Breast Feeding and Returning to Work? Read This.
Are you preparing to return to work soon and currently breast feeding your child? Are you worried about how you are going to continue once you go back to the daily grind? As a mom of two who has returned to the workforce twice while still breast feeding, I wanted to share a little of my experience.
The first thing to do is get a quality breast pump. There are a lot of choices on the market, and if you are going to be pumping on a regular basis, I highly recommend a double electric breast pump. You will also need bottles, breast milk storage bags, and a cooler bag for transporting your bottles. I have written a couple of articles comparing some of the top breast pumps on the market.
Talk to your Human Resources department to find out If your employer already has a lactation room, or “mommy room”. If so, try to check it out before you go on leave, so you will know what to expect when you return. If your employer doesn’t have a mommy room yet, provide them information on how to set up a lactation room.
When it is time to return to work, bring all of your pumping supplies and plan to spend at least 2 fifteen minute breaks and probably part of your lunch hour pumping milk for your little one. It’s important to continue pumping even after you think you are empty, this will encourage your body to make more milk. Try to aim for producing as much milk each day as your baby drinks or even more if you are trying to build up a large stock in the freezer.
There are a lot of resources available to nursing moms, including La Leche League. Talk to your childcare provider as well. Let them know your intentions and make sure they are comfortable handling breast milk. If a family member will be watching your child, provide them some literature on how to prepare breast milk. Also, talk to them about how you feel about supplementing with formula.
Congratulations on your decision to continue providing breast milk for your child after you return to work. You are offering such a wonderful gift to your child. I’d love to hear your stories about how pumping at work went for you and your child.