World Breastfeeding Week is the first week in August and this year’s theme is: “Breastfeeding and Work- Let’s Make it Work.” I asked our Maui La Leche League Leader Mary Jane Bennett to submit some tips on breastfeeding and going back to work…
1. THE Best thing to think of is not to think of going back to work until TWO weeks prior to your start back to work date. Enjoy the time you have with your baby. Breastfeed on demand unrestricted, skin to skin, wearing your baby as much as possible, and then two weeks before your scheduled “go back to work day” start pumping and storing your breastmilk. Guidelines can be found at www.llli.org.
2. Then when you are at work, think about the 24 hour clock.You spend 8 hours (hopefully on average) a day away from baby, but guess what? You get to spend 16 hours with your baby. Keeping a video or picture on hand or something that smells like your baby will help with your natural let down of your milk supply. Warm compress, and gentle massage also helps.
3. Breast pumping is a learned skill. BE patient with yourself you are providing the BEST nutrition for your growing baby. Please know your employer is mandated by laws to protect nursing mothers. They need to provide you with a private pumping area and time for you to pump as needed.
4. The first days back to work can seem like a terrifying challenge. Follow a few of these tips, and the whole transition will be a lot easier for both you and your baby.
• Take a Practice Day before you go back to work. Arrange for your baby to be cared for half a day and prepare everything you think you will need to pump at work. Then try and duplicate your work schedule, pumping when you would have breaks and see if what you packed is adequate and notice how you are feeling. Remember to wear clothes that will work for pumping and not show milk stains if you leak. When you get home see if you pumped as much milk as the baby took while you were away.
• Try and start with a short week, maybe on a Wednesday or Thursday.
• Figure out a pump schedule, you may need three pumping breaks e.g., 10am, 12:30pm and 3pm and then have a routine at home for cleaning equipment ready for the next day.
Good luck and happy breastfeeding!
Image Credit: www.worldbreastfeedingweek.org