Whether you are returning to work after maternity leave or just entering the workforce, adjusting to a new schedule while breastfeeding can be tough for both mom and baby. We asked UpSpring Lactation Consultant Linda Hill to discuss how mom can make this transition easier.
We want to encourage mom to breastfeed as long as she wants to. Here are some of the biggest issues facing breastfeeding moms when returning to work:
Prepare for Pumping
Tell yourself you can do this and then make the necessary plans to successfully work and continue breastfeeding your baby.
- Test your breast pump before you head to work so you are comfortable with the pump and how it works5 Key Challenges for Moms Pumping and Returning to Work
- Pack extra breast pads in your breast pump bag in case of any leaks during the day
- Have your breast pump ready to go the night before – make sure all breast pump parts are clean and place bag by the door so you can grab on your way out
Manage New Stress
There are a number of new stressors when mom is working again, but it’s critical to manage the stress level, because it can affect the breast milk supply.
- Go for short walks during the day
- Have regular check-ins with baby
- Manage expectations at work
Drink Enough Fluids
Hydration is key to maintaining a healthy breast milk supply.
- Fill a pitcher at the beginning of the day with water so you can easily track how much water you’ve had
- Set reminders on your smartphone to drink your water
- Drink at least 8 cups of water a day
- If you get tired of water you can also increase hydration by eating soups and drinking smoothies or herbal teas without caffeine
Make Pumping a Priority
To ensure your body continues to produce enough breast milk and you avoid an infection, stick to a regular pumping schedule.
- Set a calendar appointment, or reminder on your smartphone for pumping
- Ask a supervisor to help you locate a private space where you can pump
- If an inside space isn’t available to pump, try the car
- Try a portable-breast pump which can easily slip into your bra and be fairly concealed, so you can continue to work while pumping
- Have a picture of your sweet baby handy so you can look at his cute face while you pump
Keep Your Breast Milk Supply Up
Working moms may feel that their breast milk supply is dwindling during the week.
- When you’re not at work breastfeed baby as often as possible
- Nurse baby at night to help keep production up
- If you are indeed experiencing a reduction in supply, try herbal fenugreek supplements like Milkflow that can help increase breast milk production and hydration