While many new moms have the best intentions to continue breastfeeding after returning to work, a new survey found that nearly one-third (29 percent) of new mothers who breastfeed stop prematurely due to work-related issues. These issues include having no designated place to pump (57 percent) and no place to store pumped milk (27 percent).
“While the health benefits of breastfeeding for baby and mother are undisputed, returning to work can leave breastfeeding moms feeling overwhelmed and frustrated,” says Sue Huml, an international board-certified lactation consultant and member of the Lansinoh Breastfeeding Advisory Board.
“While many mothers may fear returning to work will disrupt the breastfeeding routine they’ve worked so hard to establish, it is possible and common for women to breastfeed and return to work outside the home. It does take planning, commitment, and flexibility, however,” advises noted pediatrician Dr. James Sears.
Dr. Sears and Sue Huml offer some tips to help moms successfully ease the transition back to the office and continue to breastfeed while working:
• Invest in a Quality Electric Breast Pump: Many women find that using an electric breast pump helps to keep up their milk supply better than manual pumping and allows for pumping enough milk to have on hand while they are at work. “Look for a pump where you can control the speed and suction, which can enhance the milk flow by mimicking your baby’s natural sucking pattern,” adds Huml. “The Lansinoh Double Electric Breast Pump is quiet, which is good for being discreet and uses a patented system that keeps condensation/breast milk from getting into the tubing and damaging the motor. It also comes with an instructional DVD.”
• Stock Up: If possible, mothers should start pumping and freezing their milk about a month before returning to work. Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags are specially designed for freezing expressed breast milk safely.
• Talk with Your Employer: It is important to talk to your supervisor about your pumping schedule and work out a designated area that is safe, clean, and private, where you will be able to pump without being disturbed. You can also point out the many benefits of breastfeeding for the employer, such as reduced absenteeism.
Most moms create a pumping schedule that mimics their baby’s feeding schedule. As a general rule, it is best to pump every two to three hours that you will be away from your baby.
“Whenever you are not working and can be with your baby you should breastfeed exclusively in order to maintain and build up your milk supply,” adds Dr. Sears.