One of the biggest concerns for new moms after having a baby is whether or not the transition back to work will go smoothly. Worrying about the transition consumes an unfair amount of time that you should spend bonding and relaxing with your newborn. It is an added stress to worry about continuing to breastfeed and all that comes with arranging a pumping schedule and keeping up milk supply. The key to a successful transition is to create a plan and to find the breastfeeding cheerleaders in your life.
Create a Breastfeeding Plan
Much like a birth plan, writing down your key information and organizing the details of the transition is a big help. Here’s a template to address the major considerations you will encounter during the transition back to work. This includes a list of supplies to take with you, what to provide your baby’s caregiver, how to set up a pumping space at work, and how to talk to your employer about it. If you are aware of the potential obstacles, you will be able to navigate around them more easily when they pop up.
At Work Supplies Checklist
Pumping at work is sort of like camping. You want to make sure you have everything you need so you aren’t stuck without a tent in the rain – or without a set of nursing pads during an unexpected let down. Three weeks before you plan to return to work, make sure you have a full set up of supplies. An example of the things to gather:
- Double electric breast pump
- Extra set of pump supplies
- Nursing pads
- Pump cleaning supplies (i.e. wipes, soap, microwave steam bags)
- Milk storage containers with lids
- Milk storage bags
- Manual hand pump (just in case your electric pump isn’t working or you have no power)
- Cooler bag with ice packs
Every mom is different and some prefer to wear nursing bras and clothing designed for pumping, and some prefer to wear loose fitting or maneuverable clothes. It doesn’t matter what you decide to wear, as long as you can pump easily enough and you feel comfortable.
These people are the ones that keep your spirits up when you’re feeling overwhelmed or are doubting your ability to continue nursing. They can be family, friends, other moms at a breastfeeding support group, a lactation consultant, or your doctor. Have their contact information ready in the event that you need a pep talk. It can be incredibly helpful to hear the stories of other moms who have struggled with breastfeeding — you can learn what they did to overcome the challenges.
Practice Makes Perfect
Your new routine will become second nature once you get started, but it may feel a little bumpy in the beginning. Practice using your pump in the weeks leading up to returning to work and start stocking your freezer with breast milk. Set up your pump like you would at work, imagining how you would store your pump and the milk you expressed after a pumping session. It is good to know in advance whether you will have access to an outlet, a sink, or a refrigerator so you can plan around it.
Don’t Plan to Pump in a Bathroom
The default pumping location used to be bathrooms, however, there are laws now that require companies to provide a private nursing space for mothers that isn’t a bathroom. While there are a few exceptions to the law, it is not too much to ask for a space that is NOT the bathroom. If your employer requests that you keep your pumping in the restrooms, kindly let them know that it is not standard practice anymore.
Going back to work can be a difficult transition for new moms, especially if you’re planning to pump throughout the day, however having a plan and a supportive team will make the transition smoother. Feeling confident in your plan to return to work will give you peace of mind. It is totally possible to have a successful back-to-work breastfeeding experience and we’re here to help you.
This guest post was written by Aeroflow Breastpumps. Aeroflow helps you get a breastpump for free through your insurance. For more information about Aeroflow Breastpumps, go to www.AeroflowBreastpumps.com.