Going back to work after having a baby? Want to continue breastfeeding?
Then this post is for you!
The thought of returning to work when you’re breastfeeding can be a daunting one, something I know only too well as a journalist with rolling deadlines, because if I didn’t work from home there’s no way I would have been able to exclusively breastfeed my babies until they were ready to stop (I’m currently 18 months in with number three).
I even gave up my dream job after baby number two (two days in-house at a national newspaper) for the simple reason I couldn’t hack the reality of pumping milk at the same time. It was breastfeeding or the job – I couldn’t have both – and I wept tears of frustration because of it.
Thankfully times are changing. Investment bank Goldman Sachs is the first company in the UK to pay for the breastfeeding mums in its workforce to courier their expressed milk home to their babies if they’re travelling for work. And with a bit of luck where one leads, others will follow.
And with the right equipment and support it is possible to continue nursing your baby without having to give up either breastfeeding or the job. So how can you make returning to work as a breastfeeding mum as smooth and stress free as possible?
I’ve teamed up with Philips Avent feeding & wellbeing expert Vicki Scott – a midwife who also runs the New Baby Company antenatal courses – who shares her 10 top tips for returning to work as a breastfeeding mum. Scroll down and there’s also the chance to win a Philips Avent electric breast pump worth £125!
10 top tips for returning to work as a breastfeeding mum
1. Plan for your return to work well in advance if possible. You will need a private, suitable place to express while at work (that’s not a closed toilet seat like me at the aforementioned national newspaper!) and somewhere to store your milk. Discuss these things with your employer. Under health and safety and employment law, they need to make reasonable allowances for breastfeeding and help enable you to return to work.
2. Consider your options for childcare. A workplace nursery may enable you to visit your baby for feeds. If work is close to home then could a caregiver bring baby to you for one or more feeds? If you are to be away from home all day then you may want to express enough milk for your baby to have until you return.
3. Establish an expressing routine a few weeks before going back to work. Get to know your pump, get used to expressing and how to store and reheat your milk. It can take a little time to become more efficient at pumping milk. It involves your hormones and being in the right frame of mind too! Your baby may also need time to accept a bottle if he has not had one before.
4. Starting to express in advance means that you can build up a stock of milk in the freezer, which will give you more flexibility, and less worry that there won’t be enough milk for your baby when you can’t be there. Breastmilk can be stored for three months in a home freezer.
5. Many mothers continue to breastfeed their babies first thing in the morning, in the evening, at night and at the weekend. Expressing at your usual feed times while you are at work means your baby will be able to have that milk the next day. Having a small stock in the freezer will help make up any shortfall.
6. Being relaxed is key to successful expressing. It may take a few tries to relax enough at work – try some triggers such as a picture of your baby, an item of baby’s clothing, breathing/relaxation techniques or something like a favourite magazine or music. Today’s technologies mean that it’s possible to stay in touch with your baby even when you’re not there.
7. Expressing around the time your baby usually feeds is important to keep comfortable, avoid engorgement and to help maintain a good milk supply. Each breastfeed or pumping session stimulates the production of prolactin – the milk making hormone.
8. If you feel your milk supply is slowing down after your return to work use any days off, and weekends to feed your baby more frequently. This can help give your supply a boost for the days ahead.
9. Using a double breast pump halves the time spent expressing. Double pumping can also produce richer milk for your baby. If you have a double pump, leaving this at work can make things easier too.
10. Returning to the workplace after having a baby will be very demanding until you are settled into a new routine. Be sure to take care of yourself by eating regular meals, staying well hydrated and getting as much rest as possible.
If you’re preparing to return to work or want to start pumping so you can share feeds we’ve got a Philips Avent electric breast pump worth £125 to give away to one lucky reader!
WIN a Philips Avent electric breast pump worth £125!
If you haven’t come across the Philips Avent single electric breast pump before, it features a unique design so your milk flows directly into the bottle, even when you’re sitting up straight – so no need to lean into the pump! The pump comes with a soft massage cushion and ‘massaging petals’ to help stimulate milk flow, and three pump settings so you can choose the mode that’s most comfortable for you. It’s easy to set up, personalise and clean and is also super quiet so you can express discreetly.
All you have to do to be in with the chance of winning a Philips Avent electric breast pump is comment on this blog post saying who the pump would be for, visit me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, visit Philips UK on Facebook or follow Philips on Twitter via the Rafflecopter form below.
The competition runs until midnight on Friday September 7, 2018 and is open to UK residents only. Terms and conditions apply.
Are you a breastfeeding mum? Have you recently returned to work or are you planning to? I’d love to hear about your experience!