can you go 8 hours without pumping?

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  • #165959
    espmespm
    Participant

    Hi fellow Moms,
    I am returning to work as a hospitalist next month after taking a year off to be a stay-at-home mom. With my new job, I will only be working 1 shift a week to start. My new baby will be 5 months old when I go back to work. Is it possible to go 8-9 hours without pumping (one hospitalist shift) and be OK with regards to maintaining my milk supply? I have pumped while working full-time before and found it to be a pain on the rear. I am thinking that if I only work once a week, I can avoid pumping at work. I plan to nurse my baby right before I leave and immediately when I get back, and also pump 2-3 times a week on days when I’m not working. I guess my question is, has anyone occasionally gone 8-9 hours without breastfeeding or pumping and not had a drop in their milk supply? My baby still gets up once a night to nurse. Thanks.

    #165960
    nerdynerdy
    Participant

    Hi, won’t you be uncomfortable (engorged feeling) after 8-9 hours?

    #165962
    lyn2006lyn2006
    Participant

    I gradually weaned myself to pump only every 8 hours, and then every 12 hours. It was uncomfortable at first, but worth it to me to not pump much at work! It took a few days to adjust (but I am a resident who works 60-65 hrs/week so I pumped a lot!) and my supply regulated to how often I pumped – ie, I still pumped about the same amount of ounces per pumping. So overall my amount decreased, but I was ok with that.

    I think it’s different for everyone though! Good luck 🙂

    #165963
    espmespm
    Participant

    Yes, I probably would be pretty uncomfortable from engorgement. I am worried that if I take time to pump, I’ll get behind in my work. Being away from work for a year has made me pretty anxious about going back, even on a very limited basis. Thanks so much for your opinions/advice.

    #165964
    southernmdsouthernmd
    Participant

    Every time I stretched out pumping – I made the same I would have each session no matter when I pumped. Basically, that is how I lost my supply. Mostly I’ve heard other women tell tales of their experience similar to mine, but I do have a very good friend who is a SLP, and she has a busy busy schedule with three kids in daycare, preschool and regular school. She started pumping in the morning for her youngest and not again the rest of the day, and her body adjusted and pumped like an insane 20 oz in that one pump and never reduced her amount. It was crazy. I’m not sure how you will know ahead of time which lady you will be, but I do believe that my experience is a bit more common.

    #165965
    PeggySuePeggySue
    Participant

    My experience was like that of southern’s – at the very beginning maybe I could make up for lost sessions, but after 6 months or so I would only ever make the same amount per pump session.

    #165966
    asunshineasunshine
    Participant

    Yup, same experience as southern’s. I’d cut down my pumping, and my supply wouldn’t bounce back. Maybe just 1 day per week would make it easier to recover, though. It maybe also won’t be so bad once your baby was older and didn’t need to get all of his/her nutrition from you, too.

    Even one pumping session would make all the difference. You could still dictate/answer calls and pump at the same time, especially with a hands-free pump.

    #165967
    AmmaMDAmmaMD
    Participant

    I wonder if maybe pumping just once a day wouldn’t be that bad. I pumped q4-5h as an intern (back when we still worked 36h shifts) and it was fine – I just found a call room to pump in, so I could have a desk with a computer and phone, and I wrote notes / answered pages / looked up lab values / etc. I did this on ward rotations, ER rotations, you have it. In fact, it was rather productive time, since noone could come find me to interrupt me!

    Also, this might sound odd, but – I found that I would get increasingly anxious / on edge the longer I’d gone without nursing or pumping, but once I pumped, I felt much better/calmer again. So honestly, I would not want to pick starting a new job as a time to quit! As everyone’s said, though, everyone’s body seems to be different, here….

    #165973
    PeggySuePeggySue
    Participant

    Oh yes to Anna – I also would get anxious if I went too long without pumping. Even several months after stopping I still feel a little “on edge” sometimes during what were my usual pumping times.

    And to echo those who mentioned working while pumping – a friend of mine who was pumping while a OB-Gyn intern would pump with a cover in their shared workroom while charting (!!!). So be comforted by the many women have gone before you!

    #165975
    southernmdsouthernmd
    Participant

    I once pumped at a concert with my cover. I’m convinced that with a cover – you can do it many places. Maybe not while doing an H&P, but ….other than that! LOL

    #166003
    ohiomommdohiomommd
    Participant

    … I nursed in the Splash Zone at Sea World with a a cover. Off topic, sorry, but sharing the mental image was worth logging in 🙂

    And as far as pumping for one day / week, I would consider scheduling a break for notes/ catch up / lunch and pump then. you’ll worry less about baby, you can always drop it later if you don’t need, and you won’t worry about supply while you’re at work.

    Alternatively, I’ve hand-pumped a few times minutes, a few times per day when I only worked 1-2 days.(4th year med school!) That didn’t bring home enough for baby to drink that day but it did keep up my nursing rhythm.

    good luck!

    #166027
    espmespm
    Participant

    Thanks to all for your advice and support. Now I have another dilemma 🙁 I left my son for 5 hours yesterday for orientation and he refused to drink from the bottle with the babysitter. I tried throughout the day to give him the bottle but he would just scream. His dad tried too without success. He is now 4 months old. I had been giving him bottles last month without problems! I guess this is just a sign that he is maturing but it’s extremely stressful for me. I’m going to see if he will do better with a cup or even with a spoon, though he is still pretty young.

    #166028
    AmmaMDAmmaMD
    Participant

    All I can say is: DON’T PANIC. We totally went through this, at the same age. It had been fine with my first child, and then right right right when I start going back, it fell apart, and I immediately jumped to this fear that he would never take a bottle and I would be forced to choose between my career and my child and blah blah blah. We tried a couple of different bottles, with a couple of different feeding positions, and making sure to offer it when he was calm and happy sometimes (and sleepy… and not starving and mad about it…), and were soon back on track. Turns out the vast majority of the time, that’s what happens. But when the issue first came up, I was just terrified. And, honestly, even if it did turn out to be that rare case that where the bottle just never works again, by 4mo he totally can go straight to drinking from a spoon or a cup if needbe – especially if you’re not working crazy 36h shifts or anything.

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