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2nd day back at work - PUMPING BM

  1. #1
    evgreen is offline Registered User
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    2nd day back at work - PUMPING BM

    I just came back to work yesterday and luckily, I have a flexible job, so I'm not here full days. I work from 9am - 3pm and in that time, my baby will feed twice (expressed breast milk only). I have had a freezer supply going since my baby was about 2 weeks old but up till now I've been exclusively breastfeeding her and giving her expressed milk only when I really had to go out to run errands.

    Thing is should my freezer supply be for back up emergencies only? I feel like I should only be pumping for the next day at work. Meaning two 20-minute pumping sessions fit into my work day. I have pumped the same amount yesterday and today which is about 4.5oz per session using an electric double pump so I got 9oz total per day. I feel like I should be pumping more!

    Baby ate 6oz for her first bottle at 10:30am and then another 3oz at 1pm. I told the helper to just wait till I come home to feed her instead of feeding her more unless she really is starving and crying for more in which she'll just have to defrost more milk. If I start supplementing from the freezer I feel like that isn't doing my own supply a favor. I've also thought about squeezing in an extra pumping session right before going to bed since she has recently dropped her 10pm feeding and sleeps from 7pm - 1 or 2am then wakes at around 6:30-7am for the day.

    For all you working and pumping mothers, does pumping volume get better with time? How much and how often does your little one feed while you're at work? By the way, my girl is 10 weeks old and 11lbs (5kg). She was born at 7lbs so it seems like she's gaining weight just fine from exclusively breastfeeding.

  2. #2
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by evgreen View Post
    For all you working and pumping mothers, does pumping volume get better with time? How much and how often does your little one feed while you're at work? By the way, my girl is 10 weeks old and 11lbs (5kg). She was born at 7lbs so it seems like she's gaining weight just fine from exclusively breastfeeding.
    Congrats on your baby :) Also, good work on breastfeeding and pumping. Really good to hear you have a supportive work environment for this because that can often make or break you when it comes to pumping breastmilk.

    I think every baby is different and so is every mother. I'll just share some of the things that helped me.

    I went back to work the very day my daughter turned 8-weeks-old. At first, I would feed my daughter and then get up and pump before going to work. At work I pumped mid-morning and then my daughter came to my work for a feeding at lunchtime and then I would pump-mid afternoon. I fed my daughter as soon as I got home in the evening and then pumped again later in the evening. I was feeding my daughter on the breast about every 2-3 hours, though. She has co-slept with us since birth so often she would feed off-and-on all night long. I also went through times when I built up a huge supply of frozen breastmilk. I found that there would be times that we used it up very quickly--usually for convenience.

    One of the best tips I got was from Sarah from LLL on this forum. My daughter started to drink a lot more milk when she hit about 5-months-old and I just couldn't keep up with the pumping at work. Sarah suggested that we begin cup feeding her instead of bottle feeding. That worked wonderfully! Now, she is comfortable drinking out of a cup and has even started using a straw to drink and she's 9-months-old exactly.

    As far as pumping getting easier? I didn't find it that hard to begin with but when my cycle came back when my daughter was about 10-weeks-old, I found my milk supply dropped a lot so for a time I had to go on domperidone and also take a lot of fennel and fenugreek (copius, copius amounts of both....eeeek). But, those remedies helped and I was able to maintain a steady 4-6 ounce per pumping output which saw my daughter and I through until she was about 8-months-old and that's when I stopped pumping breastmilk because with a long morning feeding prior to getting out of bed, a lunchtime feeding and then her eating solids pretty regularly since she was about 6-months-old she can do without that one or two extra expressed breastmilk feedings in a day.

    But, if you don't have that lunch feeding, you'll probably have to keep up with the pumping but honestly, after awhile it just wasn't such a huge worry. I just kind of realized that as long as my daughter was eating well it wouldn't harm her to go a little longer between feeds after a certain point. So, if she didn't get a lot of milk from me because my pumping output wasn't so great for the day (which can be affected by hormones, illness, diet, stress) then I just have to not worry and let her drink that amount and then make up for it later.

    Now, my freezer doesn't have any frozen breastmilk in it and it hasn't been an issue at all. Time will go by fast. Good luck!
    “Many women have described their experiences of childbirth as being associated with a
    spiritual uplifting, the power of which they have never previously been aware …
    To such a woman childbirth is a monument of joy within her memory.
    She turns to it in thought to seek again an ecstasy which passed too soon.”

