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How to Transition Back to Work After Having a Baby

Updated: Oct 13, 2022

After a baby, one of the challenges a caregiver faces is transitioning back to work. Follow my guide for crucial tips to help smooth your transition.

If you're planning on transitioning back to work after having a baby, breastfeeding can be a stressful experience. You may choose to exclusively pump or to blend pumping when you are away from your baby and feeding in the mornings and evenings. Whatever your choice, it can be difficult for the new mom who is still learning how to juggle it all. We've got some tips for making this transition as easy as possible, but speaking to a licensed lactation consultant would be a wonderful place to start.

Plan for the Pump

  • Plan to take your pump with you. Because this vital tool can be costly, you may not be able to have one for home and one for the office. Find a portable machine that is easy to carry and schedule a session with a lactation consultant to avoid nipple pain while pumping.

  • Have a place to pump. This could be in an empty office or a private designated room; either way, ensure privacy and an outlet nearby.

  • Think about how much milk storage space you need while at work: A refrigerator may not always be available, so consider buying some bottles or bags that can keep milk cool even without refrigeration (they can usually go into the freezer).

  • Plan your breaks. Ask your employer if they have any policies around pumping breaks, coordinate your needed pumping times and communicate if you need more frequent sessions. Communication is key; some employers offer subsidies for breast pumps; other companies offer flexible scheduling options, including hybrid work, to help during this time.

Pumping Schedule

When transitioning back to work after having a baby a pumping schedule is an important part of your new routine. It will depend on how much milk your baby needs and what kind of storage system you have, but there are some general guidelines to follow.

How often you pump depends on how much milk your body produces and what kind of storage system you use. In general, you want to pump as close to your child's feeding schedule as possible.

Be sure to plan ahead. You may need to pick up the kids, run an errand or two and prepare a meal before you are able to nurse or pump again. Keep that in mind when timing your last pumping session of the day.

Communicate with Your Employer

Communication is key with everyone from your partner to your employer; you will need to explain that you'll need to pump several times a day and let them know that they must provide a private space for you to do so. If they don't have a private space, ask if they can give you breaks during the workday where you could go somewhere private to pump.

You'll need a separate fridge for your breast milk. This will help prevent the milk from spoiling. If you don't have room to store it in a separate fridge, use a cooler with ice packs and place it in a cool, dark place like a cabinet.

Communicate With Your Childcare Provider

In addition to communicating with your employer, you will also need to communicate with your child's care provider. Make sure that whoever is caring for the child during the day is supportive of your choice and that they are detailing feedings for you daily. You want to be aware of any changes and may need to pump more often during seasons of cluster feeding.

Breastfeeding and Working Doesn't Have to be Stressful

Breastfeeding provides many benefits for both mother and child. In addition to the amazing health benefits, it also helps save the money you work so hard for because there is no need to purchase formula. Breastfeeding while working may take some navigating, and it is perfectly okay if you decide to supplement with formula in order to balance it all. Seeking assistance from a lactation consultant can help to smooth your transition.

The most important thing to remember is that breastfeeding while working doesn't have to be stressful. If you take your time, plan ahead, and communicate with everyone involved in your childcare plan, you can successfully make it back into the office.

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