When I returned to work after six months off with my first child (thanks, old boss!), it was a rude awakening to have to pump two to three times a day. I had issues with supply after a few months back on the job, but I worked with a fabulous lactation consultant who helped me out. Some of her tips might sound weird but they worked:
- Imagine a flowing river of breast milk that is there to feed hungry babies (to this day I just felt a little “ghost” let-down!);
- Look at pictures of the baby – I found that playing little movies of the baby with the sound on really helped, too.
One tip that isn’t as weird sounding is to make sure you use a good pump. Because of the Affordable Care Act, pumps are now covered by health insurance. Check with your insurance company on how to get a free rental or new personal pump. It might be a little more work than walking in to a store and buying a pump, but the savings are pretty enticing. I spent $250 on mine (with a coupon) before this was a law.
The building I work in has a private pumping room with a sink, a chair, and a table. The tabloids were fun too – I read more about the Kardashians than I ever wanted too! But I digress.Worksites that offer comfortable, private nursing areas for moms make it more likely that mom will continue to nurse after getting back to the grind. I have a friend who had to pump in her car or in the bathroom when she went back to work. Twice a day, every day, for nine months! Now, a federal law mandates that many employers must provide reasonable break time, and a private place to pump until the child is one year old. And employers, bathrooms don’t count as private pumping spots.
More information on returning to work and breastfeeding:
- Find out how (and why) employers can help: Business Case for Breastfeeding and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Breastfeeding Website
- See how your child care can help: Let's Move Childcare! Infant Feeding
- Tips for returning to work after maternity leave: Mayo Clinic and Business Case for Breastfeeding
- Guidelines for milk storage: CDC