Mid- August and heavy traffic. This can only mean one thing… summer break is over and school is back in session. Some new moms are experiencing their own version of back to school as maternity leave is coming to an end and the return to work (and pumping) is approaching.
This time can be crazy and confusing for breastfeeding mama’s who are heading back to work and leaving the little one(s) in the capable hands of a caregiver. Below is a list of common questions that will allow for a more seamless transition into the workforce while still in the breastfeeding stage.
How much breastmilk should I provide my childcare provider during the day?
While the recommended amount of milk is 2-3 ounces per feeding, this amount will differ for each baby depending on at-home eating habits. Keep an actual (or mental) log of baby’s feeding behaviors at home and provide to caregiver accordingly. Based on personal experience, bottles leak and accidents happen…so pack a few extra ounces. If possible, breastfeed upon picking up baby.
Tips for pumping at work?
My top recommendation would be to wear clothes that are not exactly form-fitting and accessorized, but still work appropriate. Chances are you will not even want to wear a tight-fitting top, but you will absolutely see the reason for this piece of advice when you are trying to race against time fighting with a blazer and starched button down before your milk lets down. If you are anything like me, the past few months were spent in comfortable, breast accessible clothing…so, keep it simple. Your glow is accessory enough!
How do I properly store pumped breastmilk?
Breastmilk should be stored in an air-tight pouch or container. While breastmilk can be left at room temperature for approximately 4 hours, it is good to get in the habit of keeping it cold in a refrigerator or small cooler with an ice pack. I purchased a child’s lunch box with a zipper which I kept in the back of the community refrigerator at my office. If you have those co-workers that like to look in other people’s bags for a snack, they will not find what they are looking for in your sack.
How do I make the transition back to work easier?
The key to a successful transition back to work is planning and communication. Try to plan ahead the times and locations you will be pumping. If possible, pump when you would normally be breastfeeding baby throughout the day. If your place of employment does not have a designated area to pump, make sure you ask for a temporary space. Employers are required to provide such areas for breastfeeding women. Planning will allow for consistency and help ease the uncertainty and anxiety of pumping outside of your home. It is also a good idea to let people who need to know that you are still breastfeeding, so you have more flexibility during the day to pump. It is less awkward to have the conversation prior to you having to jump up from a meeting to prevent a leakage.
YOU GOT THIS, MAMA!
-Resident MilkBliss writer Brooke Thorne