You have made it through the first weeks or maybe even months of
breastfeeding...way to go! Here comes your next challenge: how to
breastfeed once you add work back into the mix. We've got you
covered here as well.
Here are a few things you may want to have on hand to make becoming a breastfeeding mom as easy as possible:
Storing Milk Safely
Back to Work Checklist
Successful breastfeeding and working can mix. It takes some planning and preparation (like most things a mother does!), but you can continue to provide your baby with the benefits of breastmilk for as long as possible, even while you're on the job.
Here are some tips for getting ready to go back to work:
More than 2 weeks before you go back to work:
- Talk with other working, nursing moms to learn what to expect or join a Breastfeeding Message Board for working moms.
- Choose the breast pump that's right for you.
Two-Four weeks before work
- Start pumping. This gives you plenty of time to become acquainted with expressing milk and allows your baby to get accustomed to regularly drinking your milk from a method that is not directly from you. At the breast feeding is ideal but sometimes you and your baby will be apart. Feeding with a cup, syringe, or a bottle are ways that moms can feed their expressed breastmilk and it really depends on her baby, her situation, and her baby's age. Some moms have also found that feeding through a straw (again depending on baby's age) is easier for a breastfed baby. Have another person, such as your husband or partner, a babysitter, or a grandparent, offer your expressed breastmilk to your baby, beginning at 4 weeks of age or at least two weeks before you return to your job so you can work through any potential issues during the transition. See Pumping Basics for more help.
- Arrange for a comfortable place to pump at work. If your company does not have a Lactation Room, see if there is an empty office or conference room where you can shut (and preferably lock) the door and feel secure that no one will barge in on you. To get comfortable and relaxed, try:
- Beginning by massaging your breast or leaning over and shaking your breasts to "wake them up"
- Bringing a piece of your baby's clothing or a blanket and a cute baby picture to help you think of him or her
- Calling your care provider and check in with how your baby is doing
- Enjoying a drink and easy-to-eat snack or your lunch
- Bringing along your Ipod or portable CD player and listen to your favorite relaxing music with headphones
- Closing your eyes, shutting out the world, thinking of your sweet baby and letting your milk flow
- Have your baby stay with caregiver. Plan to have your baby stay with your caregiver for a few hours before you return to work. This dry run will help ease the transition for you and your baby and get him or her used to a new atmosphere. it will also give you a little time to get organized and adjust to time away from your baby.
Also, it is helpful to try to choose a breastfeeding-friendly caregiver. Be sure to tell your caregiver how much being able to continue breastfeeding means to you, and thank this person for helping to make this possible.
- Determine a comfortable wardrobe for working and pumping. Generally two-piece outfits with lightweight tops that are pulled up from the bottom are best for pumping or nursing. If you combine that with a jacket or button-down sweater, you cannot only nurse or pump discreetly, but can help cover you up if you have a milk stain. Just to be on the safe side, don't forget to wear nursing pads, like Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads (disposable or washable) to help prevent embarrassing leaks.
When you return to work
- Get into a packing routine. Here are some ideas on what to pack for pumping (this is in addition to packing for your baby!):
- Clean pump bottles (one bottle for each pumping session plus 1) with lids and Lansinoh Milk Storage Bags or Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bottles
- All of the pump parts you will need to express - complete collection kits including valves, diaphrams, tubing as well as the pump base, ac adaptor and/or batteries
- Wet hand wipes
- Extra clothing for you (extra blouse, sweater, all in case of leaks - can leave at work)
- Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads
- Snacks and lunch - pack what you can the night before, include high protein healthy foods
- Set up a schedule to breastfeed your baby and pump your milk. Timing is everything. On work days, breastfeed your baby just before you leave the house and when you get home. Feeding your baby at the breast is ideal and is the best way to signal to your body to keep up your supply and keep nurturing your baby. But, since you and your baby will be apart while you are at work, you will want to prepare for when you are leaving your expressed milk behind. Chances are this will take some preparation and forward thinking. You may have to wake up earlier to make sure that you can get ready to go out and still have the time to feed your baby at the breast. Depending on your schedule and when your day care provider gives your baby expressed breastmilk, you can nurse right when you arrive to pick him up (or arrive home if your baby is taken care of inside your home), before your baby's bedtime, or both. You may need to remind your day care provider to not feed your baby just before you come to pick up the baby because you will need to empty your breasts and there is no better way to do that then to sit down with your baby and reconnect by breastfeeding.
- Store milk safely
Congratulate yourself on taking on the difficult task of a working, breastfeeding mom! You are a true multi-tasker – be proud of yourself! And know that the extra effort is worth it!