    ~ Grantly Dick-Read (Childbirth Without Fear)

    Mother of Two
    JMW, boy, born November 29, 2007, 9:43 pm, USA
    MJW, girl, born March 17, 2011, 4:14 pm, HK

  3. #3
    bonita is offline Registered User
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    I went back to work when my daughter was 10 weeks old. Since she was feeding every 2-3 hours, I kept a similar schedule for pumping at work. I'll feed her at 8 before I leave home, pump at 11am, 2pm and 5pm. Feed her as I arrive home around 7pm. When I was away, she usually had the same number of feedings as my pumping. If she wanted more, that's when the babysitter hit the freezer. Keep pumping! Breast milk in the freezer can only be kept so long. Even when my daughter was a year old, we still had 5-8 frozen feedings for emergency/convenience purpose.

  4. #4
    evgreen is offline Registered User
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    Thank you both so much for your replies. It's stressful thinking about not being able to keep up with baby's demands! Especially for any upcoming growth spurts. I am drinking mother's milk tea and I think it helps a bit but I'm not religious about drinking it. Usually 2-3 cups per day. I do cluster feed my daughter from 4-6pm every hour to make up for being away and I think that's helping her sleep longer at night as well.

    Thanka2, how does cup feeding help? Does it slow down the feeding so they don't end up overfeeding from a bottle??

  5. #5
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by evgreen View Post
    Thanka2, how does cup feeding help? Does it slow down the feeding so they don't end up overfeeding from a bottle??
    Exactly. Because unlike formula-fed babies who increase the volume of milk they take in in order to get more calories as they grow, breastfed babies don't increase their milk volume intake much. Instead, the components of the milk change over time to perfectly meet the child's nutritional needs--so it's not a matter of the child drinking a lot more volume of milk over time (although the volume can increase slightly--especially during growth spurts). With breastmilk, it's quality of milk rather than quantity of milk that makes the difference. Babies drinking breastmilk from a bottle actually usually overeat--not that it is harmful to them to have "too much" breastmilk but it's not really necessary. So, if you cup feed the baby will eat until he/she is full and then stop which means the increase in volume won't be more than what the mother can manage.

    As far as maintaining milk supply--these are the foods that helped me a lot. First is oatmeal. For the first 8 months I ate a large bowl of oatmeal with a little bit of real maple syrup for flavoring (has some trace minerals in it that are healthy for you). I did this every day. If I didn't do it, there was a noticeable change in my milk pumping output for the day. Second is green vegetables. I ate Shanghai veggie or choy sum every single day and now I've switched to raw, baby spinach because it's in season--I have a huge bowl of this every single day for lunch. The last thing is a very good quality calcium supplement. I use USANA Active Calcium.

    I was having difficulties with milk supply after my cycle came back and I did go on domperidone and was taking fennel and fenugreek (we're talking like 6 tablespoons of each in a cupfull of water about 2-3 times/day--I literally was sweating fenugreek from my pores--smelled like maple syrup all the time!) and that did help to kickstart the increase in milk production but....then I got hold of the Active Calcium and instantly my milk supply went up and remained stable. That was probably the reason why I wasn't having very good milk production to begin with--low on calcium.

    Of course, good water intake is really important but I never have a problem with that. I probably drink 1-2 liters of water every day usually so it's not an issue with me. Rest is important and not being over-stressed.

    Hope you'll have a very successful breastfeeding time. I told myself I would give it eight weeks this time around. I certainly have gone through my problems both with my first and with my second child. But, my daughter turned 9-months-old yesterday and I'm still breastfeeding her and that's amazing--very thankful to God. It hasn't been easy but it has been good.
    “Many women have described their experiences of childbirth as being associated with a
    spiritual uplifting, the power of which they have never previously been aware …
    To such a woman childbirth is a monument of joy within her memory.
    She turns to it in thought to seek again an ecstasy which passed too soon.”

    ~ Grantly Dick-Read (Childbirth Without Fear)

    Mother of Two
    JMW, boy, born November 29, 2007, 9:43 pm, USA
    MJW, girl, born March 17, 2011, 4:14 pm, HK

  6. #6
    Gracey is offline Registered User
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    Help! Maybe you pumping moms can give me advice.

    I've been BFing every 3 hours at home from morning till 10 pm, at which time my baby goes to bed and usually sleeps the night without a feed. She's 4 months now.

    I'm going back to work when she's 5 months. So I'm trying to get used to pumping and get her used to the bottle. (Another long story).

    But I don't get much when I pump. This is a problem, as it's hard to train her on the bottle when I can't pump enough between BFs. Also, I worry my production will drop even more after I go back to work,

    When do you pump? Before feeds? After feeds? Right in that period between feeds?

    Oddly, my manual pump, which is a PAIN to use, actually gets more out. I bought a Medela Mini electric pump -- and it stops getting milk out of me after 10-15 minutes, and I usually only get about 3 oz. My baby is a BIG eater and this is not enough.

    My workplace is not going to be pumping friendly. I'm not going to get special treatment because I'm a mom, and all of us work 8, 9-hour shifts without a break. I mean, we can't even make it out for lunch. There hasn't been a working mom in our department (except me) since I started at this company years ago.

