Returning to work while breastfeeding and pumping after maternity leave can be overwhelming. How will I find the time to pump? How will I pump while at the office? What if I have an extra-long day at the office?
It’s going to be tough but with a little organization and consistency, you’ll be able to pump while you’re working and keep your supply up.
Put pump times on your calendar and stick with them
The worst thing that can happen is an unexpected call or meeting comes up on your calendar during your pumping time. To help eliminate the stress in trying to juggle which takes precedence, add your pumping sessions to your calendar! While there will be times you might have to move things around, simply having the task on your calendar will help make sure you’re consistent with your pumping, even at the office. Worried about what your boss may say? Having the ability to offer your baby breastmilk while returning to work is your right.
The beginning of the day and the end of the day count
Returning to work and breastfeeding your baby isn’t all about when you step foot in the office. You can try and add a morning feed, or pump, before you leave the house (especially if you have a commute). It is also important to schedule a pump at the end of the day if you have a longer period of time between leaving the office and seeing your baby or getting home to pump. If you are feeding at the breast, ask the babysitter or daycare provider to avoid feeding from a bottle right before you get there so that you can feed at the breast as soon as you pick-up your baby.
Put your stress on the backburner
Stress can have a huge impact on your supply and how much breastmilk you can pump in a session. With 2-5 minutes being the average time for your breasts to let down and start expressing milk, stress can make this take even longer.
When you’re pumping, your main goal is to be stress-free. Easier said than done, right? Instead of going through your to-do list, answering emails, or worrying about what to cook for dinner, look through photos and videos of your baby! This will help recreate those feelings when you’re at home breastfeeding your little one.
Stay nourished and hydrated
A lot of women notice a decrease in their supply on the days that they’re not drinking enough water or eating enough nutrients. While there is no scientific connection to what you eat or drink and increased milk supply, eating well and staying hydrated makes you feel better. With juggling a new baby and working, it is more important than ever to never skip a meal and always have a water bottle on you!
Stick to a consistent schedule
Having a set schedule isn’t for everyone, but it can be a gamechanger when it comes to breastfeeding, pumping, and keeping your supply up. Most women noticed that when they pump at specific times, they have a better supply than when they pump because they feel it’s time. It can be frustrating to plan activities and your workday around these times, but it can make such a difference!