Becoming a parent is a beautiful journey, filled with countless new experiences and challenges. One of those challenges is the delicate balance between returning to work and continuing to breastfeed your baby. At Pediatric Partners, we understand the importance of this transition for both you and your child. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you prepare for going back to work while breastfeeding, ensuring a smooth and successful transition.
Start Planning Early
Transitioning back to work while breastfeeding is a process that requires careful planning. Ideally, you should begin preparing several weeks before your return to work. Here are some key steps to get you started:
- Schedule a back-to-work appointment with our sister facility, Bella Bambino Newborn Care Center, to create a pumping plan with the support of a lactation consultant.
- Establish a Pumping Routine: Begin pumping and storing breast milk before you return to work. This not only builds up a stash but also helps your baby get used to bottle feeding if they haven’t already.
- Talk to Your Employer: Discuss your breastfeeding needs with your employer in advance. They may need to make accommodations for your pumping schedule or provide a private space for you to express milk.
- Research Local Daycares: If you’ll be using a daycare, make sure it’s a breastfeeding-friendly facility that’s willing to follow your feeding schedule.
Invest in the Right Equipment
Having the proper equipment can make your transition back to work much smoother. Some essential items include:
- Breast Pump: A high-quality breast pump is a must. Consider a double electric pump for efficient and quick pumping sessions.
- Storage Containers: Invest in breast milk storage bags or bottles with lids to keep your milk fresh.
- Cooler Bag: A small, portable cooler bag will keep your expressed milk at the right temperature while you’re at work.
- Hands-Free Pumping Bra: This allows you to pump while working or multitasking.
Develop a Pumping Schedule
A consistent pumping schedule is vital to maintain your milk supply and ensure your baby gets the nourishment they need. When planning your pumping sessions:
- Follow Your Baby’s Feeding Schedule: Try to mimic your baby’s feeding schedule as closely as possible.
- Pump at Work: Schedule regular breaks for pumping while at work. Most working moms find it helpful to pump every 2-3 hours.
- Create a Relaxing Environment: Find a comfortable, private space for your pumping sessions. Many companies provide dedicated lactation rooms.
Communication Is Key
Clear communication with your employer, colleagues, and daycare staff is crucial during this transition:
- Talk to Your Supervisor: Let your employer know your pumping schedule and express any concerns or special requests you may have.
- Inform Your Daycare Provider: Share your baby’s feeding schedule and provide enough breast milk for the day.
- Educate Your Co-Workers: Discuss your needs and the importance of breastfeeding with your colleagues so they can support your efforts.
Stay Positive and Patient
Balancing work and breastfeeding can be challenging, but with patience and a positive attitude, it’s definitely achievable. Here’s how:
- Set Realistic Goals: Understand that it’s okay if you don’t exclusively breastfeed. Every drop of breast milk your baby receives is valuable.
- Take Care of Yourself: Ensure you’re getting enough rest, staying hydrated, and eating a balanced diet to support milk production.
- Seek Support: Reach out to friends, family, or a support group for encouragement and advice.
Going back to work while breastfeeding is a significant transition for both you and your baby. With careful planning, the right equipment, open communication, and a positive mindset, you can successfully balance these two important aspects of your life. At Pediatric Partners, we’re here to support you every step of the way. Remember, you’re providing your child with the best start in life by continuing to breastfeed, even as you return to the workplace.