One of the hardest things for a mother to do is to return to work after childbirth. It is not just the pain of leaving the baby behind, but also, the issue of feeding the baby timely, that makes joining back difficult. There are women who may have return to work within two weeks of delivery. However, the recommended time is to wait for a minimum of 6 to 12 weeks after delivery.
Once you have established a schedule with your little one, getting back to work is a lot easier. However, before you do so, you need to figure out how to breastfeed after joining work and organize the associated activities.
Here are some tips that will help you manage work and breastfeeding your baby to ensure a seamless transition:
What to do before getting back to work?
These are few things that you can do during your maternity leave to ensure that your baby is feeding well and you are able to produce enough breast milk by the time you get back to work:
#1. Be committed to breastfeeding
Many moms find it difficult to stay committed to breastfeeding with long pumping sessions; embarrassing leaks and off-the-shelf availability of formula milk. However, breastfeeding helps you connect with your baby better and produce as much milk as is needed.
#2. Bond with your baby
Spend as much time breastfeeding your baby as possible. Do not worry about what is going to happen after you return to work. Just focus on strengthening your bond with your baby while you are at home. This will aid breastfeeding in the long run.
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#3. Consider opting for a longer maternity leave
If it is possible, extend your leave or choose to work part-time for a while.
#4. Get your milk supply in-line with your baby’s needs
Start breastfeeding early and do it as often as you can when you are with your baby to produce more milk. Form a routine over time so that it is easier to manage when you get back to work.
How to work and breastfeed?
Here are some options that you can explore once you are back to work after childbirth.
#1. Take work from home option
To start with, you can work from home if it is an option. This is becoming very popular in workplaces now a days. Alternatively, you can opt to work from home on some weekdays and work full time on others. This allows you to focus on your work and even give your baby the time that he needs.
#2. Learn about pumping milk
About two weeks before getting back to work, make sure that you learn to pump milk efficiently. The best time for pumping is in the morning as the supply is highest at that time. You can even pump and freeze milk to make a stock before you get back to work.
Also Read: Healthy diet plan for breastfeeding moms
#3. Allow the baby to get used to the bottle
For the first three weeks, refrain from using the bottle to avoid a condition called nipple confusion. After that, you can get a bottle with a very soft teat (nipple) to slowly introduce it to your baby. Use it when the baby is hungry so that he will take the bottle easily.
#4. Talk to your employer
You can negotiate with your workplace to allow you some time to visit your baby during the day or to even take some time to pump milk during work hours.
#5. Take your baby to work with you
Some offices have a crèche or an infant care center that will allow you to take your baby to work. If you are running your own business, it is an option you can explore. If your office does not have onsite daycare, feel free to ask for it. If there are other new mums with you, ask if they would like to team up and make it work for all.
#6. Use a carrier to keep your baby with you
A simple option is to use a sling-carrier to take your baby with you to meetings and even to work when you may have to work longer hours. Try to do this often as it is emotionally beneficial for the mother and the baby.
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#7. Look for a daycare center near your workplace
This may require you to go back and forth to breastfeed your baby. However, it is a great way to spend maximum time with your baby and then get back to work with complete focus.
#8. Look for a good babysitter
You have the option of training a babysitter to make up for your absence. You can even pump and freeze your breast milk and instruct the babysitter to handle the expressed milk and give it to your baby in the correct manner. Teach them how to thaw the milk and bring it to the right temperature before feeding the baby.
#9. Invest in the right apparel and accessories
Invest in some good feeding capes, maternity bras, and breastfeeding friendly office wears, tops, and dresses. You will also need a spacious handbag to carry a breast pump along with your laptop and office essentials.
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A sample routine to make a balance between work and breastfeeding.
A good routine is key to balancing and breastfeeding easily. Here is a simple schedule that you can follow:
- Get everything such as freezing milk packets and preparing the bottle done the night before.
- Layout your clothes, baby’s clothes, baby’s bag, your office essentials, and tiffin items a night prior. This saves last minute confusion and irritability.
- Wake up earlier to get dressed for work and spend some time with the baby before you head out.
- Try to sleep on time so that you can get ample rest.
- Make the departure easy on yourself and do not let negative thoughts engulf you.
- Get a pump that is comfortable for you.
- In case you plan to pump at work, make sure you have a dedicated space and time that will give you privacy and keep you comfortable.
- If you are going to leave the baby with a baby sitter or crèche, make sure you feed her once before leaving.
When you are juggling work and breastfeeding, make sure that you enjoy the time that you have to actually breastfeed the baby. You can also work on getting support from colleagues at work or talk to other lactating mothers to get the assurance that you need during this time.
Also Read: 9 reasons why you might not be able to breastfeed your baby
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