Working one 4-hour shift per week... pumping/feeding problems

PixieCurlPixieCurl Posts: 5,656Registered Users
For the past couple months, I've been working a four-hour shift on Saturday mornings at my gym. Since Solomon's over a year old, I originally thought I would just nurse him before and after my shift, and my husband could feed him solids while I'm gone. Well, Sol's so used to nursing so frequently when I am around, that my husband used up the emergency breastmilk the first week (there wasn't much) and now I've got to try to pump for him every time. I've been having a lot of trouble pumping lately, I just can't seem to get a let-down. I had a bad stomach bug just over a week ago and got very dehydrated, and the pumping's been noticeably worse since then - before I could sometimes pump a bit, especially if Sol would nurse on the other side, but I haven't successfully pumped at all since I was sick. Solomon's nursing like crazy and still peeing and pooping, so I'm pretty sure I'm still making enough milk for him.

Anyway, I don't know what to do about feeding him while I'm gone. This past week, I left them with NO pumped milk. My husband brought him to me to nurse once during my shift, but he was pretty miserable the rest of the time. I know at his age he shouldn't have to nurse so frequently, but he had the same stomach bug I did and has been nursing like crazy as he's been getting over it. I told my husband I would try to pump every day (but I still haven't been successful). Solomon won't drink cow's milk, but I told my husband he could try giving him a bottle of water, or try blending cow's milk with banana to make it sweeter like breastmilk. Or even give him chocolate milk as a last resort.

I'm just at a loss. I know at his age I should be able to be away for four hours, but if we can't get this resolved I'm going to have to give up my shift. It's not fair to either of them to leave them high and dry like this. Any tips for being able to pump again? If for no other reason, I'd like to build up an emergency supply again.
Faith, 3Aish redhead
Mama to two wild superheroes and a curly-headed baby boy :love5:


  • RedCatWavesRedCatWaves Posts: 31,259Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    At 14 months old, for only 4 hours per week...I wouldn't bother pumping. He'll get over it. If he gets hungry enough, he'll eat some solids or take a sippy cup of milk. I think at 14 months old they can start to learn to wait for the breast a little bit.
  • geminigemini Posts: 3,325Registered Users
    Can you practice using substitutes when you're home or close by--that way he gets accustomed to not having breast milk on demand? Maybe you can do that around the same time that you would work your shift. Do you think this is related more to nursing or because he is unhappy when you're gone?

    I would also give soy milk and juice a try, maybe with a solid snack to go with it.

    ETA: I wouldn't pump either.
  • sarah42sarah42 Posts: 4,034Registered Users
    My schedule is similar to yours--I work 4 days a week and am away from Oliver for 3-4 hours each time. I pump when I get home, but I never get enough milk in one pumping session to make up for what he drinks. I also pump first thing in the morning every day, and I get a couple ounces then, which makes up the difference plus gives me extra for a freezer stash. Morning is the time when supply is often the highest, so I would suggest trying to add a pumping session every morning. If you get 1/2 or 1 ounce a day, that should add up to enough for the time you're gone on Saturdays. You could pump on one side while he's nursing on the other side, or try pumping before he wakes up, if that ever happens. There's also fenugreek or mother's milk tea, which could help. Since Solomon is over a year old, he should be able to drink cow's milk. Your idea about blending it with banana is worth a try. Maybe you could even give him formula if necessary--that tastes more like mommy milk and he might drink it. (Although I've tasted it before and I personally think it tastes terrible. :))

    I don't mean to sound callous, and I've never had an older nursling who is nursing very frequently, so I'm no expert. But if your husband is offering solids and cow's milk, you are giving Solomon what he needs during the times Mommy is away, and it might take a few unpleasant days for him to adjust. According to brain research, it takes something like 24 times of doing something to form a new habit. I know you feel like you're being unfair to your husband and Solomon, but you're not depriving him of nutrition or comfort from his parents, and he might just need more time to adjust to drinking cow's milk. I would hate for you to give up working on Saturdays because it's probably something you really enjoy and is good for your mental health.

    I know there are others who have more experience with an older nursling, so hopefully they can weigh in here.
  • geekygeeky Posts: 4,995Registered Users
    I agree with Sarah42 and RCW. At 14 months, you should be able to spend a few hours away from Sol. It may be a rough few days, but both he and your hubby will adjust. Sol is a securely attached little boy. He gets plenty of breastmilk 24 hours a day, 6 days a week and 20 hours a day on the 7th. He gets plenty of emotional nurturing 24-7. He's not being left high and dry. He is being told "You can't have this right now. You will have to wait" and given reasonable substitutes and plenty of support. As he gets older he will have to hear versions of this message more and more.

    If you want to pump more, Sarah's suggestions are good. What kind of pump are you using? Also, with pumping, a consistent routine is really important in my experience. If you need to pump at 10 AM on Saturdays, then you should really pump at 10 AM every day.
    To Trenell, MizKerri and geeky:
    I pray none of you ever has to live in a communist state.