    Even going to the toilet to pump for 20 minutes might raise eyebrows. I'm going to try my best, but I don't know if it's going to work.

    If I don't manage to pump -- or pump much -- during my work days, will my body still produce enough in the mornings and nighttimes so I can at least feed twice a day? :(
    Last edited by Gracey; 12-18-2011 at 11:36 AM.

  7. #7
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gracey View Post
    When do you pump? Before feeds? After feeds? Right in that period between feeds?
    I had to experiment a little bit when I first started. But, I found that what worked best was breastfeeding my daughter throughout the night (co-sleeping) and then a long feed in the morning before we got up (6:30-7:30 am) and then pumping after I had eaten breakfast (8:00 am). I would then feed mid-morning (10:00 am) and pump right afterward. Then I would breastfeed at lunchtime, eat and then pump again. Then I would breastfeed mid-afternoon and pump again afterward. Then feed at dinnertime and pump afterward and then in the evening I would just feed about 2-3 more times and pump one more time before bed. That was just to get my milk supply up. I never pumped longer than 15 minutes at a time no matter what the output was. I use a Medela (Pump in Style, older model) double, electric breastpump and I do breast compressions while I pump which greatly helps the output.

    Oddly, my manual pump, which is a PAIN to use, actually gets more out. I bought a Medela Mini electric pump -- and it stops getting milk out of me after 10-15 minutes, and I usually only get about 3 oz. My baby is a BIG eater and this is not enough.
    You see the note above about cup feeding versus bottle feeding. I also have a baby who is a BIG eater but when we put her on cup feeding at about 5 months she actually only drank about 4 ounces a feeding or a little less. Her weight gain has been great and no problems at all.

    Even going to the toilet to pump for 20 minutes might raise eyebrows. I'm going to try my best, but I don't know if it's going to work.
    This will be a problem because in order to keep your milk supply up you're going to need to pump probably at least three times/day if you're not having a breastfeeding session during the time you're at work. Each time will take you on average 15 minutes. I would be upfront with your boss and explain that you are requesting that time. If you need, get a note from the doctor. Who knows how it will go but you had better be prepared to do it at least three times/day.

    If I don't manage to pump -- or pump much -- during my work days, will my body still produce enough in the mornings and nighttimes so I can at least feed twice a day? :(
    If you don't breastfeed every 4-5 hours or pump your supply is probably going to drop off. It will be hard to go for a 10-hour stretch without breastfeeding or pumping and keep up your supply. Also, pumping is not the equivalent of breastfeeding in terms of maintaining a breastmilk supply. I would contact La Leche League in Hong Kong immediately for advice on a gameplan to help you if you're really serious about keeping at this while you're working.
    “Many women have described their experiences of childbirth as being associated with a
    spiritual uplifting, the power of which they have never previously been aware …
    To such a woman childbirth is a monument of joy within her memory.
    She turns to it in thought to seek again an ecstasy which passed too soon.”

    ~ Grantly Dick-Read (Childbirth Without Fear)

    Mother of Two
    JMW, boy, born November 29, 2007, 9:43 pm, USA
    MJW, girl, born March 17, 2011, 4:14 pm, HK

  8. #8
    charade is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by thanka2 View Post
    I would then feed mid-morning (10:00 am) and pump right afterward. Then I would breastfeed at lunchtime, eat and then pump again. Then I would breastfeed mid-afternoon and pump again afterward. Then feed at dinnertime and pump afterward and then in the evening I would just feed about 2-3 more times and pump one more time before bed.
    By "afterwards", do you mean right after your baby breastfed...i.e. without a break? Didn't your breasts feel sort of empty after your baby fed... but did you just pump anyway?

    I also pumped for my son but want to do better this time round. I'll try the fenugreek thing also.

    I'm not a poster child for pumping but my experience was that my supply did drop off. It's harder when you work a full 9 hour day though I know some women who have managed to keep their babies exclusively on breastmilk for a year. Part of my problem was my diet was a mess because my son had reflux and I kept eliminating things to see what was causing it, resulting in me eating practically nothing. Also, once I returned to work and my son was on the bottle, I started skipping the middle-of-night feed (and having someone else bottlefeed him) which of course is not great for supply.

    My experience is that the pump will not give as much milk as direct breastfeeding. I was also advised to eat a good breakfast and pump after and also to eat protein-rich food.

    One tip: if you have problems with let-down in office - honestly pumping in the loo is so depressing - look at a photo of your baby and try to visualise him/her. It really helps.

    Also, the more one stresses about how much milk one is getting through the pump, the less one gets in my opinion. So my approach was to try and be 'whatever' about the quantity and just do my best.

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