How to go back to work while breastfeeding?

Are you returning to work soon? If you’re still breast feeding, it’s a great idea to put some plans in place so that both you and your bub are comfortable with the new normal.

First things first, you’ll need to become a pumping pro. If you haven’t already, invest in a great breast pump and find out everything you need to know about pumping. Practice in the comfort of your own home, and give your baby a few bottles to make sure he is happy with this new mode of feeding.

You’ll need to stockpile some breast milk before your first day back at work. Your supply is generally at its best in the morning, so try pumping for a few minutes after morning feeds. Learn all about the safe storage of breast milk  before you start.

It’s also a good idea to run your plan past your employer. There may be a lactation room and fridge at your workplace – if not, you could ask for a private room to be set aside at key times each day. This way, you’ll feel more comfortable and should find it easier to empty your breasts at work.

Putting your plan in place

  • Work out how much milk per feed – a breast fed baby typically takes around 150-200ml per feed. Prepare feeds in these volumes and consider freezing them in separate bags or storing in the fridge.
  • Prepare separate bottles for each feed – you’ll need a fresh bottle of milk for each feed, so work out how many feeds your little one will need in your absence, and prepare enough bottles for the day ahead. Remember, some days your bub will be more hungry than others – it’s a good idea to have a little extra in separate bottles or bags so the caregiver can provide extra if needed.
  • Pump at your regular feeding times – while you’re away from your baby, aim to pump at around the same time that you’d feed. Follow the guidelines for safe storage of breast milk  to make sure it remains safe for your baby to drink.
  • Transporting the milk – think about how you’ll get your pumped breast milk home from work. A cooler bag and small ice packs are great for the commute.
  • Fit in extra feeds at home – many breast feeding mums who work will squeeze in extra feeds with their bub at home, to help with bonding and milk production.

Look after yourself, too

Going back to work is a big step for new mums. You’re going to be one busy woman! It’s important to keep yourself well-fed and hydrated throughout the day and, if you can, find time for some rest and relaxation in your new schedule.

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