    Geeky is my hero. She's the true badass. The badass who doesn't even need to be a badass. There aren't enough O's in cool to describe her.
  • PixieCurlPixieCurl Posts: 5,656Registered Users
    Thanks for the replies, everyone. I think under normal circumstances it shouldn't be so bad; this week was just worse because he's getting over being sick. I also think maybe another part of the reason he's nursing more frequently is because maybe my milk supply has diminished since I was sick, so he's not getting as much each time he nurses.

    I'm using a Medela single electric pump. It's certainly not hospital-grade or anything fancy. The amount that I've been able to pump since I was sick can't even be measured in ounces, more like drops. He nurses all night and morning so I don't even have an excess first in the morning. I agree that I should make an effort to pump every day if I'm going to pump at all, but I'm very discouraged because I'm not getting anything when I do pump.

    Other question... if we are going to keep trying cow's milk.... I know that at his age he should be getting whole milk - but for him to only drink a small amount once a week, it doesn't seem worth it to buy because so much will go bad and go to waste. Will skim milk - in addition to solids - be so awful if it's only during the time I'm away on Saturday mornings? He'll still get full-fat breastmilk before and after my shift.
    Faith, 3Aish redhead
    Mama to two wild superheroes and a curly-headed baby boy :love5:
  • geekygeeky Posts: 4,995Registered Users
    I wouldn't drink skim milk and I'm not even a frequent nurser.

    You can get single serving cartons of whole milk. I've seen ones that are shelf-stable even.

    You could also try what medussa does and make him fruit smoothies.
    To Trenell, MizKerri and geeky:
    I pray none of you ever has to live in a communist state.

    Geeky is my hero. She's the true badass. The badass who doesn't even need to be a badass. There aren't enough O's in cool to describe her.
  • KaiaKaia Posts: 8,815Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    Could you try something like Vanilla rice milk or add some vanilla nesquick to cow's milk? I know I've bought the rice milk in single serving containers. But honestly, I would say he'll get over it. Four hours is not that long to go without eating at all, and if he does get hungry, just have your husband keep offering other options. It's hard at first, especially when they're not feeling well, but he will get used to it.
    *Poster formerly known as Bailey422*

    Here's all you have to know about men and women: women are crazy, men are stupid. And the main reason women are crazy is that men are stupid. ~ George Carlin
  • ruralcurlsruralcurls Posts: 2,574Registered Users
    I don't think there is a kid on the planet who nursed as frequently as my oldest, and because she was my first I thought it was normal. I eventually realized she was not normal, and bf that frequently was not normal. I was pretty much always around, and she could always have it.
    It is important to know you all will get through it. Even if he doesn't eat at all while you are gone, he won't starve. I wouldn't bother to pump. I would also offer whole milk to him throughout the week. He may get used to it and be able to drink it while you are gone. Have you tried to warm it? My SIL put milk in a bottle after her kids were 1, she felt it was a great comfort to them if she had to be gone.
    I offered my daughter milk after she turned one, she definitely preferred to bf, but sometimes drank it and still nursed as much as ever. Also, water is good. If you are really desperate, he will probably drink watered down juice. I give it to my kids with just a tiny taste of the juice. They don't know any better and drink it right up.
    Worrying about this certainly isn't helping your supply. Tell your husband to distract your son, do something fun with him while you are gone. I came home one day to find our outside slide in the middle of our living room. Believe, me, she didn't miss me so much that day. Your son will know he will get nursed the second you walk in that door. Good luck.

  • ruralcurlsruralcurls Posts: 2,574Registered Users
    geeky wrote: »
    I wouldn't drink skim milk and I'm not even a frequent nurser.

    :toothy10: I crack up each time I read this.
  • fuzzbucketfuzzbucket Posts: 996Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    Yeah, Harry was the nursing-est baby ever. Never more than 2-3 hours, all day and all night. When I worked part time this summer, he was just shy of 12 months. I pump weaned him at that point, since it was only 4 hours a day, 5 days a week. He was unhappy at first, but he learned quickly that he got milkies when Mama was there and got other things when it was just him and Dada. It made for a smooth day-weaning process when I went full time in September. Good luck!
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  • ruralcurlsruralcurls Posts: 2,574Registered Users
    Seriously, my daughter did not go more than an hour without nursing. She would scream at least every 60 min. I couldn't stand the screaming so I would let her bf. Not sure if I would handle it the same way, probably, because my husband was suffering from a panic/anxiety disorder (which we did not realize at the time) and just wanted her to shut up, to be blunt.

    Sorry to go off OP. Good luck Pixie.
  • mad scientistmad scientist Posts: 3,530Registered Users
    My kids were younger than Sol but we've been down this same road. I don't so pump so my kids need to be able from me for a few hours.

