Breastfeeding? Going Back to Work? Here is What You Need to Know

If you’re like most working moms, you might be feeling anxious about returning to work after the birth of your little one. Adding pumping and bottles into the mix can seem downright overwhelming. You might be wondering how you will fit pumping sessions into your schedule or maybe you are concerned about maintaining your breast milk supply. Although it may be a challenge to adjust to your new routine, you can be successful and find balance with a little pre-planning. The following are some basic tips to get you started.

Supplies: There are some very handy supplies available to pumping moms. Try and stock up on these things ahead of time to relieve some stress when going back work.

  • Electric Breast Pump: Most insurance plans cover breast pumps. Call your insurance company and find out where to get yours. This can be done before you have your baby.
  • Easy Expression Bustier Hands-Free Pumping Bra by Medela: This bra is very convenient whether you are pumping at home or at work. It allows you to easily pump both breasts at the same time while giving you time to read a book, browse the internet or take a little "me" time while you pump.
  • Extra Breast Pump Supplies: Supplies can get lost or broken which is inconvenient when you need to pump, keep a few extras on hand:
    • Replacement Membranes
    • Connectors
    • Breast Shields
  • Breast Milk Storage Bags: You will want to keep a box of these on hand in your breast pump bag.

Maintaining Your Milk Supply: Are you concerned about your milk supply decreasing when you head back to work?  The following are ways to increase and keep your supply strong.

  • Eat good protein rich meals and snacks.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Try a supplement such as Motherlove More Milk Plus.  Take 2 capsules, three times a day.
  • On working days, make time to pump approximately every three hours.
  • During evenings, nights and weekends breastfeed your baby on demand.
  • Eliminate other things that could decrease your milk supply, such as:
    • Peppermint or Sage Tea
    • Decongestants
    • Parsley

Storing and Thawing: It is important that you know how to safely store and thaw your breast milk and that the person taking care of your baby knows too.

  • When pumping at work keep your bags of milk in the storage section of your breast pump bag with an ice-pack. If you do not have that kind of pump, bring a small cooler with you to store your milk.
  • Once home, place milk in the fridge. It is okay to keep in the fridge for 72 hours. If the milk hasn’t been used by then, put it in the freezer. Breast milk is safe to store in the freezer for 6 months.
  • Remember to always label each bag with the date, time and quantity.
  • When thawing or warming up the milk, never microwave it. This destroys the nutrients. Put the bag or bottle of milk into a bowl of very warm water.

If you would like to learn more about pumping and returning to work, come to our class PumpTalk 101 with Jan Kaste, IBCLC. This class is taught every first Thursday of the month at 3:30pm. It is $10. To sign up, contact our office 651-895-2520. Health Foundations Birth Center also offers lactation visits during the week and many other services to help with your breastfeeding needs.

The supplies mentioned above can be found on our on-line store, as well as our PumpTalk 101 Kit. This kit contains the pumping essentials at a great price! Get yours here.