Breastfeeding Success for Working Mums
For mums who want to continue to breastfeed while going to work, it can be done. If you mentally prepare yourself, get the tools you will need and come up with a personal plan, you can easily succeed at breastfeeding as a working mum. Let’s talk about some of the ways to achieve breastfeeding success.
What You Will Need
One of the first things to consider as you prepare to go to work is what items you will need. Mums, this is one area that should not cause you stress! Fortunately, breastfeeding supplies are made with working mums in mind. The makers of these supplies want you to succeed, and you have thousands of people cheering you on! Here are some necessary items you will need to succeed:
- A high quality double electric breast pump – A hand pump is not going to cut it when you are a busy working mum trying to multi-task. If you have a great breast pump, you will be able to achieve more at pumping times.
- A bag to transport your breast pump – Most breast pumps come with a standard carrying case. But, if you happen to get one that does not have a bag, you will need some sort of bag to transport the pump from home and work and back again.
- A nursing bra that adapts to your pump – Another way the manufacturers are making our lives easier is by developing nursing bras that make breast pumps hands free such as a pump ease nursing bra. You can eat lunch or work on your laptop while you pump.
- Bottles your baby will take – Depending on how you have been feeding your baby at home, you will need to find a bottle your baby will take. Mums of babies who have been exclusive breastfed will need to search for bottles that will work for their babies and circumstances. Consider how the bottles need to be cleaned, the size of the bottles and the overall quality.
- Teats in various flows – Babies take teats with different flows according to their ages and preferences. For instance, fast flow teats tend to work better for older babies because they eat more during their feedings.
- Disposable breast pads – If you want to avoid an embarrassing wet t-shirt incident, I definitely recommend purchasing some high-quality absorbent breast pads. Leaky books happen, so you might as well be prepared.
- An insulated bag – You will need an insulated bag to transfer your breastmilk from fridge to home on your work commute.
- Milk storage bags – These work great for storing breastmilk as you pump and can be used to store breastmilk in the freezer as well. Here’s a tip – make sure you learn how to use them before you head back to work!
Keeping Milk Supply Up
There is plenty of advice on the internet about how to keep your supply up when you go to work, so I’m just going to tell you my favourite pieces of advice.
- Always choose to latch on when you are with your baby. The more your baby breastfeeds, the better your supply will be.
- This means breastfeed while you are home in the evenings on weekdays and breastfeed on the weekends.
- Most mums will need to pump often (or at least once for each missed feeding for about 15 minutes at a time).
- Develop a pumping schedule. For example, plan to pump first thing in the morning before your baby wakes up, then again as soon as you arrive at work, then during a break or at lunch. Aim to pump every 3-4 hours.
- Be sure you eat well and stay hydrated.
- Avoid stress. This may sound silly, but stress is related to breastmilk supply. So, just remember, you are doing your best for your baby. If things don’t go according to plan, it’ll be okay.
How to Manage Work and Pumping
Every workplace is different, so you will need to think about how things are where you work. For instance, is there a private space for you to pump? Is there a refrigerator you can use to store breastmilk? What will your work day and pumping schedule look like?
- If you have a private space to pump (such as your office), consider making a sign to hang outside your door to avoid unwanted intrusions. Even better, choose a private space where you can lock the door!
- If you have your own office or classroom, can you install a mini-fridge? If not, think about how you will store breastmilk in a communal fridge. How will you label it or store it?
- As far as a pumping schedule, it is a great idea to set alarms on your phone to remind you when it is time to pump. Sometimes the workday can get away from you, so having an alarm remind you that it is time to pump can work wonders.
- Remember, in most places, you legally have the right to take a reasonable amount of time to pump while at work in a private area.
Breastfeeding Tips for Working Mums
For all of you working mums, you are doing a great job! It surely isn’t easy working, taking care of a baby and trying to be successful at breastfeeding. The fact that you are trying is a huge achievement! Before we wrap up, here are some final tips:
- Try not to stress. Accidents happen. You will forget supplies, you will spill milk, you will have embarrassing moments and you will have days when the schedule falls apart. Don’t stress. It will all be okay. We have all been there.
- Keep a water bottle at your desk. This will serve as a great reminder to drink water throughout the day and stay hydrated.
- Have a supply of healthy snacks at work. You need to eat well, and breastfeeding does increase your appetite. Don’t plan on just eating lunch at work.
- Get things ready the night before. Clean your breast pump, have bottles ready in the fridge and pack your bag.
Mums, as always, give yourself some grace. If you are stressed or noticing a decrease in your supply, it’s ok to combine formula with breastfeeding. It may not be pleasant, but it is worth it. Your sanity and your baby’s health matter most. Keep up the good work!
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