Leaving your baby to return to work is hard, and many moms are returning to work as early as six weeks after delivering their baby (just when mom and baby are starting to develop something that resembles a routine)! While the demands of work, home life and caring for baby are a lot to juggle, women everywhere are returning to work and continuing to be fantastic moms who successfully breastfeed.
Breastfeeding benefits your employer, too
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusively breastfeeding for at least six months. The longer babies are breastfed, the greater the health benefits for both mom and baby! Breastfed babies are about half as likely to get sick as babies who are solely formula fed in the first year. A healthy baby means less time away from work for mom.
Tips for continued successful breastfeeding in the workplace
- Ease back into work if possible, starting mid-week or working half days to make the transition away from baby easier
- Discuss your decision to pump at work with your supervisor or human resources department prior to your return to make sure you have a private space for pumping. There are laws in place that may protect your right to pump
- You will need to protect your milk supply by pumping often while away and breastfeeding when you are with your baby. You may want to schedule your pumping time in advance and block it on your calendar
- Avoid having your breasts become overly full. Engorgement sends a signal to your body to slow down milk production
- Two piece clothing that opens easily at the waist makes pumping at work easier
- It may be helpful to have the support of another working/pumping mom
- Since you will be separated from your baby while you are at work, be sure to breastfeed your baby when you are home, including mornings, evenings, and weekends It’s a great way to keep tuned in and bonded to your baby. Frequent breastfeeding will also help you to maintain your supply
Building back-up supply and storing milk
- For working moms, using a pump that allows access to both breasts at the same time is more efficient. By double pumping, mothers keep their prolactin (an important lactation hormone) level up, and they are able to pump in half the amount of time
- After pumping, milk should be cooled in a refrigerator or frozen. It can be stored at room temperature (72 degrees) for 4 hours
- Some women find it helpful to pump first thing in the morning, when the breasts are the fullest. Pump after nursing your baby
If you’ve successfully worked and nursed, what other tips would you add?
The Touro Lactation Boutique is a full-service retail store where families can purchase or rent products specifically for breastfeeding needs, including: breast pumps (hospital grade, electric and manual) maternity/nursing bras and tank tops, as well as a wide variety of nursing support products. The store is conveniently located on the second floor of the hospital near the Family Birthing Center and is open Monday – Friday by appointment only. Please call (504) 897-8130 to make an appointment.
As part of our two day series on nourishing baby, you can enter to win $50 to Touro’s Lactation Boutique!
Juliette Glaviano RN, IBCLC
Juliette Glaviano RN, IBCLC, graduated from LSU School of Nursing in 1987 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Juliette began her career at Baptist Hospital in the Well Baby Nursery/NICU from 1987 where she worked until 2005. Following Hurricane Katrina, Juliette worked as a staff nurse in the Birthing Center at St. Tammany Hospital from 2005-2007, and began working part time in the Lactation Department at Ochsner in 2006. Juliette started at Touro in May 2007 in the Well Baby Nursery/NICU. In July 2008 she became a Board Certified Lactation Consultant and transferred to her current role in the Touro Lactation Center. Juliette supports breastfeeding mothers in both the well baby nursery and NICU, provides outpatient consultations, and teaches prenatal breastfeeding class.