Questions for breastfeeding nurses...

  1. I am starting my first new nurse job on Tuesday (12 hr shifts). I breastfeed my five month old son exclusively. How hard is it to maintain milk supply while being away from baby for 13 hrs, three days a week? Also, how realistic is it to think that I will be able to pump at least once during the day while at work (I will be in a busy L&D unit)? I guess I am wanting some advice/words of wisdom from someone who has "been there, done that". Thanks!!
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  2. 17 Comments

  3. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I returned to work when my exclusively-breastfeeding daughter was 5 mo old, too. It was not that hard. I had a VERY good pump (Medela Pump in Style) and used my dinner/lunch breaks to pump. I usually managed to pump at least twice in my 12 hour shift.

    She breastfed for nearly 18 months, so as you can see, I managed to make it work. Just be sure you keep up a healthy diet, drink plenty of water, and have a good pump, and picture of the baby with you for when you do pump. You will make it work I think, if you do these things.

    Good luck and congrats.
  4. by   Dixielee
    BTDT....had to pump during my lunch break, and usually one quick pump later on. It was worth it. I have worked where smokers get a smoke break every 2 hours or so, I figured it was my turn to take an important break and I did it. You may not take breaks for yourself, but you will for your child. Funny how that works.
  5. by   TazziRN
    My baby was not exclusively breast fed because of a supply problem, but I still pumped so that I could give her as much as I possible could. I pumped every two-three hours and I was lucky enough to have a manager who supported that. The manager I had when I went on maternity leave was not supportive of pumping at work, but she had never had kids and I don't think she understood. I had a different manager when I went back to work 3 months later. One of my coworkers is breastfeeding a 6-month-old and she pumps once or twice a 12-hour shift. We do our best to make sure, no matter how busy it is, that she has the breaks to pump even if we don't have time to eat. It can be done, dont worry!
  6. by   GeminiTwinRN
    there are 3 nurses on my unit that pump usuallly 2-3 times in a 12 hour shift. usually it's not a problem at all- although there are those extremely busy days that it's an incredible inconvenience to find other nurses to cover themm while pumping, but still it works out.

    you should be fine.
  7. by   HappyNurse82
    Buy a good pump !! I used whisper wear, nobody could ever tell. Went through loads of batteries..but it was worth it ! Good luck!
  8. by   OC_An Khe
    Just a word of encouragement from a non breast feeding RN, being of the male gender. I have worked with many a new Mom who needed to pump during their work schedule and there was never a problem with them getting the time they needed to pump. I also have never heard of any one complaining about another RN who needed to take this time. Management has been very supportive in this regard also.
  9. by   RN007
    Congrats on your new job! And I commend you for wanting to keep breastfeeding. I pumped for both my kids when I was in my corporate job. For the first I had a private office -- no problem. For the second, I had a cubicle, so I had to pump in the bathroom in front of anyone who walked in, but I handled it discretely and while some didn't get it, they learned to leave me alone. I know working in L&D is busy, but I can't imagine a more supportive work environment. At least I hope it is for you. Good luck, and like you've been told before, remember to drink lots of water!
  10. by   Jo Dirt
    My children never would accept a bottle, even if it had breastmilk in it.
    It was also extremely painful for me to pump my breasts.
    I basically have to stay at home with mine until they start on solid foods.
  11. by   ElvishDNP
    I did it while working in a doctors office and while working mother-baby. Your hospital may have a pumping room with pumps & stuff already set up, you will just need to have the tubing etc. Ask the hospital lactation consultant if you have one, or your manager. I did end up having milk supply issues but my son still breastfed for 15months. It is difficult but doable. I found that people were more willing to cover for me while I pumped for 20 minutes than if I ate for 20 minutes.

    I echo the other folks' sentiments -- rest well, eat/hydrate well, take a picture of her or one of her blankies that has her smell on it. And on your days off, you may have to nurse her a little more frequently to keep your supply up, if you can. Many kudos to you for wanting to keep BFing!! You will not regret it!
  12. by   gr8rnpjt
    With my first 3 children, I was a SAHM, or I worked part time and had a supportive spouse who would bring my baby to the office and take us to the park where we would sit in the car and nurse.
    My son, who was born 4 years ago to a different spouse who was not supportive of breastfeeding at all, was breast/bottle fed. I worked for an insurance company, but I was working on site at a large community hospital. I was amazed to find that there was a lactation consultant assigned exclusively to the employees who were breastfeeding children. There were 2 very private locked rooms, each with a comfortable chair and a hospital quality double pump available to employees down the hall between the OB unit and the nursery. I was amazed that these services were also available to me, not an employee, but working for the insurance company! The LC was great, and I felt very taken care of. She even said to me, "I see you every day, I consider you an employee!" She was wonderful...
    Unfortunately the father was not so supportive and I had to stop breastfeeding at 6 months due to ongoing conflicts about how unfair it was that I had this special bond with my son. The father is a very needy and insecure person. (sigh)
    But fortunately, I still have a special bond with my son, something the father cannot take away from us, nor change no matter how hard he tries.

    As long as you have that support system and it is strong, you will do fine.
  13. by   donormom
    I think it is wonderful that you want to bf when you return to work. If you really want to do it, I know that you can do it! Plan ahead and talk with your supervisor.

    I bf my last 2 exclusively for the first 6 months and then one weaned herself at 15 months and the baby was weaned against her will at 2 1/2 yrs. (my will, too! I still miss it and she is almost 5!!) The bond is so strong with my baby that I was recently asked if I was still bf her!!

    Good luck!! Let us know how it goes.

    Karen
  14. by   Spidey's mom
    I had my last (surprise) baby at 43. I decided that I would not ever work full-time again but did have to go back part-time so we could still have medical insurance (dh is a private contractor logging truck driver). I went back to work when my son was 4 months old and he hated bottles.

    I, like Deb, had a great pump, the Medela Pump In Style. I pumped twice a day at work and my family would bring my son in at least once during the day to breastfeed. I didn't have any problems with milk supply.

    You simply must make sure you get your legally earned breaks and not put up with any shenanigans from higher ups.

    My son breastfed until he was 3 1/2. (Yep ).

    Good luck with your job and congrats on your new baby!

    steph

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