Breastfeeding provides unmatched physical and emotional benefits for both moms and babies. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that breastfeeding continue for at least 12 months, and thereafter for as long as mother and baby desire. The World Health Organization recommends continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond.
Breastfeeding your baby after going back to work can be challenging, but is totally doable. With these simple tips and some planning ahead, you can keep up the milk supply and continue to feed your baby breastmilk as long as you wish.
The breast pump
Invest in a high-quality electric breast pump to express milk and start pumping as soon as you are comfortable. Establishing a good milk supply after your baby is born and before you return to work will help maintain your supply when you are separated. Start practice feeding your baby a bottle couple weeks before your return to work so that the baby can get used it.
Develop a routine
Try to pump the same times of day that your baby eats. That way you’ll have a consistent supply for the baby when you aren’t home. Work can get pretty demanding and distracting, so have specific breaks arranged for pumping sessions during the day. Nurse as soon as you get home and as much as you can when you are together to maintain that bond with your baby
Storing breast milk
Breast milk can be safely stored in glass or hard plastic bottles with tight-fitting lids, or bags specifically designed for storing breast milk.
Talk to your employer
Ask about a private space available for pumping. If you job does not allow that, get creative to accomplish privacy while pumping. Try talking to other breastfeeding moms you work with and get tips from them.
Have your pumping parts clean and ready to go. The quick clean microwavable bags are a good quick way to clean the pump parts during work.
Take care of yourself
Make sure that you’re keeping yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water and eating healthy to keep the milk supply up. Your body needs about 500 extra calories per day to produce breastmilk.
Breastfeeding is a very rewarding short-term journey which provides long-term benefit. Breastfed babies have decreased risk of ear infections and get sick less often because mother passes protection onto her babies in the form of antibodies. Breastfed babies also have better development, have less trouble with gas, reflux, and constipation.
If you run into any bumps along the way, remember that this is not forever and you’re not alone. Talk to your newborn’s provider about any difficulties you may be experiencing with breastfeeding.