You should start the preparation to return to office as early as four weeks so that you and the baby can adjust gradually to the changes. Taking the time to plan ahead makes going back to work after having a baby much more manageable. Remember, the quality and quantity of breast milk will be affected when you are stressed out!
You might be able to keep breastfeeding your baby while you’re at work, or you might consider doing a mix of breastfeeding and bottle-feeding.
You could also express milk at work so that you can keep up your milk supply, and leave this milk for your baby while you’re working. Or you might be lucky enough to have your baby nearby you at work and keep breastfeeding her as needed.
What works for you will depend on your workplace and day-care arrangements. If you want to keep breastfeeding after you return to work, the first step is to discuss breastfeeding with your employer.
The next step is to make sure you have the practical things you need to breastfeed or express at work – like a private place to pump out the breast milk, a fridge to store expressed milk, a washbasin and enough time.
Items you need:
- manual or electric breast pump and their parts
- a water-proof storage bag to keep the breast pump and their parts
- extra set of pumping spare parts so that you do not have to necessarily wash the parts after each pump. You can just put the used set in the storage bag to wash when you get home and use the second set for the next pumping session at work.
- milk storage bottles or milk storage bags to store your milk.
- nursing breast pads for leaks. nursing cover or blanket if there is no nursing room in the office or when you need to pump in the car or the public area. clothing with front buttoning or nursing wear and nursing bra to facilitate pumping.
- breast pump & accessory wipes and hand sanitizer This is another convenient way to keep everything clean and sanitary, without having access to a sink when you are on the go. You wipe off the used pump parts before putting them in the wet/dry bag and put the bag in the refrigerator to keep it sanitary until the next pump. When return home, you can wash everything with soap and warm water and sanitize.
- ice pack if there is no freezer to store breast milk in the office and cooler bag to store the milk
- oil-based pen to write down the date and time pumping for tracking
If you have been breastfeeding your baby, you may need to adjust your baby to bottle feed so that when you are not around, the baby can be fed with breast milk through bottles by their caregiver. You may want to start this as early as four weeks before your return to work. Why? Some baby may take a longer time to adjust to bottle feed. They may not get used to the bottle-teat. Besides, this is a period for you to adapt to pumping out milk if you have not done that during your first few months.
Some handy accessories from our Mamagoose store:
- Milk storage bag adapter for standard or narrow neck flange (e.g. Medela, Maymom)
- Milk storage bag adapter for wide neck flange (e.g. Spectra and Philips Avent)
- Maymom milk storage bottle which you can write on the lid effortlessly to track the date with pencil!
Bookmark our blog as we will write more in details in following weeks!