Mommy Scrubbs Q&A: Breastfeeding and shiftwork – does it work?

Hello,

I was just wondering about your experiences breastfeeding and working as a registered nurse. I am currently expecting, and I work peds (primary) and couplet care (occasionally). I really want to breastfeed this time around (this is my second) because of the benefits for me and baby… however, I am concerned with my working 12 hours shifts that it might become difficult. I barely have a chance to go to the bathroom when I work sometimes (especially winter season), much less sit down and pump on a regular basis! We don’t have any great places to go and pump on a regular basis either… between working and going to grad school full time, I am beginning to wonder if formula feeding might be better for me and my entire family.

So anyway – who has personally pumped while at work? How did you make it work out? What tips do you give your working moms upon DC?

– Thanks, JeepGirl

Hello to you JeepGirl,

I have a friend at work who works 12 hour shifts while breastfeeding. She works night shift. Her daughter is now almost 7 months old. She pumps one time during her shift. However, she is drying up now. It is difficult to pump 3 times during a 12 hour shift (minimum 2 times) to keep supply up. You need to nurse/pump at least 8 times in a day to maintain adequate milk supply. This is why I am on an extended maternity leave. I know I will not get my unpaid breaks to pump. (I rarely get more than a BR break or 2) And I do not want to loose my supply. She then comes home from work, nurses dd and has to sleep during the day (usually from 9am to 3pm) does not nurse/pump during that time. (She has a sitter) Then nurses her dd before returning to work. So really she is only nursing/pumping 3-4 times a day so that is why she is drying up. When she is off she gives dd formula during the night so she sleeps for longer intervals and bf during the day. Even if you could just breastfeed while in the hospital and on maternity leave, and keep doing it until you dry up your child would still get a lot of the benefits, and so would you. But if you choose to use formula that is ok too!

Remember if your going to pump while at work, Mommy Scrubbs makes it as easy and discrete as possible for you to get that done. You can save time, so you can limit your breaks, since we know pump breaks are UNPAID!

 

 

 

10 Tips for Flying with Breast Milk

 By: Kathleen Berchelmann, MD, FAAP originally from http://www.healthychildren.org

I’ve heard many a horror-story about flying with breast milk, from security agents who forced moms to dump out milk, to broken bottles. I’ve also made a few mistakes myself, once causing me to throw out several days of expressed milk. I’ve taken countless business trips while breastfeeding my five children, and these are my tips for successful traveling with breast milk.

  1. Your breast pump does not count as a “carry on” item, because it is a “medical device.” So bring your regular carry on luggage, but be prepared to explain several times that your pump is a medical device. Your breast milk cooler does count as a carry-on.
  2. Bring a good water-tight cooler, plenty of ice packs, and all your empty bottles or breast milk storage bags. Your freezer packs and breast milk storage containers may be more than 3 oz. Declare them at security, even when they are empty. Ask the TSA agent to change into clean gloves before he inspects them. After security, consider sealing your cooler with duct tape.
  3. When you book your hotel, be sure to ask for a room with a freezer. Sometimes you can turn the thermostat to the coldest setting on a hotel mini-fridge and it will be cold enough to freeze breast milk. If you do not have a freezer in your room, ask at the hotel desk to have your breast milk cooler stored in the hotel freezer. I have done this many times and always been accommodated without questions. It does mean that every time you pump you have to carry your fresh milk down to the hotel desk, ask for your cooler, put your milk in, and have the cooler returned to the freezer.
  4. When you are flying home, you will need plenty of ice packs to keep your milk frozen through the duration of your trip. I never have enough, so I stop at a Starbucks once I get through security and ask them to fill my cooler with ice. They have always obliged. Another option is to buy dry ice for your cooler, which you will be permitted to take through security if you explain that it is for breast milk.
  5. You may fly with an unlimited quantity of breast milk, per TSA rules.
  6. When going through security, always declare your breast milk. If your milk is frozen solid, the TSA agents don’t have to do any special tests. They just visually inspect the milk. Be sure to request that the TSA agent put on clean gloves before touching your cooler. If your milk is thawed or in a semi-solid state, the TSA agent will have to do a special test on each bag or bottle where they wipe the bottle with a piece of paper and put the paper in a machine that tests for explosives.
  7. If you need to pump in an airport, ask if there is a breastfeeding lounge or baby care area. If not, find a family restroom with an outlet.
  8. It is possible to mail/ship breast milk, which is useful if you are on a long trip away from your baby and need to get some milk home for baby. Shipping breast milk is much more expensive than flying with it. You can ship breast milk on dry ice via FedEx. Dry ice, a Styrofoam cooler, and a box for shipping can be purchased locally and possibly delivered to your hotel. Search online for a local supplier. The dry ice is so cold that it can make plastic breast milk storage bags or bottles very brittle, and they can break in shipping. It is best to seal your breast milk bottles in zip-lock bags and then pad them with crumpled up newspaper inside your cooler of dry ice. You can print out a FedEx shipping label online. I have heard of people shipping breast milk on regular ice via overnight US mail. The US Postal Service does not permit dry ice in the mail. Although this is a much cheaper option, there is real risk that your milk will thaw en route.
  9. These recommendations may not apply to international travel. If you are flying internationally, contact the consulate of your destination country to determine their regulations.
  10. Be sure to check out the official TSA guidelines for traveling with breast milk.

