Many moms worry about breastfeeding and returning back to work. However, this transition is not as hard as it seems. Breastfeeding is not only the best nutrition for your baby, but a great way to reconnect after being separated during the day. Also, remember that breastfeeding is not an all-or-nothing task. If you don’t want to pump or express milk at work, you can still nurse your baby in the morning, night, and on the weekend. If you do want to pump or express at work, here are some helpful tips:
- Start pumping once a day, 1 hour after nursing, about 2 weeks before you go back to work. You may not get much, but you can freeze the milk for later if you do. This will help you become familiar with the pump and it will train your body to make a little extra milk during the middle of the day, which will be useful when you are not with your baby. **Please note: Pumping only removes about half of the milk in the breast and is not an accurate reflection of how much milk a baby gets when breastfeeding. Babies are much more efficient at removing milk.
- Make a plan with your supervisor about pumping before you go back to work. Tennessee has several laws protecting the rights of breastfeeding and pumping mothers, including the right to breastfeed in public and the right to pump at work in a place other than a bathroom stall. (Tenn. Code Ann. § 50-1-305)
- Once you return to work, plan on pumping as often as your baby nurses. If you find that you make enough milk to meet his needs in fewer pumping sessions, then that is fine too.
- To help your milk let down while away from your little one, relax and think about your baby. Try looking at a picture or listening to a recording of your baby crying or laughing. Sometimes a special blanket or even a call to your day care or sitter can help too.
- If you are using an electric pump, use breast massage to promote further emptying of the breast. Try hand expressing after you finish pumping. YouTube is an excellent resource for learning the art of hand expression. You can also watch Dr. Jane Morton’s videos on hand expression.
- Spend plenty of time cuddling with your baby when you get home. Babies are never too old for skin-to-skin time to reconnect. Also, wearing your baby in a sling, carrier, or wrap when you get home can help too.
- If you are feeling frustrated, confused, or have any questions, please give us a call. We are mommies too and many of us have had recent experience with balancing pumping while working!