Not all moms have the luxury of staying at home permanently after they’ve given birth. Returning to work after having your little one can be daunting and problematic; especially if you’re hoping to continue breastfeeding.
However, breastfeeding when you’re returning to work definitely isn’t impossible. Over the years, working moms have found ways to ensure they can continue to nurse their children while back at the office. Here, you’ll discover some of the top tips you’ll absolutely need to follow.
Make Sure You’ve Got A Great Pump
If your baby is solely breastfed and doesn’t have any formula, a breast pump is going to be an essential investment. You’re going to need it to pump milk at work, otherwise your breasts will become too full and start to leak. This is obviously an embarrassing situation to find yourself in at work!
When it comes to choosing a pump, it’s a good idea to read through as many online reviews as you can. This will help you to determine which ones are reliable, easy and comfortable to use. You’ll also want to focus your attention on a pump which allows you to pump both of your breasts at the same time. This will save you a surprising amount of time which is crucial when you’re at work. Ideally, you’ll want to also focus on reviews which are written by other working moms.
Practice Expressing Milk Before You Return To Work
The art of expressing milk takes more practice than you might imagine. Therefore, it’s highly recommended you start before you actually return to work. This gives you plenty of chance to get used to it and will speed up the time it takes you to pump.
Even if you plan to stop baby’s daytime breastfeeding sessions, you’ll likely still find you need to hand-express a little milk during the day. This is because your breasts may still feel full while they adjust to fewer feedings. Expressing milk by hand is actually more difficult than pumping, so again you’re going to want to practice first before your return to work.
Check Baby’s Daycare Facilities
Another thing you’ll want to check before heading back to work, is what breastfeeding facilities your baby’s daycare center has. Of course, if baby is staying home while a friend, relative or nanny looks after them, you’ll be able to keep your spare breast milk stored in the refrigerator. However, if they’re heading to daycare, there may not be a refrigerator there.
Although breast milk can be stored at room temperature safely for up to six hours, it’s still better kept in the refrigerator. If your baby’s daycare is situated close to your work, you may also want to chat to your employer, along with the daycare staff to see if popping in to the center to breastfeed is an option. This would prevent you from needing to pump at work and it also makes returning to work a little easier if you get to see your baby throughout the day.
Not all employers will be keen to allow you to do this, but it is always worth asking if the center is nearby.
Consider Creating A Freezer Stash
Breast milk does lose some of its nutrients when it’s frozen. However, if you compare it to baby formula, it’s still much better for baby even after it’s been frozen. So, creating an additional stash of breast milk and freezing it can really help to make baby’s feeds more convenient, while also cutting back the number of times you need to express milk.
When you’re at work, it may not be possible to pump every day. So, it’s always worth having a little freezer stash on hand just in case.
Prepare To Nurse More Frequently During The Night
One thing many moms find when they return to work, is they start to nurse more during the night. This is especially true for the first couple of weeks.
This stage won’t last, but it is something you’ll want to prepare yourself for. It may also help to know that during night time feeds, the level of the milk-producing hormone prolactin, is a lot higher. This means it’s going to help you maintain a good level of milk throughout the day.
Consider Returning To Work Later In The Week
As it’s always going to be a daunting and stressful change heading back to work, it’s a good idea to go back later during the week. If you go back to work on Wednesday or Thursday for example, you’re going to have a much shorter workweek than you would if you returned on a Monday.
Knowing you’re only in for a few days before you get to spend time with baby again, can make your return much less stressful and help to ease you back into it.
Check Where You Can Nurse At Work
If your employer is pretty laid back and lets you bring baby in to nurse, you’ll want to know where you can do it. What facilities are available for you to nurse your little one? Will you have privacy?
Even if you’re just expressing milk, you’ll still want a nice, quiet and comfortable area to do it. It’s worth finding this information out before you return so you can plan ahead and have peace of mind that you’ll have somewhere to nurse.
Keep Your Pumping Sessions The Same As When Baby Nurses
A great tip is to express milk at the same time as your baby would usually nurse. Your breasts will already have a routine and any deviation from it can cause all kinds of issues. If you continue to express milk when baby would usually feed, it’s not going to affect your milk production and it will cause minimum disruption to your daily routine.
Remember To Drink Plenty Of Fluids Throughout The Day
When you’re at home, it’s easy to stay hydrated. However, in the workplace it can be much easier to forget to drink plenty of fluids. There’s a lot more distractions and you’ll have your mind on other things. However, when you’re continuing to breastfeed, it’s vital you stay hydrated during the day.
You’ll also want to ensure you’re eating something every 2-4 hours. Keeping bottled water by your desk and packing healthy snacks will help to ensure you stay hydrated and you’re consuming the right number of calories required for breastfeeding.
The tips above are sure to help make your transition back to work that little bit easier. While breastfeeding when returning to work isn’t easy, with a little planning ahead it doesn’t have to be a stressful task!