    Sometimes its just better to avoid the issue of food/milk altogether. Have DH take Sol out for a long walk or give him a long warm bath or take him for a car ride. Keep him distracted doing other stuff so he isn't thinking about milk. Both my kids are less interested in nursing when they are having fun out of the house. Of course they will remember they are starving the minute we get home or they see me again, but that's the idea.
  • medussamedussa Posts: 12,993Registered Users
    Lilly is around the same age as Sol and she will not take cow's milk. Heaven knows, I've tried. We're doing much better with water and a splash of cranberry juice. Lilly can go hours without nursing but she has been night weaned for quite some time now and I no longer nurse her on demand, unless she's really demanding it. :lol:

    I agree with everyone else who said that Sol can go without nursing for 4 hours. I wouldn't bother pumping either. You've gotten some really good suggestions for possible substitutes.

    As far as introducing cow's milk, Sol might surprise you. I think I'm the only one I know whose kids flat out refused to take cow's milk. As Geeky mentioned, my son only took it in the form of a fresh fruit smoothie. My daughter took vanilla soy milk for about a year, then switched to cow's milk with vanilla Nesquik. I have tried in vain to find the vanilla Nesquik, but it appears to no longer be made. Curse you Nestle!!!

    Anyway, you will be fine. Either Sol will take some cow's milk or your husband will find other ways to keep him occupied. Btw, I agree with everything Geeky wrote. Sol will not be deprived.

    Good luck!
  • ruralcurlsruralcurls Posts: 2,574Registered Users
    If you are working tomorrow, good luck. :flower:
  • PixieCurlPixieCurl Posts: 5,656Registered Users
    ruralcurls wrote: »
    If you are working tomorrow, good luck. :flower:

    Thanks! I've actually had a little success pumping this week. I've been keeping the pump out, clean, and ready to use so if I ever get a random letdown I run to the kitchen and take advantage of it. I've gotten about 2.5 oz over 3 pumping sessions this week... which isn't much but should help a lot in conjunction with solids. Solomon's also got his appetite for solids back after being sick, and he's been eating like a horse which has been great. DH should be good for tomorrow :)
    Faith, 3Aish redhead
    Mama to two wild superheroes and a curly-headed baby boy :love5:
  • SigiSigi Posts: 2,379Registered Users
    Keeping my fingers crossed that Sol's a good boy for daddy tomorrow!
  • AmnerisAmneris Posts: 15,117Registered Users
    I had similar concerns when I started school. I express manually and started out doing that, but JJ won't drink my milk apart from the breast - and he has not been drinking at all during the day - no water or juice, which does concern me, but he makes up for it by nursing a lot in the evening and at night. So I have a whole stash of expressed milk going to waste.

    I agree that at Sol's age now, it shouldn't be necessary to pump unless you REALLY want to, especially for only one 4-hour shift per week. He may prefer to nurse in that time, but if he has to wait, he'll be fine and he will get used to it. JJ is still a huge nurser (up every hour or two at night to nurse) but he does just fine for 6 or 7 hours away from me and has adjusted to it quite well and quickly. Sol can have solids and juice or water if he'll take them, and you could even start him with regular milk (I haven't because I have serious lactose intolerance and I am not sure if soy milk is good for a baby'a hormonal development, but if those aren't issues for you, you could.) Your husband can try sippy cups, bottles, medicine droppers, spoons, straw cups, help him use a regular cup... there are lots of options.

    Also, getting him used to longer stretches will probably bring your fertility back faster....

    I agree that you shouldn't look at it as leaving the baby and your husband "high and dry" - your husband is the father and should be able to figure out how to watch his own kid for a few hours - and you should not even THINK about quitting. I think it is very important for you to have outside interests and a little extra income and you obviously want to do it so you should.

    I wouldn't have my husband bring the baby to me at his age for only a 4 hour shift, either. 8 hours, maybe, but not 4, unless the baby was under a year and still exclusively breast fed. I would look at those 4 hours as completely my husband's responsibility to feed, soothe and care for the baby and he should only be calling me in a true medical emergency.

    Good luck!
    Get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me. -Muhammad Ali



  • PixieCurlPixieCurl Posts: 5,656Registered Users
    Sol was an ANGEL for his daddy on Saturday. The previous week was I think only so bad because he was getting over being sick, and just wanted to be with me and nurse constantly. This week he ate oodles of solids and the 2.5 oz I had pumped was the perfect amount my husband said. When I'm not there, he mostly just wants a bottle before or after his nap, so I think it's more for comfort than nutrition.
    Faith, 3Aish redhead
    Mama to two wild superheroes and a curly-headed baby boy :love5:
  • Brown_Eyed_GirlBrown_Eyed_Girl Posts: 1,353Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    I'm glad things went so much better. Being sick can definitely mess everything up.
  • ruralcurlsruralcurls Posts: 2,574Registered Users
    That's great. :rendeer:

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