Breastfeeding Tips for Working Moms

All new mothers know how important breastfeeding is. Not only for the health benefits, but for the special bond that it creates between mother and child. The first few weeks after delivery is a magical time where you are getting to know your newborn and spending close to all of your time with them.

It will be difficult to think about spending time away from them, but sometimes it is necessary in order to go back to work.

Luckily, it’s possible for breastfeeding and work to coexist and we’re here to show you how. That’s why we’ve put together our top breastfeeding tips for the working moms out there.

Importance of Continued Breastfeeding

Babies need breast milk and going back to work doesn’t mean you won’t be able to provide it. If things get tough, just remember that breastfeeding your baby will help your baby’s healthy development continue with unsurpassable health benefits.

Breastfeeding lowers different types of viruses, respiratory ailments, infection and helps to strengthen the immune system. In addition, breastfeeding also helps develop resistance to allergens and chronic disease over time.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that you breastfeed your baby for up to at least 12 months.

So how do you keep breastfeeding if you need to go back to work?

Make a Plan

The first step to successfully breastfeeding when you return to work is making sure that you establish a plan. Start during pregnancy, continue on after delivery when you’re still at home and then have a plan for returning to work.

During Pregnancy

While you’re still pregnant and working, start having conversations with your employer. It’s a great time to figure out accommodating areas for pumping and making sure that they understand your plan when you return. If they don’t have a room available, page 4 of this PDF has great suggestions to help create a comfortable space.

Additionally, have a conversation about other work options. Can you work from home occasionally or start telecommuting? If you aren’t ready to be gone all day, look into temporarily switching to part time.

Try to find a support group that to join with other workingwomen who are breastfeeding. This will give you insight on what has been done and some creative options you may have overlooked.

One of the best things to do for pre-breastfeeding planning is to look into breast pumps. Having a good pump before your baby comes will give you the opportunity to learn how it works and gain practice with using it. When your baby comes you’ll have a lot less time on your hands so pregnancy is a perfect time for shopping.

For mom’s who plan on returning to work, take our advice… buy an electric pump. Manual pumps are great, but they take a lot longer and use much more effort than electric pumps.

There are tons of different options available and thanks to the Affordable Care Act new moms are eligible to receive a breast pump free of cost through their insurance providers.

If you’re stuck on how to select a breast pump, check out our guide here.

After you have a pump, remember that you’ll need to find a sitter or nanny who will be taking care of your baby while your away. This is great to do during pregnancy, so that you have time to test your options. Try finding someone who is familiar with handling breast milk or at least understands how important it is that they never use formula.

Since it may also be your first time with handling breast milk, you will be learning together. The important thing is that whomever you choose is willing and able to follow your wishes.

Post Delivery

It is a good idea to plan to take as much maternity leave as possible. Doing this will help give you the time that you’ll want and need to spend with your baby and develop a bond.

Taking longer maternity leaves also help you learn what your baby’s needs are. When you first begin breastfeeding, you’ll have no idea how much milk your baby is drinking. The longer you spend with them, the better you’ll understand what they’re needs are.

If you’d like, talk to your doctor to make sure that you will be pumping enough when you’re away, but a general rule of thumb is that a baby eats about 1-1.5oz/hour.

Another important thing to do while you are still on maternity leave is introduce bottles to your baby. You should personally do this so that your caregiver will be able to easily feed your baby when you’re away. It is recommended to introduce bottle-feeding around one month6. Any earlier increases the risks of nipple confusion.

At Work

Everyone knows that work gets demanding at times. However, it’s important to continue your schedule of pumping so that you avoid engorgement – believe us, you want to avoid this! Additionally, if you continually miss pumping sessions over time your milk supply will begin to diminish.

A great way to check on schedule is to either set an alarm on your phone or schedule appointments on your calendar. We love using the calendar because it helps you stick to your pumping schedule and shows other people that you’re busy.

Know Your Rights

As a new mother you need to know what your legal rights are. This is especially true if this is your first child and you feel nervous about where or when you are allowed to breastfeed.

However, federal law requires that employers provide breaks for employees to pump for their nursing children for up to one year after the child’s birth. Employers are also required to have a place to do other than the bathroom and give you adequate amount of time during and throughout the day.

If you’re interested in reading more about federal and state law, check out this article. Just know that you have a right to pump at work so don’t be afraid to use it!

Other General Tips

  1. Build up a good supply of milk in your freezer before going back to the office
  2. Have a few trial runs at home
  3. Invest in a hands free nursing bra
  4. Make sure you have a refrigerator or cooler available
  5. Purchase in an insulated container for your commute home
  6. Bring breast pads to avoid any uh-oh moments of milk soaked shirts
  7. Stay hydrated and eat healthy
  8. Exclusively nurse whenever you are with your baby
  9. Consider a wardrobe change for more convenience – there are tons of great, fashionable tops for nursing mothers
  10. Don’t worry if you have setbacks, everyone does
  11. If you need help, ask!

Conclusion

Breastfeeding is important for both you and your baby’s continued health. Don’t skip out on feeding your newborn breast milk just because you return to work. Use this list to start planning and get yourself excited about the fact that you will still be able to nourish your baby while you’re away. If you have any specific questions, talk to a consultant or your primary doctor. Remember that with the Affordable Care Act you’re able to receive a breast pump through Byram Healthcare at no additional cost to you. Check out our selections here.

Your journey will be different from everyone’s, but having a support system in place helps keep us confident and sane. That’s why we love hearing from other new mother’s! If you have any additional breastfeeding tips for working moms, head on over to our Facebook page and leave a comment!

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