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I don't know if I'm looking for encouragement or permission to let go, but I'm thinking about calling it quits with bfing. Lynsey is 4.5 months old now, I'm emotionally not ready to quit, but physically feel like I've been fighting a loosing battle since returning to work six weeks ago. My job is simply too overwhelming as an upper manager trying to catch up after being off for three months. I carry my pump everyday and promise I'll make time to pump and end up running around the office all day putting out fires and the entire day has escaped me and I promise to find the time the next day and just never seem to. As my supply dimishes Lynsey becomes less interested and we are stuck in a vicious cycle that is now becoming a battle just to get her to latch. I had really hoped to be able to keep enough of a supply for atleast some comfort nursing for a year, but it's no longer comforting for her, it's frustrating both of us. I'd be willing to try and pump like a mad dog on the weekends if it would make any difference, but I just don't know if it would at this point. All thoughts are welcome and thanks in advance.

Barbara
Mom to Lynsey via TS 5/20/02

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Hello Barbara,

Breastfeeding is challenging for a working mom but there are some tricks of the trade so to speak that can help you. One suggestion I can make is to try hand expression instead of pumping, every chance you get. You can do it in the bathroom. Take 2 minutes to empty your breasts and put the milk in a cooler with an icepack. You can get a "soft bag" in black that looks like a purse and keep it with you as you run around putting out fires in the office. If you can find a way to pump at lunchtime or just before you leave the office, great. If you hand express while at work it will keep your milk supply going

My next suggestion is that your 4 1/2 month old doesn't necessarily have to breastfeed on a conventional schedule. Many working moms breastfeed as much as they can while they are home. You can be as creative as you like with this. You can breastfeed all evening, and once in the night and when you wake up. This way you can spend all evening with your precious angel and part of the night. You'd be amazed at how many hours per day with your baby that this works out to. If you find your baby refusing to breastfeed, get into the bath with her. Skin to skin contact is fabulous for reconnecting.

Have you used a supplementer at the breast? This is a wonderful way to keep your baby breastfeeding while supplementing with either your pumped breastmilk or formula. You're baby only needs about 1/2 oz of breastmilk per feeding to get all the immune benefits.

There are herbs that you can take to help you with your milk supply. If you go to the breastfeeding section of this site and look at the Newman-Goldfarb protocols, the herbs are there. Lenore recommends fenugreek and blessed thistle in combination. They worked quite well for me.

You probably feel like breastfeeding will never end but you're only 1 1/2 months away from your baby starting solids. Once that happens, you're baby's need for breastmilk will diminish anyway. In the meantime, Why should you miss out on all the fun parts of being a mommy?

You know these are very important months for you and your baby to spend together. They grow up so quickly. Get as much time in as you can. The bonding that you do now will help you later when you child is older and you have to spend time at the office. You'll always have this unique intimacy that only you and your daughter share. And the gift you're giving will last her whole life.

Try to find the strength to go on breastfeeding just a little longer. You won't regret it.

Esther







#134 10/07/02 06:03 PM
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Barbara,
I saw your post and felt compelled to respond. First of all I want to say that you have done such a great job so far. Esther has given you a lot of good advice. I know exactly how you feel. When my son was 3 months old I felt that I couldn't do it anymore. It was very cumbersome to drag the darn pump with me wherever I went and finding the time to pump during a very busy workday was impossible. I was very burnt out from the whole process. I would get very upset when I only saw maybe one ounce in the bottle after pumping when I knew that I could do so much better. In hindsight my stress caused by the nursing/pumping drastically dropped my supply. I too fought with the feeling that quitting would be better for the both of us. I made a list of reasons to keep going and reasons to stop. My reasons to keep going far outweighed my reasons to stop. As a matter of fact after reading my list of reasons to stop it became apparent to me that they were selfish reasons (ie - dragging that darn pump with me, finding time to pump, etc). From that point forward I decided to make a schedule and stick to it no matter what. I pump 2x at work at 10:00 and at 1:00. I found that I didn't necessarily need to pump for the 15-20 minutes that are recommended. It usually takes me just 5-7 minutes to empty my breasts and then another 5 minutes to put my stuff together and clean up. I could definitely make 10 minutes a doable situation. And like I said with exceptions of meetings I always break away from whatever I am doing to pump. I take that time and drink a cup of coffee, read an article in a magazine or do some deep breathing relaxation exercises. Since I put myself on the strict schedule I actually look forward to my "breaks". I look forward to getting away from the fast pace of my job to just take a breather. When I told myself that I will do the best I can and not stress over this my milk supply increased. I also pump before bed and once during the night (at least I try to). Ryan is now 9 months old and he L-O-V-E-S his quiet mommy-time. I thought that when he was 3 months old that he wouldn't really notice the difference if I just gave him bottles but now that he is 9 months old and it is a different story. We have established such a strong bond and "our" time together is cherished by the both of us. I would change the decisions I made for a million dollars.

My point is, working and pumping is a very difficult thing. It was one the hardest routines for me to adapt to. Don't give up. You can do it. Try establishing a schedule and stick to it. When Lynsey gets old enough to tug at your shirt or when she is nursing and smiles and milk dribbles out the sides of her mouth you will realize that all of your efforts were worth it.

Good luck to you.

Regards,
Lisa

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Thanks Ester and Lisa, after having a few days to reflect I think i was actually looking for encouragement which you both offered, things aren't going so well right now, but I'm not giving up without a fight, I'm sure since I still do have milk I can get my supply back up enough for atleast some cuddle time. My pump is packed for work and tomorrow is a whole new day. Thanks again, and I'll check back in in a week or so and let you know if all the advice has helped any as I'm sure it will.

Barbara
Mom to Lynsey 5/20/02

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Have you thought about joining relactation boot camp on the ABRW board?


Shannon Randolph Mom to 13 month old Cassie (adopted from Vietnam) and 2 week old Will (homegrown)

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