Breastfeeding is hard work and returning back to work can put additional strain on the experience. During your pregnancy start to educate yourself as much as possible about breastfeeding so that when you return you feel prepared. Talking with your employer before returning to work can help alleviate the stress and help arm you with a game plan.
One of WPs very own lactation certified nurses (and a new mom!) has put together the following information for our patient’s mothers to make the transition as easy as possible. I found the information to be very helpful as a new mother and wanted to share.
Establishing a Good Milk Supply
- During the first 2 weeks of life, breastfeed on demand and do skin-to-skin time as much as possible to establish a good milk supply
- Begin pumping before going back to workso you are able to store milk
- Storing, and preparing, guidelines from HealthyChlildren.org
Bottle-feeding a Breastfed Infant
- Introduce a bottle between 2-4 weeks of life and offer a bottle once a day to help baby become familiar with them
- Hold infant in vertical position and bottle in horizontal position
- Wide-based, slow-flow nipples
Back to Work
- How long would you like to breastfeed? (AAP recommends at least 6 months)
- Find out where you will be able to pump and how often (do a practice run)
- Use a double electric pump
- Massage breasts while pumping to increase milk output
- If possible, pump at the same time every day for 10-20 mins (2-3 mins after last drops of milk)
Maintaining an Adequate Supply
- During a 8-10 hour workday, pump 2-4 times/day and extra if you have a long commute
- If supply decreases, increase pumping (shorter, more frequent pumping is better than fewer, longer sessions) and increase feedings in the evenings, night, and early morning
- Pumping after baby goes to bed once on a regular sleep schedule ~2-3 months
- Inform child care provider not to feed infant the hour before you get home
- Exclusively breastfeed on days off – baby’s feeding stimulates supply more than pumping
- Oatmeal, fenugreek, more milk plus, mother’s milk tea, and lots of fluids (water/Gatorade) can all help keep up an adequate supply
How Much Should I Pump?
Hopefully you find these tips helpful. Please feel free to call our office with any additional questions, or stop by our Support Group held every Thursday @ 1pm.