If you’re a new mom, the thought of returning to work may leave you feeling like you’re on an emotional roller coaster. From worrying about how your little one will adapt to daycare to wondering if you’ll ever find balance in your new role as a “working mom,” you have a lot on your mind.
Then there’s the million-dollar question all breastfeeding moms ask: how will you keep up your milk supply? Luckily, there are a few tricks to ensure success with breastfeeding after heading back to work.
Lactation Nurse Chris Bartlett, with SCL Health, offers the following six tips:
Invest in a good pump and find out if your insurance company will supply one – many do these days
- Establish a good milk supply in those first couple weeks after baby is born by nursing “on demand.” Then, when baby is about three weeks old start pumping after baby nurses. This will allow you to start stockpiling the freezer, while still giving your baby first dibs on your milk.
- Freeze as much milk as possible while you’re on maternity leave. Having a good stockpile in the freezer will put you at ease when you return to work, knowing that there’s plenty of breast milk ready to go and available for baby whenever he gets hungry.
- Once you’re back at the office, pump whenever your baby would typically nurse. This will help you maintain your milk supply. In those first few months, you’ll likely pump at least three times during your workday. Remember, your milk supply will vary day to day – so don’t stress out if your supply fluctuates!
- In the evenings and on the weekends, breastfeed baby on command. Not only will this help increase and maintain your supply, but it will also allow for the mommy/baby bonding time that you miss out on during the workday.
- Increasing your protein intake and staying hydrated has been proven to help a mother produce milk.
In addition to these tips, having a good support network is also very important for new moms and working moms.
And, most importantly, don’t forget to cut yourself some slack.
“It’s hard having a baby and then going back to work and dealing with everything,” said Bartlett. “Mothers need so much encouragement and support.”