Breastfeeding can be hard enough when you’re all blissed out at home with your baby and nothing else to worry about. The time, discomfort (especially when new teeth erupt), sleepless nights; it’s really not an easy gig…
Then right as it’s getting easier and it’s become a lovely relaxing thing you get to do, it comes time to go back to work. So now what? You definitely are not ready to give up this beautiful relationship you’ve worked so hard to build so how can you make it work?
This will vary greatly from person to person depending on how, when, where and who you are returning to in the workforce. Regardless of the type of work if you wish to continue your breastfeeding journey you definitely can.
Work from home?
For some the option of working from home whilst caring for your baby is a viable solution, at least in my experience until they are fully mobile! This will make maintaining breastfeeding a seamless transition. How it impacts your work is another story! If you are required to do video conference calls you might want to think about the timing as a breastfeeding baby may not be a useful addition to your sales pitch.
Hire a nanny?
Another great option if you are able to work from home is to hire a nanny. This way you can continue working, your baby is cared for and you can still breastfeed on demand. Although this can be a costly option and requires you having the will power to stay away from your gorgeous tot for long enough to produce something worthwhile.
Childcare & office geography…
If you need to be in the office and therefore have your child in daycare a great option is to choose a centre within close proximity to your work allowing you to pop in during your lunch break for a feed. Depending on your child’s age you may need to express milk as well to a) maintain your supply and b) ensure baby has enough milk for the day.
Full time work & expressing
Sometimes the only option is for you to be at work full time and your baby be in care full time. In this instance you can feed baby in the morning and evening as normal to maintain that bond. During the day you will likely need to express, again to maintain your supply and provide enough milk for bub at their day care or nanny. In order to do this it may require you to express while at work.
Things to consider when expressing milk at work:
– You want a safe, quiet place you feel comfortable to express as nothing deters milk supply like anxiety. If no such place exists, share the Breastfeeding friendly workplace guidelines with your boss.
– If using an electric pump you will need to be close to a power point
– You will need a reliable fridge to store the milk in once you have expressed and depending on your journey home perhaps a cooler bag with ice packs to maintain the milks temperature
– Access to a tap to clean your pumping equipment when finished
– If you are worried about supply or struggling to express some great tips are to munch on some lactation cookies filled with milk producing goodies such as brewers yeast, oats and fenegreek. Another thing you can do is have a photo of your baby and one of their blankets with their smell on hand as this can help relax and allow the pumping process to flow a little easier
– If you are concerned with being discrete and need a hands free pumping a brilliant option is the freemie collection cups. They are compatible with a large range of pumps making it a great and inexpensive option.
– A double pump will be the most effective however they are expensive. If you only have a single pump I would suggest investing in something like the avent breast shell or milk savers to ensure none of your precious milk is wasted while pumping.
Ease into change
If returning to work will be the first time baby has taken a bottle make sure to introduce it early on to ensure he/she will accept the bottle. Try someone other than yourself feeding baby the bottle so they get used to accepting milk from others.
If you are able to, try transition slowly into daycare or leaving your baby with a nanny. Spend time at daycare or with the nanny and bub at first, then try leaving them for a few hours, increasing this time each day over the course of a week or two.
Most importantly continue to enjoy this special bond you have with your baby, enjoy your work and cherish your time with bub.