Tips for Successfully Continuing Breastfeeding After Returning to Work

Returning to work after maternity leave is a significant transition, and for breastfeeding Mamas, it comes with the added challenge of maintaining a breastfeeding routine. With careful planning and the right support, it's possible to continue breastfeeding while successfully managing work responsibilities. In this blog, we'll explore practical tips for mothers navigating the delicate balance of breastfeeding and work.

1. Start Pumping Before Returning to Work:

Introduce pumping sessions a few weeks before returning to work to build a stash of breast milk. This not only prepares you for the transition but also ensures that your baby is familiar with bottle feeding.Keep in mind that you don't have to have a freezer full of milk to be successful, many Moms only have enough milk for the next day. Take the time to read and understand how to properly use your pump.

2. Invest in a Quality Breast Pump:

Choose a reliable and efficient breast pump that suits your needs. A double electric pump is often the best choice for working mothers as it saves time and ensures a consistent milk supply. While wearable pumps are convenient they should not be your primary pump, because they often lack motor strength due to their compact size. A manual pump is also a great pump to have at work to quickly empty your breasts.

3. Create a Pumping Schedule:

Establish a pumping schedule that aligns with your work hours. Consistent pumping sessions mimic your baby's feeding routine and help maintain your milk supply. Usually pumping every two to three hours if your baby is between birth to 6 months and every three to four hours if your baby is 6 months or older. Many moms also use part of their lunch hour to pump.

Be sure to look into your state's laws and the PUMP ACT to learn about your rights once you return to work.

4. Designate a Comfortable Pumping Space:

Advocate for a comfortable and private pumping space at your workplace. Ensure it is equipped with the essentials – a chair, a table, an electrical outlet, and a refrigerator for storing expressed milk.

5. Freeze and Label Milk:

Label and store expressed milk in a systematic manner, using the first-in, first-out method. This ensures that the oldest milk gets used first, preventing waste.

6. Communicate with Your Employer:

Open communication with your employer is key. Discuss your breastfeeding needs, pumping schedule, and any necessary accommodations. Many workplaces are supportive and accommodating for nursing mothers.

7. Dress for Accessibility:

Wear breastfeeding-friendly clothing to make pumping sessions more convenient. Consider investing in nursing bras, tops, and dresses that allow easy access for pumping.

8. Plan Your Meals:

Maintaining a nutritious diet is crucial for sustaining your energy and milk supply. Pack healthy snacks and meals that are easy to eat during short breaks.Many Mamas are so anxious to show that they still have it that they get fully immersed in their workday and may forget to eat. Pack healthy snacks; fruits, trail mixes, granola, etc. to make sure you dont experience a dip in your supply.

9. Stay Hydrated:

Drinking enough water is essential for milk production. Keep a water bottle with you throughout the day to stay hydrated and support your overall well-being.

10. Utilize Technology:

Explore mobile apps that help you track pumping sessions, monitor milk supply, and set reminders for your next pumping session. Technology can be a helpful tool in managing your breastfeeding routine.

11. Talk To Your Child's Caregiver About How To Properly Care For A Breastfed Baby

If your child will be staying with a family member or in a daycare it's important they know how to properly thaw out, store and understand breastmilk storage guidelines so that no milk will go to waste. You also want to make sure they know how to properly pace bottle feed so that they won't be going through too much milk too fast.

12. Be Kind to Yourself:

Balancing work and breastfeeding is no small feat. Be kind to yourself and acknowledge that challenges may arise. Seek support when needed and celebrate the milestones, no matter how small.

Successfully continuing breastfeeding after returning to work requires careful planning, a supportive work environment, and self-compassion. By incorporating these tips into your routine, you can navigate the challenges, nurture your breastfeeding relationship with your baby, and find fulfillment both in your professional and personal life.

Meet Sterling Grey-Simmons

a dedicated and certified breastfeeding specialist, full-spectrum doula, and advocate for maternal well-being. With a passion for supporting women across the United States and beyond, Sterling goes beyond borders to empower mothers through her expertise. As a sought-after speaker on panels, an educator teaching classes, and an all-encompassing advocate for breastfeeding and postpartum care, Sterling is committed to fostering a nurturing and informed community for mothers on their unique journeys.


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