Working Moms

Pumping at work

There is no way I can pump 5x to replace the 5 bottles DS has at daycare during the work day. My supply is tanking and I want to continue, but there is no way I can keep up and I wonder if it is worth continuing just for two of the five bottles he has during the day.

ETA: Sorry, I guess I should have given more details. DS is 12 weeks old. The first two days of daycare, he got five 5 oz bottles and finished all over the span of the time he is at daycare which is about 8am - 6pm.  I do believe they were overfeeding him an extra bottle because they were feeding every 2 hours instead of every 3. I agree that they were probably feeding him as soon as he fussed instead of trying other things to settle him down. I talked to them yesterday and he only used three 5 oz bottles. They asked if I could add 1 more ounce, so he would take three 6 oz bottles during that period. I think he eats more than average, but he has been from the get go really. He likes to eat. :) I don't want him overfed though.

I'm pumping in the morning before work, twice at work and normally twice each evening (the last time being right before bed). DS has been sleeping for really long stretches and I have slept through the night a few times. Sometimes I get up to pump.

 This morning I had enough pumped milk to send three of his four bottles with all BM and one spare bottle with formula.

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Re: Pumping at work

  • Well i'm a huge BFing supporter so IMO any breast milk is awesome.  So for that reason I'd say keep pumping away and just do your best.  But how old is LO?
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  • How old is your DS?  How long is he in day care?  How much is in each bottle?  5 bottles sounds like it could be too much unless they are small bottles or he is there for a long time.  My kids took 3 or 4 bottles in a 10-hour day.

    That said, you can certainly supplement with formula and continue to pump and send what you can.  I would probably go that route at least through cold and flu season if possible.  Have you tried fenugreek, oatmeal, drinking extra water, etc.?

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  • I have only ever pumped twice each day. Occasionally I will add a session before bed. My DD started with four four ounce bottles and now is at three five or six ounce bottles. In the beginning, I was pumping extra in those two sessions so I would freeze it. Now I don't pump enough so I thaw some. I don't think my backup stash will last till she is a year so I will supplement with formula. Yes, I could add more pumping time but at this point, it isn't worth the missed work and extra stress for me. Do what works for you.

  • Five times would be a lot.  I pump 3 times/day and barely get enough for DD's 4 bottles (5oz each).  I often add a pump session at night or in the morning to supplement.  I tried adding an extra pump session in during the day to avoid having to pump at night, but found I was pumping the exact same number of ounces regardless.  I would say keep pumping, but do what is reasonable for you and your workday and then supplement with formula if you have to.  Good luck!
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  • How many total oz do you send each day?  How many hours is LO there?  How old is your LO?  

    I pump 3x per day at work plus once before bed to get enough for the 12oz to send the next day.  

    "worth it" is pretty subjective - I pumped for my son until I was getting less than half what he needed, then switched to formula. 


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  • I agree that worth it is subjective.  I used to pump after each feeding to try and increase my supply with no luck.  I switched to formula before even returning to work because pumping wouldn't have even given me one full bottle a day and I didn't find that trade off to be worth it.

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  • How much is DS eating while you are gone? If it's more than 15oz, he is likely being overfed, a common problem with BF babies at daycare. 

    You might be able to get away with pumping less often and keep your supply up if you do other things to increase your supply...personally, I love lactation cookies (you'll want a recipe with flax, brewers yeast, and oats - find the first two at a health food store or whole foods, brewers yeast is in the supplement aisle).  Fenugreek, Mother's milk tea, etc can also help.

    If baby is being over fed, instruct DC to slow down feedings so it takes 15min or more per bottle, and to be sure to try other things to calm LO down first.

    Can you pump before bed or in the morning to add a session without cutting time at work? I get the most from my morning pump session while LO nurses from the other side (yes, this gets trickier with a more mobile baby but at 8.5 months we can still do it).  

    But to answer your question, YES, even if LO only gets 2 bottles of BM it is worth it- even 2 ounces per day has beneficial properties for LO.

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  • I pumped at work until DD was 11 months and I had very little. I was not able to pump all she needed so I used about. 30 formula. I found when I pumped at the same times each day my body got used to it. My DD was healthier than many kids and I think it was the breast milk.
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  • Try the bigger bottles. When we started daycare he was taking three 5oz bottles a day and barely making it 3 hours btwn feedings he is in dc 95. They suggested making the bottles 6oz and he now makes it a full 3 hrs or more! So he went from 15oz to 12oz during the day. Since the switch I also provide a "snack" bottle of 23oz in case he needs it before we leave. It made us and daycare happier and I only feel compelled to pump 2x a day.
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