Are you having to go back to work but want to continue breastfeeding your baby? Here is an amazing guest post from Beth Reyman on pumping at work and maintaining her milk supply while doing so. Great ideas for all of us working mums! ~Janell~
Breastfeeding, Working, and Pumping: Making it work
It’s never easy after your first baby (or any baby) to go back to work. But depending on your own personal and financial situation it is something that you must do. To work outside the home with a new (or even an older) child is a balancing act to say the least. Trying to figure out the best childcare provider, timing, schedules, naps, and making sure you have quality time with your baby is important. When the time comes to go back to work some people just give up breastfeeding all together. But you CAN do both. You can breastfeed, pump, and work all at the same time.
When I had my first son Stephen I had been working full time up until I went on maternity leave a few weeks before my due date. Luckily due to really generous maternity leave laws here in my state I didn’t have to go back to work until he was 4 months and worked a part-time position working from 7pm-7am. I knew that I wanted to keep breastfeeding despite having to work and so I knew that I would have to start pumping and freezing my milk. It is a balancing act to be able to do both but it is also very doable. I figured out what times I needed to pump at work and I just made the time. Luckily I had understanding co-workers who would cover my patients while I pumped. As a result of having to pump so much I was able to freeze extra milk and when I found myself pregnant 9 months after he was born I was able to supplement my dwindling supply with my own breastmilk. So far I have made it through 12 months of pumping with my first, and 11 months of pumping with my second. Here are the things that I have found to help me.
Get a hands-free pumping bra: I didn’t have one of these with my first and have found it to be totally worth it for the 2nd. Using this hands-free pump bra allows me to hook up my pump to me and then sit down and read a book or play on my computer. Multi-tasking at it’s finest.
Start pumping at least a few weeks before you go back to work: This will allow you to build up a stash of milk in your freezer so that you can have milk stored for your baby. Try and get at least 2 days worth of milk in the freezer just in case you need it before you go back to work. Great times to pump are first thing in the morning after your baby eats and last thing before you go to bed, especially if your baby has started stretching out their nights.
Make pumping at work a priority: It can be easy to push aside your pumping times at work or get caught up but you need to make the time to pump. Make sure to keep pumping as frequently as your child eats or at a minimum of every 3 hours. Also when you are replacing a feeding and trying to maintain your supply then you want to pump for 20 minutes at a time.
Breastfeed as much as you can: If you can breastfeed before you leave for work, when you get home, and before you go to bed it will help to keep your supply up. The more skin to skin breastfeeding the better
Freeze your breastmilk flat: It is easiest to freeze your breastmilk in freezer bags with dates and ounces. If you freeze it flat then you are able to pack the milk most compactly. If you want an easy way to organize your milk in the freezer this is a easy and cheap way to do it using a gift bag (http://greenlitebites.com/2011/06/02/breast-milk-storage/) This would ensure you use the oldest milk first.
Bring your BabyButton Breastfeeding Cover: You never know if you may have to pump near a co-worker, at your desk or in the break room. BabyButtons Breastfeeding Cover allows you the extra privacy and allows you to relax while pumping knowing your boss or co-workers won’t be observing the pumping process the entire time too.
If you are done pumping and breastfeeding and you have lots of frozen milk then look into donating your breastmilk to a milk bank or look into milk sharing networks. This way you are able to not only feed your own child but help other moms and bubs in need.
Head over to our Breastfeeding Cover page for your Cover to take to work with you too!