Working mothers are often concerned about how to continue their routine of breastmilk provision to their babies.
As difficult as it may seem, keeping this schedule intact while returning to work can very well be a success, through clear planning and communication with the people around you.
Before returning back to work
At 2 to 3 weeks prior to going back to work, it is highly recommended to stock up breast milk as much as possible in the freezer. There should be at least enough milk for one day of feeding, at about 25-30 ounces per day.
How to manage pumping?
One efficient way to attain this is to pump your breasts right after nursing your baby, because of the constant milk flow at that moment. Another option is you could initially trade one feeding session for breast pumping, and have Your Child practice feeding from a bottle. As the little one becomes adjusted to bottle feeding, the number of these sessions can increase over time. This also allows an easier time for your partner or an assigned caregiver to provide Your Child with breastmilk on their own, due to less dependence on direct breastfeeding.
When reaching the week prior to returning to work, make sure to set plans on how you will manage your first week of work, while listing all equipment that will be needed. Truthfully, it will be quite an emotional step for you, because leaving Your Child is not an easy thing to do, but it is considered to be a normal process that working mothers have to go through. The clearer your planning is for each day of work, the easier it will be for you to adjust.
Clearly, the main equipment recommended to prepare is an electric breast pump, preferably one with a double pump, so that more milk can be delivered efficiently. Secondary specifications to consider in choosing an electric pump are its noise level, portability, and power. Other important equipment that will be very useful includes:
- Milk bottles and storage bags (labeled with the date you expressed breast milk)
- Cooler bags for transportation of breastmilk
- Nursing pads or spare clothes in case you spill some milk
- Clothes enabling you to breast pump easily or a breastfeeding cover
- A space in the refrigerator or freezer at work, or if not available, a personal cooler with ice packs for storing your breastmilk. The milk can then be kept until Your Child needs it.
When at Workplace
Discuss with supervisor and colleagues: Explaining to your supervisor and colleagues of your situation substantially helps them understand you better, and increases the chance they will help you out. In fact, some workplaces even provide a private space for expressing when acknowledging this necessity.
Allocate time for breast pumping: You should pump once in the morning before leaving for work. While at your workplace, on the other hand, try to pump according to the schedule you usually breastfeed Your Child during the day or approximately every 4 hours. This is in order to maintain your breast milk supply, and prevent your breasts from getting too full, which will lead to blocked ducts in the breast. For better proficiency, one of the sessions during the day could be incorporated during your lunch hour. It will take about 15-20 minutes for each session while using a double electric breast pump. The good news is that once Your Child is able to consume some solid food, you can start reducing the number of pumping sessions at your work per day.