When your maternity leave ends, you will face many transitions that come with new challenges. One of these shifts will be your breastfeeding experience. It’s vital to hold firm in your beliefs should you wish to continue the journey at work. Here are a few tips to help make this process easier!
Perfect Your Pump
You will likely have a period at home before returning to work. And in this time, you may latch your baby directly to your breast and wait to pump. While this is fine, consider introducing the pumping routine before returning to work to encourage an easier transition.
Perfecting your pumping routine will help you gain confidence in the process and make things easier at work. You will have limited time to pump at work, and this routine will help alleviate any added stress.
Create a Routine
Your breast milk supply will produce based on demand, which significantly comes into play when establishing a pumping routine. Upon returning to work, spend the first week finding the best ways to move your supply without disrupting your day or your milk.
Often, pumping every two to three hours is beneficial to maintain the supply and demand nature of breast milk. Use this as your baseline and adjust accordingly. If you overproduce, it will be less. If you only produce per the baby’s needs, your sessions will typically fall into this window.
Inform Your Employer
Remaining transparent with your employer about your wishes and needs to continue pumping and breastfeeding will be your best shot at continuing the journey. Your employer cannot possibly support a lifestyle they do not know about.
Additionally, this may help them accommodate you while in the workplace and encourage your journey. One of the best ways to support the breastfeeding community is for employers to provide support and accommodations. So, inform them of the journey and remain as transparent as possible.
Pack a Work-Ready Supply Kit
Having the necessary supplies for pumping breast milk while at work is vital. Invest in a bag that stores the supplies for easy transport, and ensure you pack the pump, hoses, flanges, and storage containers. The storage containers can be milk-safe bottles or freezer bags, depending on what is best for you.
Another supply worth considering is a cooler for safe storage and transport. Some moms find it easier to invest in spare parts to leave at work so they don’t have to haul the supplies daily.
Ensure Safe Storage
Once you establish a clear pumping routine and understand how things will work, you must ensure safe storage. Breastmilk cannot sit at room temperature for longer than four hours. It’s safest in the fridge for up to three days or in the freezer for up to six months.
Use the work fridge to store your milk for the day and place it into a cooler to transport it home. This process will be fine for one-day increments. But once you return home with the milk, consider putting it into the freezer if your baby does not need it immediately.
Regardless of your circumstances, the decision to continue pumping breast milk while at work is challenging. Try to hold onto the value of the process when things get tough, and remember the many benefits you are offering to your baby and yourself in this postpartum phase.