Pumping through a 12 hr shift. — The Bump

Pumping through a 12 hr shift.

Any nurses out there that can give their advice and guidance? I'm returning to work

On Monday. DS is ebf. He takes a bottle from dh without an issue. I have a good freezer stash started.


What does your pump schedule look like when you work a 12 hr shift? I've been pumping after my first am feed.  I'm thankful I only have to work three days a week but I'm terrified being away from home for 13-14 hours is going to kill my milk supply. 

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Re: Pumping through a 12 hr shift.

  • I'm a doc who works three twelves. I BF at seven, pump on the way to work at 7:30, then I pump at 10:00, 1:00, 4:00 and 7:00. She is usually asleep by the time I get home at 8:30, so I pump around 9:00 as well. I also pump after her morning feeding and at 9:00 pm on days I am home with her. I can just keep up with her needs with all that pumping-- I never really have any extra, so it is kind of stressful. It is worth it though! Good luck!
  • When I first went back to work I just pumped on my breaks. So a morning, lunch, and evening. As a nurse it was impossible to have an actual schedule, but my coworkers have been awesome about making sure I get time to pump.
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  • Also a doc but similar constraints as an RN.

    Pumped on my way to work or before my first surgery (7ish).

    Pumped at least three times during the day.

    Pumped on my way home (6 ish).

    Some days were harder than others.  As long as I could hand express even for a few minutes I always knew it was better than nothing.  I got my pumping down to 10 minutes or less on most occasions; I would pump longer if time permitted.

    You can do it!!

    Three losses in 2009; Boy/Girl twins born in 2010 image
  • I'm not a nurse but I worked 12 hour shifts when I went back to work. I would nurse before work then pump. At work I pumped after 4 hours and after 8 hours. Then when I got home I would either nurse or pump depending on if LO was awake.

    My advice: stay flexible. You may have to try different schedules to see what works best for you! Eventually you'll get it down. And take care of yourself- eat well and drink lots of water!

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  • I do two 12 hour shifts. I nursed DS before I left and pumped the other side for later ( he only took 1 side in the am). I would then pump every 4 hours from that point ( but I had to be flexible if my patient was sick, etc). So if I nursed at 6, I would pump around 10, 2 and 6. Sometimes I would pump at 1 (used my hands free bra and ate lunch) then 5.
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  • I am also an RN, I work 12 hour night shifts as well. My advice is to pump whenever you are able....going back to work (and the stress) made my supply take a hit....but if you pump at least every 3-4 hours you will be fine! It will seem like you are pumping all the time at work, but it will help keep your supply up. Be sure to drink LOTS of water at work, that will help a lot as well. I also started eating steel cut oatmeal and sometimes lactation cookies when I went back...to keep supply up. For my 12 hour night shift, this is my schedule: bf right before I leave (6pm), then pump at 10, 2, 6, and either bf or pump when I get home. Then I have to wake up every few hours to pump while DS is at daycare. Hope that helps!
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