When you start back to work, some babies have a normal period of adjustment that may include a lack of appetite and an increase in fussiness. They will soon make the adjustment. Breastfeed as soon as you return from work and frequently when at home with your baby. This will help maintain your milk supply.
Many mothers find that the stress of returning to work or school causes a temporary decrease in milk supply. Having a supply of frozen mother’s milk will help you through this period.
No matter where you work or what type of job you have, you should be able to pump your milk while you’re at work. It just takes a bit of planning and preparation. Here are a few tips:
- Prepare with your employer. Before you go back to work, tell your employer that you’re breastfeeding, and that when you’re at work, you’ll need to pump throughout the day. Ask where you can pump (it should be clean and private) and where you can store the milk. Discuss how you can fit pumping into your workday. And make sure your employer knows the facts: studies show that breastfeeding mothers miss work less often than other new moms! If your supervisor can’t meet your needs, check with your Human Resources department.
- Start pumping before you go back to work — two to three weeks before, if possible. This way, you can build up a supply of frozen mother’s milk for the first few days. Also, make sure your baby gets some practice drinking expressed milk from a bottle.
- When you’re at work, pump about every three to four hours. Try to mimic your baby’s feeding pattern. If you don’t pump often enough, you could have problems with leaking and blocked milk ducts.
- If you have a double pump, pump both breasts at the same time. This will cut down on pumping time and make the most of your body’s natural letdown reflex.
- Think of your baby! Thinking of your baby while you pump will help with letdown — and remind you of the gift you’re giving your baby by continuing to breastfeed.
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