The first few weeks were a blur for me as a new mom. The struggle to manage everything was difficult as I learned newborn motherhood and juggled other things on my to do list. For the mom still in the center of that space, the idea of the inevitable return to work was one that incited a lot of feelings of stress and nervousness. I had a gazillion questions running in my mind.
How would I leave this new precious person behind?
How would I adapt to drop-offs to childcare and returning to work after conceivably many night-wakings?
How would I manage pumping and breastfeeding as a busy working mom?
Planning my return to work was an emotional time. It was the first time I would be separated from my baby for long stretches.Continuing to breastfeed was the best decision that I made, it assisted me with keeping the intimate bond we developed, giving my baby the comfort, nourishment and security for as long as we both needed it.
In case you’re breastfeeding your newborn, you may also be wondering how to transition from full time nursing on demand to more structured pumping and breastfeeding schedule for working moms. In this post I will share a bit about my journey to continuing to nurse for almost 2 years as a working mom.
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While we talk a ton about the upsides of breast milk and how profitable it is for mothers to take care of their babies with this miracle food, we often neglect that regardless, breastfeeding has its difficulties. Don’t you agree?
For working moms or moms who need to find balance between home and different errands while managing a baby, breastfeeding can often get tiring and unmanageable, especially without the assurance and comfort of your home.
However, the present era modern moms have a simple solution that has effectively changed the game – Breast Pumps!
When Should I Start Pumping to Return to Work?
Breastfeeding is suggested as much as possible, yet for mothers who need to be away from their newborn babies, the breast pump is of extraordinary assistance.
As a rule, you don’t have to begin pumping until about two weeks before returning to work. Storing your milk in smaller increments initially can be beneficial (think 203 oz). However, if your baby will be in daycare for longer stretches, its okay to package in larger quantities.
I was a bit of a stress-pot, so I began pumping and breastfeeding at the same time about 4 weeks before I went back to work. I started, however, just once every day to become acclimated to it. I would set my pump on one breast (my slacker one) and pump while my daughter nursed on my other one. Then I would switch her and let her nurse the slacker one and pump the other one.
Now as we will find out, nursing is supply and demand, and this REALLY upped my supply. Which was fine for me because I initially didn’t want to supplement with formula, so I had a LOT of milk frozen and prepared for transitioning back to work.
Timing is Everything!
Now if you are putting away a lot of milk too soon, this can prompt a few issues if you aren’t storing it properly.
- You’re preparing your body to create more milk than your infant needs. That’s why later if the breast isn’t emptied, it could prompt a clogged milk duct, which could transform into breast contamination called mastitis.
- Second, in case you’re focused on exclusive breastfeeding, you’re still going to pump a few times each day at work – regardless of whether you have a huge reserve of frozen breastmilk at home – to keep up your milk supply.
To avoid these issues, make sure that you store your milk properly, and if you aren’t a crazy lady like me, maybe just consider adding one extra pumping session a day!
How Often Should A Working Mom Pump?
At work, you should consider pumping every three to four hours for around 15-20 minutes a session; this works with the idea of supply and demand. As your infant takes in milk every few hours, pumping that frequently will guarantee that you’re ready to stay ahead of their needs.
How to Store Breast Milk?
First thing first: Ensure all equipment is sterilized before you start. The milk ought to be put away in the back of the freezer and consistently transferred home in a cool sack with ice packs, if possible.
You can either refrigerate or freeze the pumped milk. But, remember the 5-5-5 rule:
- Milk can remain out for five hours (immaculate*).
- Milk can be refrigerated for five days.
- Milk can be frozen for five months.
* Contaminated milk (milk that has been in the babies bottle to drink) can stay out for 1 or 2 hours only.
Sample Breastfeeding and Pumping Schedule
So, what does breastfeeding and pumping look like for a working mom?
Below, I’ve assembled a simple breastfeeding and pumping schedule that you can follow while working outside the home. You can likewise breastfeed your baby following the same sample schedule when you get back from work.
Your pumping at work routine will probably look like your ordinary breastfeeding schedule.
Getting in as much nursing before and after work can help decrease the number of times you have to pump at work.
Here’s a workable breastfeeding and pumping schedule for working moms, its also the one I used until I didn’t need to pump anymore for my baby girl:
6:00 a.m. — breastfeed your infant at home before you leave for work toward the beginning of the day.
7:30 a.m. — Pump as soon as you get to work before you start your day! It’s best to get to work a few minutes early.
9:30 a.m. – Take a 20 minute pumping break, consider saving emails or other computer work for this time to pump and work at the same time.
11:30 a.m. — pump during your lunch break
2:30 p.m. — Take a second pumping break now
5:30 p.m. — Pump one last time at work before your leave, or if you’ve just left for your workday, hold off on the pumping and breastfeed your infant when you get him at childcare.
8:00 p.m. — Breastfeed your infant directly before you put him down for bed.
1:00 a.m. — If your baby nurses at least once at night, your milk supply will, in general, be better. Now, I didn’t have a wake time persay, we co slept, so my daughter nursed off and on throughout the night.
Preparing Your Baby
Once you understand how to follow the schedule, have relatives, your spouse, or a day sitter work on feeding your child a bottle of breastmilk. That way, your infant will be able to become familiarised to the bottle before you return to work, and it will assist you with becoming adjusted to pumping your breastmilk.
Before you return to work, take your infant to your childcare provider to rehearse your everyday practice. Do at least one practice run where you leave your infant with a guardian who will feed him a bottle of breastmilk. We started my daughter at daycare for a half a day before I started back at work.
Useful Tips for Pumping and Breastfeeding
I took some important notes from my breastfeeding class and all through this process that I’d like to share to my new mamas.
Breastfeeding and Pumping Tips:
Use a double electric pump- Having the option to pump from both breasts is incredible for supply.
Consider leasing a hospital-grade pump if you’re pumping for a preemie or pumping solely for maximum production and comfort.
Know the facts – New milk comes in every two hours, baby gets hungry every two hours.
Don’t feel guilty – It’s alright to pump and feed the infant through the bottle.
Make sure to label the milk – mark and date expressed breast milk before placing it in the refrigerator or freezer, so your baby’s caretaker knows which one to utilize first.
Eat and Drink – On the off chance that your milk supply eases back down:
- Eat oats and barley
- Drink lots of water; breast milk is 88% water
Sterilize your pump parts regularly to keep things clean and in great working condition. If you have a preemie or a medically fragile child, you’ll need to follow rigorous cleaning procedures.
Pump one side while nursing your baby on the opposite side in case you’re home while pumping and have an infant who breastfeeds.
Pump every few hours- The more you pump, the more milk you will make!
YOU CAN DO IT!
It took me weeks before I finally felt that I wasn’t on the verge of a mental meltdown consistently. I would hit the hay at night, incapable to sleep since I was going through my plan for the following day and getting up because I was certain I neglected to accomplish something before I crept in bed.
But, trust me, the schedule gets simpler with time. You’ll get it. Remember the initial few days or maybe weeks will be the most troublesome ones for you and your infant. And if you feel stressed or overwhelmed, remember why you’re doing this. It’s for that sweet little child who is relying on you for love! You are going to do amazing! I just know