New moms have a lot of tough decisions to make. Do you use formula or breastfeed? Do you stay at home or go back to work? If you happen to be in the “breastfeeding and going back to work” category, here are some tips to make breastfeeding (and pumping) more successful.
- Make sure your baby is comfortable with a bottle. This may take a couple of weeks and it can take time to find a bottle that your baby likes.
- Start pumping a supply of breast milk for when you go back to work. But don’t put too much pressure on yourself – you don’t need a freezer full. In reality, each day you’re pumping at work can be used for the following day.
- Talk to your supervisor about your needs. You may need longer breaks or need them more often. Make sure your supervisor is aware of your desire to breastfeed so that he/she can better support you. If your supervisor does not understand, talk to HR.
- Schedule your breaks and treat them as sacred time. Breast milk is “liquid gold” and so your time to pump should be protected on your schedule. Schedule your pump breaks on your calendar and add in time before/after so you’re relaxed and not rushing. You may be required to work out your pumping schedule with other scheduled breaks.
- Wear clothes that are easy to pump in. Wear shirts/dresses made specifically for nursing, if you can; otherwise, wear a shirt with a skirt/pants so that you aren’t having to strip down completely. There are also breast pumps made specifically to wear in a bra so you can actually pump right in the middle of a meeting, if you choose.
- Purchase an extra set of pump parts to keep at work. There’s nothing worse than getting ready to pump at work and realizing you’re missing a piece. Keep spare parts and even an extra pump at work, if you can.
- Know where you can store your breast milk. Bring a small cooler and ice packs to keep the milk cool for your drive home. (There are some designed specifically for this and the ice pack fits perfectly around the bottles.)
- Bring a photo/video of your baby. As you go back to work, stress may play a role in the amount you’re able to pump. A photo or video may help you relax and it will release hormones that help with milk production.
- Drink plenty of water and limit caffeine.
- Know your rights. A restroom is not an appropriate place to pump. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employers are required to provide breastfeeding moms with “reasonable break time to express breast milk for her nursing child for one year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express the milk… Employers are also required to provide a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.”
The Lactation Center at UofL Hospital’s Center for Women & Infants helps moms and babies overcome difficulties with breastfeeding. For information or lactation assistance, call 502-562-6081. Learn more about the Center for Women & Infants at https://uoflhospital.org/services/center-women-infants.