I’m returning to work soon – can I still breastfeed?
You can definitely continue breastfeeding your baby when you go back to work! The key to continuing to breastfeed after you return to work is planning ahead. To ease the transition back to work, start pumping 3 to 4 weeks prior to returning to work. Try to pump early in the morning (that’s when your milks supply is at its peak due to high prolactin levels) or immediately after feedings. Don’t expect to pump tons of milk after feedings, but if you add up the pumping sessions, you will have a greater “starter” collection of milk in the freezer. See your lactation consultant for assistance at least a month before returning to work.
You will also want to pump at work to keep milk supply going! At first, you may find that it’s a challenge but once you get into a routine, pumping at work will become much easier. And the benefits of breast milk for your baby are worth the extra effort and time.
Here are some helpful hints for pumping breast milk at work:
- Invest in a quality electric breast pump, preferrably double, to make pumping quick and easy.
- A quiet, relaxed environment will encourage your milk ejection reflex (let-down).
- Workplace bathrooms are typically not appropriate for pumping breast milk because they lack the privacy, cleanliness, and electrical outlets you need.
- Think of your baby when pumping. Look at his picture. Some women bring small clothing items belonging to their babies to touch and smell to encourage the milk ejection reflex.
- Massage your breasts while you pump to increase production.
- Have a glass of water or juice nearby as you pump. Drink plenty of water throughout the day and keep nutritious snacks, such as trail mix or similar high-protein foods, at your desk.
- Plan your working wardrobe with pumping in mind. Invest in some nursing tops in neutral colours which can be worn with your existing work wardrobe.with easy access. Wear 100% cotton nursing pads because they are absorbent and ventilate well.
- Above all, do not be discouraged by employees or your employer. Stay with it and remember you are providing a health benefit for your baby, yourself and your employer. Breastfeeding decreases the incidence of illnesses and may reduce maternal absenteeism.
Keep up the good work!