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My Ngala • View topic - Going back to work, what to expect breastfeeding at 11months

Going back to work, what to expect breastfeeding at 11months

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Going back to work, what to expect breastfeeding at 11months

Postby esnw77 » Sun 02 Jun, 2013 2:26 pm

Dear Ngala,

I exclusively breastfed for the first 5.5 months. She is now on solids 3 times a day, but I am still breastfeeding (4 feeds a day). This is typically upon waking, after her first and second naps, and then just before bedtime. My first question is when do I switch to breastfeeding her after her solids? Is it as easy as that, just switch? What happens is she gets drowsy or isn't interested in breastfeeding because she's full? How long after her solids do I wait?

I am going back to work in 3 months' time, when my baby is 11 months old. I am lucky to be going back part time and my employer is doing their best to accommodate my needs in terms of working hours. I would like to know what is a typical day in terms of naps and breastfeeds at that age? How long should my baby be able to stay awake for? (She can stay awake about 3 hours now) How many breastfeeds will she need then?

Thank you so much in advance.
esnw77
 
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Joined: Sun 11 Nov, 2012 5:02 pm

Re: Going back to work, what to expect breastfeeding at 11mo

Postby NgalaOnline » Mon 03 Jun, 2013 7:47 pm

Hi Esnw77

Thank you for your post. In general, if a baby is feeding well and gaining weight it is ok to start offering solids before breastfeeds at around 8 months. If a baby is a reluctant breastfeeder or doesn’t feed well then it is best to continue to offer breastfeeds before solids as the milk feed is still the most important source of nutrition for children under one year of age. If it suits you best to offer a breastfeed before solids, so long as she is still happily accepting some solids regularly then it is ok to continue with the approach that is working for you. If you do begin to offer solids before breastfeeds and find that your baby begins to breastfeed poorly due to being full you may need to reduce the size of her solid meals for a while to ensure that she will still take a good breastfeed. Many babies (from 8 months of age and beyond), however, are able to take a good breastfeed and a good solid meal even when solids are offered before breastfeeds. There is no hard and fast rule as to how to make this switch - it is usually a process of just watching your baby and seeing what works well for her. You may like to initially try just switching the order of one feed per day (such as the morning feed) and observing how she does with this - if all goes well and she seems to tolerate it well and still take a reasonable breastfeed then you may like to switch the order of the other feed too. In regards to the concern about her getting drowsy, it may take a few days or weeks of some trial and error to figure out a bit of a routine that works well for her and involves her having the feed early enough so that it doesn’t come close to bedtime. It is normal for it to take a few days of trialing some different routines and approaches to see what works best for your baby. There is also no hard rule about how long after solids to wait to offer a breastfeed. Some parents feel it works best for their family to stagger milk feeds and solid feeds apart - such as offering solids soon after a nap, then offering a breastfeed an hour or two later. This can be helpful for ensuring that your baby still has an appetite for the breastfeed, but many parents find this approach breaks up their day too much and they feel as if they are always feeding. In most instances a baby will be happy to take a breastfeed straight after solids. If not you may like to consider reducing the size of the solids meal a little (seeing as the breastfeed is more important for her nutrition) or waiting half an hour or so before offering a breastfeed. Again, this is often something that just takes a few days of trial and error to work out what approach best suits your baby.

With regards to returning to work at 11 months of age, on average most babies seem to require two day sleeps at this age. If the baby is able to resettle herself between sleep cycles the naps are often around 1.5 - 2 hours in length. Some babies will have a long morning sleep and then a shorter afternoon sleep that may only be 40 minutes long. Some babies begin to move to one day sleep per day around a year of age, but many children continue to require two day sleeps until closer to 18 months of age. This chart may be helpful for you regarding common sleep patterns of children. Often around 3 hours awake between sleeps is quite common for children around 11 months of age:
http://www.ngala.com.au/files/files/125 ... eepers.pdf

The number of breastfeeds per day is very variable. Some babies of this age will breastfeed on demand and may breastfeed quite frequently during the day - this is quite common and normal. Other babies may settle into a pattern of breastfeeding only around 3 times a day, and often this becomes more like twice a day after the baby turns one. You may find that your baby's routine is different on the days you are at home from the day you are at work. Often parents of older babies such as around 11 months of age will find that on the days the mother is away from work the baby may be able to go quite happily throughout the work day without a breastfeed. Often water and solids will be enough to get your baby through the day. The baby may be quite happy with this when she does not see you due to you being absent, even if she does usually seek a middle of the day feed when in your presence. Other parents find that the baby does still really seek a middle of the day feed, or that the mother's breasts become uncomfortable and require her to give a middle of the day feed. This may be something that is just required for a few weeks or so during the period of transition. Some mothers find that they are able to have the baby brought to their work during the day for a breastfeed, or that the mother may be able to negotiate with the employer that she is able to go to the baby (at home or at daycare) to give a middle of the day breastfeed if required. You may find that your baby will seek a "reunion" feed as soon as you get home. This is normal and is also helpful to empty your breasts to prevent engorgement or other discomforts. It is quite normal for babies to feed more frequently in the evenings when a mother has been at work during the day. It is also very normal for older babies to have breastfeeds during the day on the days that a mother is home, but to be able to go without these feeds when the mother is at work. Continuing to offer daytime breastfeeds on the days you are at home will help to maintain a sufficient supply. Breastmilk supply is usually quite adaptable and can adjust to these types of changes. You may find however that on the first few days at work, whilst your supply adjusts you may suffer some engorgement or leaking breasts. It is helpful to take a breast pump on the first few days even if you do not plan on regularly expressing at work, or making arrangements that you will be able to go to the baby (or have the baby brought to you) to feed if you become too engorged or uncomfortable. It is also helpful to take a spare shirt as thinking of your baby or missing a feed can cause breasts to leak sometimes. If you become very engorged or uncomfortable it is important to empty your breasts to the point of comfort to protect yourself from mastitis and blocked ducts. These management methods are often only required initially as your supply adjusts. The Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) can be a good resource for discussing managing returning to work and breastfeeding. You may like to consider calling their helpline (1800 686 268) or looking at the following links: https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/bf-inf ... g-and-work The ABA also produces an information booklet on breastfeeding whilst being in the workforce, which can be purchased off the ABA website.

I hope that this information is helpful. Best of luck with your return to work.
This information is general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for the personalized assistance that can be received from the Ngala Helpline by telephone.

For families residing in Western Australia you can also contact the
Ngala Helpline
Telephone 9368 9368 or 1800 111 546 for country access
Available 7 days a week, 8am to 8pm
or request a callback online

For helplines in other Australian states please follow this link
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