Feeling anxious about the coming end maternity leave? Don’t worry: You can still breastfeed when you back to work. Lots of nursing mothers dread going back to work when they are still breastfeeding their babies. For most, it is not something they even look forward to, and for others, it is more stress than enjoyment. If you find yourself in such a situation, and you need to breastfeed your baby when you go back to work, you don’t need to be afraid. The following techniques will be useful in the short and long run as breastfeeding moms.
Give Your Baby a Bottle Early
Many nursing moms usually delay in giving their babies a bottle and most generally wait till they resume work. This is wrong, as most times, babies would not respond well to such and reject the bottle. You have to be proactive as a mom, and start introducing the bottle to your baby early enough. You can introduce your baby to a bottle filled with breastmilk when he/she is three weeks old. This time frame is something even experts recommend.
Please follow the recommended timeline, and do not give your baby a bottle earlier than three weeks. If you introduce a bottle too soon, your baby might not crave for the real thing anymore.
Become Close Allies with Your Breast Pump
You can’t give your baby a bottle of breast milk if there is no breastmilk to fill up the bottle in the first place. It is for this reason that the breast pump is essential to have nearby. Use the breast pump to express the milk immediately after the first nursing session of the day. This is when the quantity and quality of milk are at its peak.
After pumping, keep the milk in either the refrigerator for up to five days or in a freezer for up to five months (source). The best storing containers are specially made storage bags for breastmilk. These bags are specifically designed to act as the ideal container for breastmilk.
Since each baby feeding requirements is different, it is recommended you store the breastmilk in the amount your baby will consume in one feeding. So, you can either save your milk in 2 ounce or 4-ounce servings.
If you are wondering how many times you should pump a day, well experts recommend once a day. You can pump more milk in multiple days of one week so that you have enough in storage when you resume work. Introduce your baby to a couple of bottles in a week, and alternate between the breast, and the bottle. This will help your baby become familiar with how the bottle tastes like and allow you to make the transition from breast to bottle later.
Locate A Convenient Place To Pump At The Office
The law now mandates companies with a workforce of more than 50 employees to create a private space different from the bathroom, and give the individual time to nursing mothers for their pumping needs. For nursing mothers who find themselves in a smaller organization, finding your own space is important.
Firstly, if in your organization you have an office to yourself with locks, then you have your pumping space right there.
If the above does not apply to you, then you have to find a convenient space around the office for you to pump. In most typical fashion, the only convenient place to pump will be the bathroom. In such a situation, you can take sit with you, and make the place as convenient as possible. Try as much as possible to keep the place clean.
Most importantly, you should have a pump with a battery converter for situations when there are no sockets or electrical outlets to charge. This will come in handy when you are in the office bathroom, and you need to pump.
If the above options aren’t conceivable, then you can make use of the following ideas below;
- If you own a car, then make use of it. Park in a reserved space, and take advantage of the closure it provides. This is another scenario where a pump with a battery converter will come in handy.
- Make space if you can’t find one. Look for a storage closet you can use, or empty cubicles not in use. These outlets provide you with a safe place to carry out your pumping activities.
- Ask for help. You can ask your employer or your boss to provide you with space. Don’t be afraid to ask; they will even be delighted to keep you happy and help out as much as possible. You can also meet colleagues who have faced similar situations in the past and take their advice on how they were able to carry out the process.
Ease Yourself Back Into Work
The first week of resumption at the office is usually hard for nursing moms. The thought of having to leave the baby, and spending less time with the baby can be a bit difficult. Talk to your boss on how you can ease back into work most notably in the first few weeks. You can take some days as half days, or even cut down the week into four working days rather than five. All of these is to ease you back into work.
Plan Your Pumping and Nursing Times
As earlier mentioned, the adequate time to pump is after the first nursing session of the day. This can be right after you leave home, or immediately you get to the office. Maximize those periods and use it to pump as much as you can. Remember you can save up your breast milk for up to 5 days in the fridge or up to 5 months in the freezer.
Make Adequate Plans Ahead
Do not forget to take the following items with you when you resume office.
- A pump with a battery converter and a carrying bag for convenience.
- Nursing pads and baby wipes to clean yourself up in case of spillage
- Breastmilk storage bags or bottles
- Extra clothing in case of spillage
- Pictures of your baby to help you relax, and facilitate milk production
- A hands-free helper to help secure your breast in place and make pumping easy.
- A small cooler with ice packs to keep breast milk fresh. Breast milk can stay fresh for up to 4 hours at room temperature(72°F-79°F/22°C-26°C).
- Baby wipes and breast pump wipes to help you clean up, as well as clean the pumping device on the go. At the end of the day, clean your device as recommended by the manufacturer.
All in all, you have to be positive. Heading back to work while you are still nursing your baby isn’t easy, but with adequate planning and organization, you can get it right. Although it might be difficult at first, with the time, you will become used to it. Resuming work doesn’t have to change the way you are around your baby. Make adequate plans and see how effective they will be.
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