How to continue giving breast milk while you’re back at work.
After having spent a lovely couple of months at home (unless you’re in Czechoslovakia, which gives you a full year of maternity leave!), it’s time to go back to work. This doesn’t mean you have to stop breast feeding or feeding breast milk to your baby.
Returning back to work is an emotional affair for mums – you may feel guilt at leaving your baby with someone else, but look forward to getting back to your job and having more interaction with other adults!
How often should I pump?
You can plan to pump 1 to 2 times daily while in the office.
You may want to consider investing in a handsfree solution to enable you to pump while working – currently there are handsfree bra, handsfree strap, or even handsgree breast pumps available.
Most mummies prefer to have light and compact pumps when they return to work, since you would need to bring along the pump and its accessories, bottles and caps, coolant, back-up batteries and nipple cream. You may want to have an extra coolant stored at your workplace’s freezer, batteries or power supply for your pump, as well as a spare bottle of milk bottle cleanser and cleaning sponge. You may want to consider leaving an extra breastpump at the office.
The office can be a stressful environment and pumping may feel rushed. To aid let down, you might want to pack a lovely picture of your little one. Drinking a cup of warm water would also help to relax you and aid a faster let down. Take care to have a balanced diet despite your busy schedule, and remember to drink lots of water – 3 litres a day.
Here are some tips to prepare for a smoother transition:
- Speak to your HR to check if thre is a support group for mums to reintegrate back to work, and if there are any breast pumping or nursing rooms at your workplace.
- Establish your milk supply early and get to know your breast pump settings well.
- Up to a month before returning to work, start introducing the bottle to your baby and have the person who will be caring for your baby take over some of the feeds.
- Build up your freezer milk stash. It’s good to have several days of supply so that it isn’t so stressful for you if you’re not able to pump more on a certain day.
- It’s a great reason to go clothes shopping! Select those cuts that are more suitable and comfortable for breast pumping during work. There are some maternity wear that offer discreet cuts and your colleague may not even know you are pumping!
- Get help from good reads – Work / Pump / Repeat by Jessica Shortall makes for easy-reading. Itwill give you different work scenarios and has on-point solutions. It’s a great book to read before going back to work.
- Another good book is Back to Work After Baby: How to Plan and Navigate a Mindful Return from Maternity Leave, by Lori Mihalich-Levin
- Do a infant care trial run at least 2 weeks before returning back to work. (that time is a great excuse to get a haircut or your hair done, so you’ve another item checked off your list before getting back to work.)
- Start back midweek, to ease yourself back into the work week.
- Return gradually, if your work allows it, or work from home.
- Bring your baby to work before you return if your work environment is suitable – this makes your new mum reality visible to your coworkers. You’ll build in some goodwill by introducing your baby to even your most taciturn colleagues.
- Rehearse at home – pump as though you are working at the laptop or on the phone conference.
- Get back to a work day routine, at least for a week prior to getting back to work.
- 0700 Wake up and pump/feed
- 0730 Prepare for work and Breakfast
- 0800 Travel to work
- 1200 Lunch and pump
- 1530 2nd Pump
- 1800 Travel back home
- 1900 Dinner and pump
- 2200 Latch baby before sleep
- 0100 Latch/Pump
- 0400 Latch/Pump
* remember to drink a cup of warm water before pumping
You will feel more tired than usual after just getting back to work. Give yourself some time for your body to adapt to the new routine, and be disciplined about protecting your rest. Having healthy eating habits, a balanced diet, and some exercise will go a long way in strengthening your body. You may also consider supplementing with a Vitamin-B complex to keep energy levels up.
We’re a great beliverer of mums supporting each other. So if you find your will to keep on breast pumping fading, join our group on facebook for tips and to connect with other mums.