Can I Still Work?

You have options

Yes, you can work and breastfeed your baby. As a matter of fact, that is what most breastfeeding families do these days. Continuing to breastfeed after returning to work can help you maintain that close, cozy relationship you have always had with your baby. It also helps your baby’s immune system defend against the many germs they may encounter at daycare.

Every work situation is different. Some women find it easy to pump while at work and for some it is impossible. Most women are able to complete pumping in 10-20 minutes (it depends on your body and your pump). Even if pumping is not an option, you can still provide some breastmilk to your baby after returning to work. Introducing the bottle is an important part of going back to work. Most babies can begin having an occasional bottle after 2 weeks. If you are still experiencing nipple pain or if your baby is having difficulty latching easily to the breast, it is best to wait. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Provide Only Breastmilk

Use a combination of the following strategies if you intend to provide only breastmilk for your child:

1. Pump your milk while you are at work and breastfeed when you are at home.
2. Pump when you’re at home to provide milk for the next day. Many women pump one breast and breastfeed with the other. Milk is generally most abundant first thing in the morning and first thing when you get home if you are unable to pump at work.
3. Have your care provider bring your baby to you to feed at work.

Some babies adjust to a work schedule by nursing more frequently in the evenings or when you are available.

Provide Breastmilk and Formula
  1. Pump as much as possible and supplement the rest wih formula.
  2. Ask your daycare provider to give your baby formula while you are at work, breastfeed when you are at home.
Wean Your Baby Before Returning to Work
  1. Begin weaning two weeks before returning to work.
  2. Start by introducing one bottle of formula a day. When your breasts adjust (2 or 3 days or more), begin a second bottle and so on.
  3. You may find that you and your baby may want to keep some favorite feeding times like evening or first thing in the morning if it feels right for you.
How Long to Store Your Breastmilk
  1. Fresh breastmilk can be stored at room temperature for 5 hours.
  2. Fresh breastmilk can be refridgerated for 5 days.
  3. Frozen breastmilk can be stored for up to 5 months. Once defrosted, however, it must be consumed within 24 hours. It should be refridgerated until consumed.
How to Store Breastmilk

1. Freeze your breastmilk in breastmilk freezer bags. Date them and store them flat.
2. You can also use plastic bottle liners to store breastmilk. Double bag these when freezing and seal them with a twisty or an elastic band.
3. Some pump and bottle manufacturers also produce specific storage bottles.
4. Freeze milk in ice cube trays, and then transfer these into freezer bags.

Because liquid expands when frozen, leave air space. Also, store the milk towards the back of the freezer, not on the door.

Introducing the Bottle

1. A good time to introduce the bottle is when your baby is 2 to 3 weeks old.
2. Someone other than mom should offer the first bottle.
3. Mom should try to leave the house for the first bottle because babies can tell when she is there.
4. Make sure the milk is nice and warm because that is what the baby is used to.
5. Start with a small amount of milk, 1 to 2 oz, so you don’t waste milk if the baby doesn’t take it all.
6. Don’t get nervous if the baby does not accept the bottle the first time.  Gently try again another time.
7. Once the baby’s mouth touches the bottle, that milk needs to be used by the next feeding.  After that the milk should be tossed out.

BNF can help you understand how much your baby needs in their bottle to promote healthy growth and assist you in developing a plan for your return to work. Please feel free to call us if you have any questions.

Help support Berkshire Nursing Families.

We are only able to provide our world-class service free of charge because of generous donations from people like you.

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