View Full Version : Tips needed- working and breastfeeding
I have unexpectedly been offered a job which includes the ability to work part time in a fairly family friendly environment. I have been able to arrange some temporary childcare at home until something more permanent comes along, but my main concern is that I am still breastfeeding DD2 who is now 7 months old, and am unsure about how we will go leaving her at home with a carer. She has taken some EBM from a bottle in the past, but only ever in the evening on the rare occasion that I have gone out, and never in place of a normal day time feed. She has started on solids, but as I have posted in another thread, she is less than enthusiastic about them at present, so I can't rely on her having solids in my absence to keep her going. If I accept the job I will start in about 2 weeks time so any suggestions on how to prepare - both her and me - for the change to bottles in my absence will be gratefully accepted. I am looking for advice on when to express, which bottles to use, teats, and any other tips you can think of.
I should note that I am keen to avoid using formula if possible.
Thanks in anticipation
I was back at work (part time) when my babies were 7 and 6 months old, which involved a little overlap of breast feeding and working.
V early on my lactation consultant told me that the best teats to get were the ones that are quite long, about the length of the last two joints of your little finger and round in cross section (not the "orthopedic" shape). This is closest to the shape of your nipple.
You should express at around the times you would normally feed baby and don't worry too much about the volume you get, it is more to "remind" your breasts that they should be doing something so that your supply doesn't drop. I found it easiest to bring a small cool pack with an ice brick and my breast pump in it to work (don't run the risk of someone mistakenly using your precious breast milk from the fridge for their coffee - never happened to me, but I have heard of it :eek: ). The breast milk will be absolutely fine there until you get home. I only had to answer the question about what was in my cooler bag once with "you don't really want to know", after which the offender went red as he realised and no-one else asked after that :D .
Best of luck with getting your DD to take the bottle, that may be the trickiest thing. With DD1, I had to express most of her feeds for the first 5 weeks, so she always took a bottle just fine. With DD2 we offered her a bottle about once a week from when she was about 6 weeks old, as I knew that I'd want her to take EBM. Sometimes she took it sometimes not, but when I did go back to work she took EBM just fine.
I tried to be away for as few feeds as poss (mainly because I wanted to minimise expressing). I worked (and still work) a 20 hour, 3 day week with plenty of flexibility and I found that the short days helped to minimise feeding disruption, even if I had to take some work home to do. I was also able to express at night to keep up with the required volumes, DDs both had last feeds at about 6pm. With DD1, I would regularly hand express after a shower each night and get about 40 - 50 mL, which was plenty to top up the expressing I'd done during the day so that she didn't need formula. With DD2, I was a bit "over" expressing and got a bit slack and started to supplement the odd feed with formula, I think having the toddler just makes you that bit more tired. But it would depend on your own priorities, you're a bit more passionate about it than I was.
Cheers (and enjoy the part time life - I keep telling people I want to work part time for the rest of my life - but I don't want to keep having babies every 2 years :p )
like you i wanted to avoid formula altogether. i was away 1 day per week from 6 weeks and 2 days per week from 4 months of age and by the time she got to 5 1/2 months, i started using formula in my absence as months of expressing had left me exhausted and she was eating solids anyway. on the days i am away from her she still gets 3-4 feeds anyway (vs 5-6 when i am with her all day) and so i figure she is still getting enough of the good stuff!! :) I plan to let her self-wean and am a huge br'feeding advocate, but as I said, was really over expressing after months of it.
can't offer much advice about getting bubs to take a bottle. alice had no prob's there, but i did start her on them at times when she was extra hungry or thirsty as I had heard that motivates them a bit more to take it.
Thank you both for your advice. I have started writing down the times that I feed her as I have been demand feeding and couldn't have told you how many feeds she has a day. I figure that this way I can work out how many she will need to have while I am gone, how much milk to leave, and how many she will still have if she refuses the bottle in my absence. One question - how much milk should I be leaving per feed for her? I have a pretty good supply but no idea how much she needs once it is expressed.
I am realistic enough to know that she might need formula if it all goes pear-shaped, but would like to try just using EBM first. I had great plans to give DD2 bottles from an early age so that she would take them if I was out (as DD1 refused to take a bottle until after I had weaned her onto a cup), but as my husband is away a lot and there is no one else to give them to her, and I had no plans to go back to work for another few months, I sort of let it all slip. Now of course regret sets in........
But the friend who is going to care for the girls is coming over tomorrow morning so we will start trying the bottle to see how everyone copes - I thought I would go to the shops while it was happening so that I am not there to distract her from the bottle (and to buy more bottles, and teats of course!). Fingers crossed.
Thanks again for the advice - I will be dusting off the cooler bag in readiness for the return to work. Now I just have to work out what to wear after all these months in "mummy" clothes.....but that is another story!
I think you've just got to guess at amounts until you've got it right. I always tried to leave a bit more than I thought she'd need and get feedback from your carer as to how much she had and whether she seemed to need more. At your DD's age, I suppose you could start at about 220 mL and see if she drinks it all. I think the ABA have some info based on childs weight and how many feeds they have.
I still smile remembering how I would "count" DD1's EBM every night, it would give me the same pleasure as counting the money in my money box when I was little. And the sense of pride I had when I built up 600 mL (yes a whole PINT :D ) in readiness for my return to work (alas with DD2 I just wasn't quite as passionate about it).
Best of luck
from 6 weeks - 3 1/3 months, i would always leave 3 x 120ml bottles of EBM per day (I was away from her from 8am-4pm).
Once she started eating solids (~ 3 1/2 months) i found it started to reduce and by 4 months she was only having 2 bottles (2x120ml) in my absence, which made it a little easier on me, although I found it actually took longer to express the same amount by this time.
now that she has formula when I'm out, she still only has 2 bottles while I'm away (sometimes 1 and 1/2. she really much prefers the boob and is pretty desperate when I get home!!! :p )
hope this helps.
Thought I would update you that I started work last week and my biggest concern was leaving DD2 to take a bottle. I bought a can of formula as a back up and left several 80ml bottles of EBM in the freezer. The first day she had two lots of 40mls of EBM and the second day she had two bottles of 150mls of EBM - and wasn't too worried by the whole thing apparently. Expressing at work hasn't been a drama so far - and most of my office is staffed by mother's working part time so I haven't even bothered to label the milk in the fridge as I figure they will see a baby bottle and work it out pretty quickly!
So - thank you for your advice - all of it has been useful so far!
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