Returning to Work While Breastfeeding
If you’re returning to work, there’s nothing to stop you from continuing to breastfeed. While at work you’ll need to pump and store milk in order to keep breastfeeding.
Creating New Habits
Expressing and storing your milk can be simple. Breast milk keeps in the refrigerator up to three days in a sterilized bottle. For transport with a nanny or to daycare, use a cooler. Breast milk also keeps in the freezer attached to your refrigerator for approximately 30 days. If you have a deep-freeze (0°F) in your home, you can store breast milk for three to six months.
To learn more about storing breast milk, watch this video on the Gerber site.
Supplementing is an alternative, particularly after your baby reaches 6 months: continue breastfeeding in the morning before leaving for work, and in the evening, after returning, supplementing your baby’s diet with formula when you’re not with him. Breastfeeding, even partial, is preferable to an all-formula diet.
The Breast Pump
The pump is an essential accessory if you return to work and want to continue exclusive breastfeeding. It is a pump mechanism that reproduces the suction exerted by your baby. Consider testing it a few days before returning to work to make sure it’s working properly on your first day back and to get experience in using it.
When looking to buy a breast pump, know that there are manual or electric models. The first are less noisy, letting you pump your milk more discreetly, while the second is more expensive, but easier and faster to use. Don’t hesitate to seek advice from a pediatric nurse, a lactation consultant or your pediatrician before choosing which breast pump to buy.
Pumping Milk at Work
If you plan to pump milk while at work, make sure you have a refrigerator available to keep your milk cool, and either take a small, manual pump with you that you can use (discreetly) in an isolated place. Or, if your work place has a designated room for pumping, take the electric one since noise won’t be an issue.
Before feeding the expressed milk to your baby, warm it by passing it under a stream of warm water. Avoid the microwave as it entails the risk of burns, and the immune properties of breast milk may be reduced if brought to too high a temperature.
Breastfeeding Away From Home
Breastfeeding your baby in front of people might make you feel awkward, particularly at first. This is normal, and there are ways for you to feel more comfortable with feeding your baby in public. First, choose a quiet place, and away from other people if you feel the need. Wear loose clothing that you can easily open and fold close around your baby’s face. Another solution: use a nursing cover.