Giving birth and settling into a routine with your newborn can be difficult enough, but what about when reality hits, and you have to go back to work? Besides the separation anxiety and the actual work you have to do, you also still have to breastfeed and provide nourishment for your child. Today, we’ve come up with these tips that will hopefully make the transition to work a lot easier for breastfeeding moms. Check them out below!
Preparation is always key. About a month before going back to work, figure out your childcare arrangements with your spouse. Who will be taking care of the baby while you’re at work? Will you be hiring a yaya? Leaving your child with your parents or in-laws? Besides this, make sure you’re prepped with all the equipment you’ll be needing to breastfeed or pump at work. If you choose to mix-feed your baby, now might be a good time to practice using a bottle for feeding, just so your baby can get comfortable with a it. Another thing you can do is breastfeed your baby before going to work.
Visit or call your employer once you’ve decided to go back to work. More and more people, especially in the workplace, are coming to understand breastfeeding, so don’t be afraid to talk to your employer, explain your situation–that you’ll be breastfeeding, needing some space and time for pumping, etc.–and set up your breastfeeding arrangements.
Anticipate that you’ll be away from your baby for long stretches of time. While this would normally cause your milk supply to lessen, you can do other things such as nursing on demand on weekends or increasing your nighttime nursing sessions to help build up your milk supply. And if you’ve missed any pumping sessions at the office, you can go and make up for them when you get home.
Don’t skimp on equipment to save a few bucks, because getting good quality products can really help in terms of making you feel comfortable. Instead of a manual or single hand pump, why don’t you try a double pump? When looking for pumps, you might also want to consider getting a quiet one, as it might be more conducing for your working environment. You can also get a hands-free pumping bra, high-grade bottles, a mini cooler, chargers and/or batteries, hand wipes or hand sanitizers, breast pads, extra clothes, and malunggay supplements like Natalac.
Does your workplace have a fridge or freezer? If yes, make sure there’s enough space in there to store your milk. If not, you can also bring a mini cooler and ice packs to help keep your milk fresh. Don’t forget to label your stored milk with the date and time you expressed it to keep track of how old it is.
Once you get to work, find a pumping area that you can claim as your space (not totally all yours of course!). By law, most (if not all) offices should have a sectioned off space for you, but if not, then scour your office for a small area you’ll feel comfortable pumping in. If you can’t find any, just bring a nice breastfeeding cover to help give you a bit of privacy. And hey, don’t be afraid to ask help from your bosses in finding an area you can breastfeed in too.
While you’ll be prepared with your pumps and pumping bras, it’s still better to be prepared, right? Try expressing your milk by hand at home. This can come in handy if you need to express milk because you have clogged ducts or sensitive or painful breasts. Your consistent practice will definitely make it easier on you and your work schedule too.
Sure, you can dress to impress too, but if you’ll be pumping several times a day, then it’ll be easier if you have a suitable easy access pumping wardrobe too. Besides, there are many brands out there that offer nursing clothes that are both stylish and comfortable!
Yup, you heard that right. Pencil in your pumping sessions into your daily calendar or your team calendar so everyone knows that you cannot be disturbed during your pumping time. This will also remind them about your whereabouts and that you’re not missing in action. The key is being intentional when setting aside time to pump. Simply hoping that there’ll be free time in between meetings isn’t enough, and this also helps you keep a routine you can stick to.
We’re all for hacks that will make life easier, right? Get an additional set of bottles, cups, and tubes so you can rotate using them with the ones you bring to work. There are also such things as breastfeeding wipes now that you can use to essentially wash your pumps and bottles if you’re in a rush. Looking for little ways to make your daily routine more efficient will really go a long way.
Breastfeeding can be difficult at first, and even more so when you’re in a new environment such as your workplace. Get into a routine of pumping and stick to a schedule. Following your alarm that reminds you that it’s time to pump, or remembering to snooze it if you’re in the middle of something important is something you can try doing. It can be so easy to think, “Oh, I’m so busy, I’ll do it later”, but with practice and vigilance, you can help beat that mindset.
While it’s always best to be prepared, you also have to leave some room to be creative and flexible. If something happens that isn’t ideal, shrug it off, and adapt like the superwoman that you are. If your job requires you to be on the road, be creative in finding places to pump, like in your car, in a parking lot, or in a bathroom. Or if an urgent situation at work pops up, try to find a way to make it work.
Breastfeeding is always better when you find someone going through the same experience as you are. Not only will you have someone to share your struggles and ordeals with, but you’ll have someone who will empathize and sympathize with what you’re going through. And hey, your breastfeeding buddy will be your number one supporter at work too!