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March 18, 2023

Going Back to Work While Breastfeeding

There’s no doubt that breastfeeding is one of the best things you can do for your baby. But what happens when you have to go back to work? How can you make sure your baby still gets all the benefits of breast milk while you’re away from them during the day?  It is important to find solutions that are not only practical but work best for both mother and baby.  Here are some tips on how to make it work!

Going Back to Work While Breastfeeding: How to Make it Work for You & Your Baby

Here are some tips to help make sure your baby still receives all the benefits of breast milk while you’re away:

1. Know Your Company Policy

Knowing your company’s policy regarding pumping at work is important, so read up and make sure to follow the guidelines.  A lot of companies have different regulations when it comes to breastfeeding, so make sure you know what’s expected.

2. Find Your Pumping Space

It’s important to find a private, clean place to pump at work. Don’t feel shame or embarrassment about asking for an appropriate space prior to returning to work; after all, you have the right to express your milk in peace. If your workplace doesn’t provide a designated pumping room, find an unused space that you can use.

3. Establish a Pumping Schedule During Work Hours

It is important to keep up with the frequency to maintain the milk supply.  Tips for creating a schedule:

  1. Try to align the time of pumping session to when baby would typically breastfeed
  2. Allow for around 30 minutes a session, this includes setting up, pumping and cleaning
  3. Block the time for these pumping sessions and try to plan around them!
  4. Make sure you have a quality, hospital-grade pump that can help you save time and maximize your milk production.

4. Pack Ahead of Time

Working and pumping can be a challenge for nursing mothers. If you plan correctly, you can make it easier on yourself! Start by packing all the supplies you will need ahead of time, such as bottles, storage bags, cooler, ice packs, and pump parts and cleaning supplies., which can save you precious time during your pumping break. Make sure you have some absorbent burp cloths on hand to clean up any messes.

5. Create a Plan with a Childcare Provider

Equipping the childcare provider with a feeding schedule that includes times of feedings and ounces is an essential step for ensuring successful breastfeeding while at work. It is important to create a plan with the childcare provider that suits both mother and baby, as different babies may need to be fed more or less frequently depending on their individual needs. Whether this is your partner, parent, nanny, or daycare facility, make sure they know how to store and feed breast milk to your baby. Have a plan in place that outlines when, how much, and how often the breast milk will be given while you’re away. Storing or preserving breast milk is an important part of breastfeeding when a mother has to go back to work. The best way to store expressed breast milk is in containers or storage bags specifically designed for storing breast milk. These containers should be made from glass, food-grade plastic, or BPA-free medical-grade plastic. Breastmilk can be stored for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator and up to 6 months in the freezer. 

6. Nourish Yourself

Make sure to keep yourself nourished, too. Breastfeeding can be exhausting both physically and emotionally; you need to make sure your own needs are being met so that you can give the best care possible to your baby. Get a water bottle that is designated to your desk or work space and find a place to store some healthy snacks so they are there when you need them.

7. Get Support

It’s important to remember that you don’t have to go through this journey alone. Talk to your partner, friends, family, or even someone from work who is also a breastfeeding mom and get the support you need.  Breastfeeding can be overwhelming for many mothers, so having someone else to talk with can help make it easier.

As a new mother, trying to adjust to the ever-changing balance between work and family can be a difficult task.  Following these tips can help make the transition easier and provide you with an opportunity to continue breastfeeding your baby. Remember: take care of yourself too, so that you can provide the best care possible to your little one. With the right support system and planning, you can make breastfeeding while working a success! Go get ’em mamas!

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