By Wendy Wright- IBCLC Co-Founder and Lactation Consultant of the 16 Minute Club
Going back to work doesn’t have to end the beautiful breastfeeding relationship you developed with your new baby. In fact, continuing breastfeeding after returning to work is highly beneficial for both you and the baby. If your baby will be in daycare, then your breast milk will keep his immune system strong and prevent illness. Also, you will be able to continue your snuggling feeding session before and after work, making those working hours not as hard.
Let’s not sugar coat breastfeeding and going back to work. It is a hard adjustment and will take some work and dedication on your part. Here are the top essential things to consider before going back to work.
Getting the Right Pump
There are several different pumps to choose from, but a hospital-grade pump will mimic your baby the closest. Many women have found that using a store bought pump can lower their milk supply, since the pump is not strong enough. Double pumps are more time efficient, as well. Do your research on which pump will work best for you. You may also want to consider a car plug-in so that you can pump on your commute.
Preparing for Returning Back to Work
Several weeks before you plan on returning to work, you need to prepare. First, you need to get your baby use to taking a bottle a few times a day. The easiest way to do this is by finding a special bottle that is designed to look and feel like the breast. Try 2-3 different styles to find the one your baby likes the best. Since baby associates you with breastfeeding, try having the baby’s dad give him the bottle. You also need to get use to your pump. Figure out how to use it, and start pumping in between feeds so you can build up your freezer stockpile.
Find the Right Caregiver
When looking for the right daycare or caregiver, make sure they are experienced with feeding breastfed babies. Go over milk safety protocols and rules. Make sure they know never to microwave breast milk or to leave it out longer than the recommended time.
Ensure the Right Pumping Place
To ensure pumping success as work, you need to be as comfortable as possible. Talk with your boss or the HR department ahead of time to figure out where your pumping room/space will be. Most states have laws in place in favor of nursing moms, so don’t let your company put down or minimize your nursing needs. Your pumping space should be private, quiet, and come with a comfortable chair and electric outlet. Your workplace should also have a fridge for you to store your milk secretly for the day.
It will be challenging at first to establish a good pumping routine at work, but you will get the hang of it. The initial challenges will be minor when compared to the amazing benefits you are giving yourself and your baby.
Wendy Wright is an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant approaching the lactation consultant’s role with a unique perspective. After breastfeeding two children during her very busy career as a bio tech marketer, she decided to pursue lactation consulting as a new career. Wendy founded the 16 Minute Club to assist moms across North America in meeting their breastfeeding goals.