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Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Return to Work

Like many moms, I have to work outside the home.  I have 4 children now, and have never had to use formula.  Working and breastfeeding can co-exist....it just takes a little 'work'.
I would like to give some tips that have helped me.

  • before returning work start pumping at home to stockpile some milk in your freezer
  • talk to your baby and tell him or her that you will be returning to work (I don't know if they understand, but it always made me feel better to vocalize my feelings)
  • pump during baby's naptime
  • "cluster" pump.  just as your baby cluster nurses to increase your milk supply.  Try pumping 5-10 minutes after a feeding, wait another 5-10 minutes and pump again
  • try to pump at the same time each day
  • pumping in the early morning my produce more milk
  • find a private place at work, where you will be comfortable
  • arrange breaks ahead of time
  • don't put off pumping, set a time and then be sure to go at that time
  • try to pump every 3-4 hours
  • bring a picture of your baby, or a video of your baby on you phone
  • bring a blanket or piece of your baby's clothing with you, something that smells like your baby
  • massage your breasts prior to pumping
  • try to relax and think about your baby, not your work that is waiting for you
  • pump for several minutes after the milk stops flowing
  • milk is safe in a cooler with an ice pack for up to 24 hours
To me the extra effort was worth it.  I never had to spend money on formula, and my breast pump paid for itself in just a few months (with my first baby, and I'm still using the same pump now for baby #4).  I also felt somehow more connected to my baby, as I was taking the time to pump at work.  It truly was and is an act of love for my baby.
Good luck!

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