Breastfeeding and going back to work or school
Expressing at Work or School
Why Work and Pump?
By continuing to breastfeed after you return to work, you will:
- Provide the best nutrition for your baby
- Make it possible to keep breastfeeding when you are together
- Keep a special closeness to your baby even when you must be apart
- Save money
- Avoid the health risks associated with formula feeding
- Miss less work, because breastfed babies are sick less
With some advance planning, it is possible to successfully combine work or school with breastfeeding. About 2 weeks before you return to work or school, start expressing your milk to store in the freezer. You will feel more confident and at peace knowing that you have frozen milk when returning to work.
It’s a good idea to work out a schedule for pumping and feeding. Make sure you also know how to hand express. Expressing your milk gets easier with practice.
Don’t be discouraged if you can only express a small amount in the first few days.
Try to express your breastmilk at the time you would normally breastfeed your baby. The milk you express each day is used to feed your baby the next day.
After each expressing session, place your milk at the back of the fridge to keep it fresh.
Milk can be stored for up to 5 hours at room temperature, 4-5 days in the back section of the fridge, 3-6 months in the separate freezer section of the fridge and 6-12 months in a deep freezer.
When using your frozen milk, once it’s taken out of the freezer, you can only keep it for up to 24 hours in the fridge before it needs to be used or thrown out.
Breastfeed your baby at home before you leave for work or school (even if you have to wake them up) and then again as soon as you return home in the evenings.
The first time your baby receives a bottle, have someone else give it. Your baby may not want to drink from a bottle, and if you are the one giving it, they may refuse to take it.
Ask our Lactation Consultant about correct and efficient expressing of your milk. Also see our patient leaflets.
When you go back to work, your baby may drink more than you pump. This is a stressful time for both of you. The milk may remind your baby of you and so he may drink more than usual.
Baby may not want to latch after drinking from a bottle a few times where the milk flow is fast, so use a teat where the baby must work to get the milk out such as at the breast.
A Proud Mother; A Happy Baby
Pumping and working can be stressful, so close your eyes and think ofbaby’s smiling face, and don’t forget to take PRIDE in what you are doing:You are taking good care of your baby!
Tips for PUMPING at Work:
- Make sure you have a good pump.
- Make sure you have a cooler bag with you at work or school to store and transport your expressed milk.
- Massaging breasts prior to pumping helps the let-down.
- Pump both breasts for a full 15 minutes even if they do not let down much milk.
- Bring along a photo of your baby and maybe even of their outfits or a recording of their voice. These will help your milk let down and will give you more milk per pumping session.
- Wear clothing that makes pumping or breastfeeding easier.
- Always wash your hands before and after pumping.
- Drink a lot of water.