Can a mother continue breastfeeding after returning to work? Well, you guessed it right, you most certainly can! According to the American Pediatrics Academy, the babies should receive their mother’s milk for the first 6 months of birth. Now there are a few steps you need to take in order to be prepared to return to work.
1) Breastfeed at least 8-12 times every 24 hrs. (or pump your breasts if baby is not breastfeeding).
2) Avoid using bottles or pacifier for the first 3-4 weeks, as this may decrease milk supply. This is so very true, because if you want to continue breastfeeding once you leave the hospital, one thing babies don’t like is change. If the baby is used to the mother’s nipple, but you try to change, they will surely let you know.
3) Begin expressing milk using a quality personal pump or hospital grade rental pump after 3-4 weeks or sooner if needed to relieve engorgement symptoms. Electric pumps that allow you to pump milk from both breasts at the same time reduce pumping time. This kind of electric pumps worked miracles for me because I was one of the mothers who went back to work after maternity leave and continued pumping my milk while at work.
4) The best time to pump milk is after feeding baby. Freeze milk in 4 oz. bottles or milk storage bags. Many moms find their milk supply is greater in the morning than in the evening.
5) Practice bottle-feeding at least 2 weeks prior to returning to work. Babies often prefer breastfeeding to bottle-feeding, so it may be helpful if a family member other than mother offers feeding until baby becomes accustomed to the bottle nipple. When choosing an artificial nipple for bottle supplementation of the breastfed baby, it is important to use one that allows baby to use the same tongue and jaw motions that he/she uses at the breast.
I really hope this helps you to make the transition from maternity leave to returning back to work. Let me know how you transitioned you and baby to return to work. I look forward to hearing from you!