins

10 pump again

1 pump again

3 pump again

4:30 pick up baby and nurse

6 nurse

8 nurse baby to bed

10 pump before bed

It is grueling and obnoxious but i know its whats best for LO and I know its not forever. this is how I've been able to make sure i always have enough for the next day at daycare and not dip into my freezer stash. hope it helps. you're not alone!


tigerlil97
by Member on Dec. 30, 2013 at 4:41 PM


Quoting MommyO2-6631: How much are you leaving for her and how long are you gone?

Thanks, ladies!  I am feeling a little better already just knowing that others are going through the same thing.  

My daughter's at day care from about 8:30a to 5:30p, so almost 9 hours.  They typically feed her 13 - 15 oz while I'm gone.  I leave her with 15 oz every day.  She is a bit of a chunky monkey (75th weight percencile according to the pediatrician), but it's supposed to be on demand, right?  She just looks like a healthy round baby.  I don't think she's overfed.

Today I pumped:

9:15a, got 3.5 oz

12:15p, got 3.5 oz

4p, got 3.8 oz

I will take your suggestions and add in a morning pumping after I feed her!  I should be able to fit that in no problem.  I'm glad you guys are here to help me rally.  =)

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