The Imperative of Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is the best way to go…

Breastfeeding has far-reaching, lasting effects, affecting the lifelong health of both the mother and her child. The nutritious components of breast milk provide crucial immunological and anti-inflammatory properties that protect the child against acquiring a host of illnesses and diseases, as well as improving maternal health outcomes. Although, breastfeeding rates in the United States have increased over the last few years, they still fall far short of Healthy People objectives 2010. Now, the Healthy People 2020 objectives, including an overall objective of 81 percent of infants ever being breastfed, are consistent with the universal medical recommendation to breastfeed exclusively for six months with continued breastfeeding for at least one year. Breastfeeding is an essential public health strategy to improve infant and child morbidity and mortality rates, improve maternal morbidity, and assist in controlling the cost of health care.

Economic Benefits to Breastfeeding

Infant formula costs the average family in the United States between $1,200 – $1,500 annually. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a minimum of $3.6 billion in medical expenses per year would be saved if 50 percent of children were breastfed for the first six months. If 90 percent of children in the United States were exclusively breastfeed for six months, an estimated $13 billion annually could be saved from reduced direct and indirect medical expenses.

What are the health benefits of breast milk?

The health benefits of breast milk for children are unparalleled. Breast milk not only contains immunological properties that protect a newborn, but research has shown that the overall risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is twice as great for formula-fed infants compared with breastfed infants. The widespread health benefits of breastfeeding extend beyond their child’s first few months of life. Children that are breastfed experience an overall 72 percent reduction in the risk of hospitalization due to lower respiratory tract diseases. There are numerous health benefits, listed on Table 1.

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Benefits of Breastfeeding for Mom

Breastfeeding is a wonderful gift for you as well as your baby.

Release of Good Hormones

Many mothers feel fulfillment and joy from the physical and emotional communion they experience with their child while nursing. These feelings are augmented by the release of hormones, such as:

  • Prolactin: Produces a peaceful, nurturing sensation that allows you to relax and focus on your child.
  • Oxytocin: Promotes a strong sense of love and attachment between the two of you.

These pleasant feelings may be one of the reasons so many women who have breastfed their first child choose to breastfeed the children who follow.

Health Benefits

Breastfeeding provides health benefits for mothers beyond emotional satisfaction.

  • Mothers who breastfeed recover from childbirth more quickly and easily. The hormone oxytocin, released during breastfeeding, acts to return the uterus to its regular size more quickly and can reduce postpartum bleeding.
  • Studies show that women who have breastfed experience reduced rates of breast and ovarian cancer later in life.
  • Some studies have found that breastfeeding may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
  • Exclusive breastfeeding delays the return of the mother’s menstrual period, which can help extend the time between pregnancies. (Note: Exclusive breastfeeding can provide a natural form of contraception if the mother’s menses have not returned, the baby is breastfeeding day and night, and the baby is less than six months old.)

Practical Added Bonuses

There are quite a few practical advantages to breastfeeding as well— bonuses the entire family can appreciate.

  • Human milk is much less expensive than formula. During nursing you will need, at most, an extra 400 to 500 calories daily to produce sufficient milk for your baby, while formula can cost between $4 and $10 per day, depending upon the brand, type (powdered versus liquid), and amount consumed.
  • At night, putting a baby to your breast is much simpler and faster than getting up to prepare or warm a bottle of formula. (Your partner can make night feedings even easier by changing the baby and bringing her to you for nursing.)
  • It’s wonderful, too, to be able to pick up the baby and go out—whether around town or on longer trips—without having to carry a bag full of feeding equipment.
  • Breastfeeding is also good for the environment, since there are no bottles to wash or formula cans to throw away.

The Top Benefit: Maternal Fulfillment

As welcome as all of these benefits are, though, most mothers put the feeling of maternal fulfillment at the top of their list of reasons for breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding provides a unique emotional experience for the nursing mother and the baby. Breastfeeding is the one parenting behavior that only the mother can do for her baby, creating a unique and powerful physical and emotional connection. Your partner, the baby’s siblings, and other relatives can all appreciate the new member of the family being welcomed in such a loving way.

Breastfeeding & Intelligence, Why Cast Shadows?

This post is in response to the CBS news article titled ” Breast-Fed Children Not Necessarily Smarter Study Finds“.

Considering that breast milk is human specific, the capacity to indicate ‘smarter’ is questionably relative and of little substance.

Why is so important to cast shadows on breastfeeding, a positive organic source of life?

Why purpose written or televised media to cause emotional harm to a new mom who may have little to no support in her well intended choice to naturally breastfeed her child?

Bottles and Pearls

As a mom of 6, I have had the pleasure of breastfeeding all 6 children & homeschooling them. I noticed that they were quite fast at catching on to various tasks. (For mommy time, I volunteered at a local daycare while my children did their gym days at the YMCA, so that we could have time apart from each other, so we were not a socially deprived family.)

But as this article suggest, my higher level of education would suggest that there is no real link to the fact that I was a breastfeeding mom. Honestly, it was my connection to a breastfeeding mom who did not have my level of ‘higher level of education’, that became my primary source for understanding the importance of breastfeeding.

After the first few months of ‘nursing’ my first son, while attending a pediatric well-baby check up, Mr. Doctor asked if I were still breastfeeding. I responded ‘yes Sir, I am’. He said, “it makes them smarter, you should nurse all your children.” At that time he had been in practice greater than 30 years. Hmmmm, seems like he had put his years of baby / breastfeeding study time into place that would give him the credentials to make a sound statement in favor or against breastfeeding.  He was a supporter in favor of nursing (Breastfeeding).

I preferred the older more experienced doctors to assist me during my young years of motherhood. My Peds Dr. required his client’s parents to be very attentive and responsible, he did not excuse laissez faire parents. Looking back, I am so glad that I trusted my life experienced trained medical doctor as to many of the benefits of breastfeeding rather than a journal with questionable motives.

Just as he was my children’s pediatrician, I have become, Old School.

Kathy

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