Returning to work after giving birth and breastfeeding isn’t easy, but there are things you can do to make the transition easier.
Planning ahead can help ease the transition for both you and your baby, since the transition back to work may already be hard enough.
Plan to Succeed
From rushing to get packed in the morning, to dropping little one off at his or her day care, morning can be a little hectic. Plan ahead by packing the things you can the night before.
You might want to have little one’s diapers, extra clothing, and bottles ready to go. Pull full outfits for both you and your little one for tomorrow, so you don’t have to spend time looking for anything in the morning.
Have your cooler, pumping bag and pump ready to go, and be sure to freeze your ice packs. You can also pack your lunch the night before to save you time in the morning.
Early to Rise
For the first few days, you may want to set your alarm fifteen minutes early. Start by breastfeeding your little one (even if they’re almost asleep). This helps set the rhythm and schedule for the mornings.
Be sure to eat a good breakfast and drink some water or juice in the morning, to keep your energy and milk production up.
Then, breastfeed once again before dropping them off with their day carer. This helps set the routine and will “top-off” baby with just a little extra milk before you leave for work.
If possible, talk with your boss ahead of time about your pumping plan including where and when you’ll pump. The usual schedule includes a pumping session mid-morning, and then another during lunch and mid-afternoon.
Each session will take between 20 to 30 minutes, although it may take a little longer in the beginning until you establish a routine. Try to eat a snack and drink when you’re pumping.
Of course, if you can arrange to leave work for lunch and nurse your baby in person, do it. Although not everyone has this option, it’s an incredible option for those that can.
As soon as work is over and you’re with your baby again, nurse him or her.
During the night, you may find your little one wants to nurse a little more often, which is called reverse cycle feeding. It’s completely normal, and you should try to nurse as often as you can overnight.
Of course, things rarely go according to this ideal plan!
There were days I didn’t eat breakfast, or days I didn’t get to pack the night before.
There were times I didn’t pump three times during work or didn’t get to nurse little one as much as I’d like during the night.
The reality of working while breastfeeding is rarely as simple as the plan we devise ahead of time. Try to stay flexible and remember the benefits are worth it, even if you don’t meet your ideal plan. Your baby will continue to receive the best nutrition for them, which protects them from bacteria, viruses and diseases.
Every working and pumping mom knows it isn’t easy to pump when returning to work. On top of the transition back to work, you have to learn how to pump quickly.
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I hope that making your plan and sticking to it, along with support, can make your transition just a little bit easier.