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Some questions for mums who work & express
7 replies to this topic
Posted 22 February 2007 - 06:56 PM
I am returning to work (3 days a week) after Easter, DD2 will be 8.5 months. I am hoping to keep breastfeeding for as long as possible, and I know this will mean expressing probably twice a day. Through my experience in expressing, I think it may be unlikely that I'll have enough EBM to replace all the feeds while I'm at work. SO I'm curious whether other mums use a mixture of EBM and formula? If I use formula, I can be pretty sure DD would go 4 hours between feeds but I know with EBM she might only reach 3hours...so I'm not sure if I'll need 2 or 3 bottles. And of course, I won't want her carers giving her a bottle for at least 3 hours before I pick her up so I know she'll be hungry and feed from me properly.
Any observations or advice in similar situations?
Posted 23 February 2007 - 07:26 AM
I have recently returned to work 2 days a week and express twice whil I am away.
For the first few days I left 240ml of EBM and a bottle of water for formula so I could gage how much EBM DS (7months) needed.
Turns out while I am away he will hold out for up to 5 hours for the first feed (I guess hoping I will return to feed him) then he will feed 3 -4 hours after that one. At the first feed he will drink only 120ml(sometimes not even that) then at the second feed he will drink less than the 120ml (just enough to take the edge off.) The last feed is about 2 hours before I get home. As soon as I get home and pick him up he looks for food and has a huge drink. (this is around 4-4:30pm) He will then have another BF at around 6:30pm just before bed and then again around 10:30pm. He catches up throughout the evening and then by his middle of the night feed he is back to his normal routine. It is apparently called reverse cycling ans is very common in bubs who are given EBM while mum is away. That Kellymom site has a bit about it.
As for the expressing sometimes I will only get 120ml over both expressing sessions (enough for one replacement bottle) and other times I will get enough for 2 bottles. I found if I didn't drink enough then I wouldn't get enough. So I now make a concious effort to drink plenty throuhgout the day (very hard when you are teaching). If I don't get enough for two bottles I will express a bit after each feed for teh next few days to make up the short fall. Especially over the weekend when DH can take DS while I express. I even try to get extra feed when I do this so there is back up incase.
I also still leave a bottle of water for formula incase he ever drinks the whole 240ml in the morning and they need something for his afternoon feed.
Posted 23 February 2007 - 11:41 AM
Thanks for replying. When you leave 240mls of EBM, do you leave it in one bottle? Or in freezer bags?
If you leave it in one bottle, does the carer warm the bottle, and then leave it out til the next feed?
Posted 24 February 2007 - 01:01 AM
I would suggest trying to pump more than the number of feeds you're missing. If you miss two feeds, try to pump three times - even if one of them is after you get home. (I used to do this.........really built up a flagging supply once I added in the extra pump.) You're probably generally more relaxed when you get home as well, which may make expressing at this time more productive in terms of supplying the missing feeds.
If you can, get your top half as naked as possible (hard at work, I know) and put a warm flannel on your breasts before you start: helped me a few times when i was too stressed out ti think straight.
Posted 24 February 2007 - 09:53 AM
I started work when DS was 7 months, first 4 days a week (DP home full time), then 3 days. I expressed till DS was 17 months, he's still feeding now
Prior to starting work I tried to build up a supply in the freezer (at one stage I had over 5 litres). I drank nursing and fennel tea which seemed to help supply. I would often try to express some extra in the morning - either from one boob as DS drank from the other (easy once you got the hang of it, letdown was better too!) or after his first feed or 2 of the day.
When I went back I expressed mid-morning and mid-arvo (took about 15 min each time); I'd also express once or twice on the weekend - this was enough to keep up with DS's needs (so I had to rotate the freezer stuff). What I tended to do was have 3 or 4 smaller bottles in the fridge with maybe 120-140ml each and they would be used as needed.
I hope the above doesn't put you off - TBH I found it "easy" once we were in the routine and it never felt onerous or hard work. The 15 min break at work was a chance to read the papers and have some down time And the expressing at work was easy (I'd surf the Net at the same time).
You may also find your baby drinks less during the day than if you were at home - she may have a big feed before you leave and then a big one when you get home, as PP have said.
Posted 24 February 2007 - 07:08 PM
The advice here has been great
I used to express for work and just expressed straight into bottles which I dropped off at my FDCarer's house, and she would use them for the next day. I didn't work Fridays, so the milk that I pumped on Thursday, she would freeze and thaw for Monday.
I found that Willow 'reverse cycled', which means that she would feed lots when with me. She had her first feed at about 6am, two bottles of 250ml during the day, a feed at about 5:30pm when we got home, then another one before bed. She'd also feed during the night, gradually decreasing as she got older.
Gonzi, if you PM me your email address, I have a great Word doc that is full of tips about expressing. I've sent it to lots of members here and they've found it very helpful
Posted 25 February 2007 - 06:44 PM
I use those 120ml gladware containers to freeze my milk in and just defrost 2 of those overnight in the fridge and they warm one container and then if he needs more will do the other container (but so far they haven't had to do that).
Posted 26 February 2007 - 08:19 PM
Hi there, I don't mean to tell you how many times a day you should feed your baby (heck, after being gestapo mummy with DS, I feed DD whenever she wants it!), but the number of feeds went down a lot for me when DS started solids.
I returned to work when my DS was almost 8 months. He was an *excellent* eater and was happy to drink diluted juice and water, but was still on four feeds a day, two of which I would be away for. I expressed in the morning before I went to work and while I was feeding him from the other side, then again at lunch at work. After about four weeks for some reason I missed expressing one time, so the next day he only had three feeds. Our nanny said he didn't bat an eyelid, so I took that as my cue to go down to three feeds a day, which only meant expressing once.
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