Juggling Work and Breastfeeding
Going back to work and breastfeeding is not always easy to accomplish. There will be days when you want to stop breastfeeding since it just doesn’t seem worth it to keep going.
You may start to dread having to pump your milk so that your baby can feed when you’re not there to be with him.
You may find that your breasts leak milk at the worst time and that they start to ache when it’s the most inopportune time for you to pump.
These are the days when you might just want to start your baby on formula and just give up on juggling work and breastfeeding.
If you’ve decided that it’s important for you to breastfeed your baby even though you had to go back to work, there are some things that you can do to make it easier for you to get through those difficult days.
Leaving Work to Breastfeed
These days more and more companies understand the importance of keeping their employees happy.
Talk to your employer and let them know that you’re still breastfeeding your baby and would like to be able to leave work at certain times during the day to go home or to your baby’s daycare.
Perhaps you can arrange to leave at break time and during your lunch hour. Another option is to return to work part-time for a while so that you can ease into working full-time again.
This way you can get into a routine of either leaving work to go home and feed your baby or finding what works best for you when it comes to pumping your breast milk.
If you’re really fortunate, your company will have an onsite daycare available. This way you won’t have to leave work to go home to see your baby.
Learning to Pump Breast Milk
Make sure that you’re already pumping your breast milk before you even return to work. You want to be sure that you’re not going to be having any problems pumping when you’re actually back at work.
If you’re going to be pumping at work, make sure that you have a private area where you can do this. Is there an electrical outlet close by where you can plug in the breast pump?
What about a refrigerator where you can store your pumped milk? These are all things that you need to consider before you’re actually at work.
Nothing will be more frustrating than if you’ve started back to work and conditions just aren’t ideal enough for you to pump your milk.
Baby and Bottle
You’ll also want to make sure that your baby is willing and able to drink your breast milk from a bottle. Make sure that he’s accepting bottle feeding, at least a couple of weeks before you return to work.
The last thing you want is to be at work and your baby is trying the bottle for the first time. Some breastfed babies take to a bottle with no problem at all while others will refuse and put up a fuss every time a bottle comes near them.
How Much to Pump
There are several different factors that are going to affect how much breast milk you pump.
Are you going to be pumping so that your baby has just enough milk for the next day? Or are you going to be pumping just enough milk so that you can combine both breastfeeding and formula feeding?
If your baby is just going to be having just breast milk then you’ll need to pump and empty your breasts as often as you can.
For instance, if you return to work when your baby is just six weeks old and is nursing every three to four hours, then you’ll need to try and pump every three to four hours.
If your baby is six months old and is eating solid foods along with breastfeeding then pumping your milk every four hours should be adequate.
Chances are that your breasts are going to leak when you’re at work and away from your baby. This can be extremely difficult and embarrassing when you’re with your co-workers.
All you can do is be prepared for leakage to happen and do what you can to alleviate it. Wear breast shields in your bra and be sure to keep a couple of extra shields at work.
You’ll also want to keep a clean shirt or two at work as well so that you have something to change into when leaks do occur.
Stick With Work and Breastfeeding
Although it won’t be the easiest thing that you’ve done, continuing to breastfeed when you go back to work can be one of the best things that you do for your baby.
You’ll be able to keep breastfeeding your baby when you’re home from work and on weekends. Stick with it and know that you’re doing what you believe is best for the both of you.