Breastfeeding and returning to work

So maternity leave has come to an end and now you’re faced with the decision of how to continue to feed your baby. You know there’s 100 different pumps but there’s also 100 types of formula that will make things “easier”, what do you do?

For me this was my 3rd child, I had given up on breastfeeding with my first 2 before I’d really given it a fair chance. My first daughter was tongue tied and I was severely engorged not realizing these two things made breastfeeding a nightmare and I gave up instead of asking for help. My second daughter was a breastfeeding champ but I had started working part time and let things slide until formula became a better sounding plan. Now with my son I was determined that even with two other children, even with returning to work that I was absolutely going to breastfeed him for at least 1 full year!

I had received my pump thanks to our local WIC program at no cost, a fantastic Medela double pump. I’d been pumping occasionally to try and build a stock pile before returning to work part time. I spoke with my Human Resources Department ahead of time to know what my rights were as a working breastfeeding mom who needing breaks to pump. You’ll need to check local laws but for us being a large company (over 50 employees) my work was responsible for providing me a place to pump that can lock and allow me a 30 minute unpaid break for my part time schedule or 2 30 minute unpaid breaks for full time. Not all employers are going to have the same rules because it is based on company size and rules they fall under but for Oregon you can check here http://breastfeedinglaw.com/state-laws/oregon/

Given the fact that I felt like a riotous badass from having a natural birth and had exclusively breastfed, I walked into work proud and ready to pump! It can be difficult at first to whip out your boobs at your place of work with not attaching them to your child but it can be done. The best advice I can give is to get yourself comfortable, bring water and a picture or video clip of your baby. You’d be surprised but without a fussy hungry baby demanding milk your letdown may take a while and you may not pump as much as you would’ve fed your baby directly. Don’t focus on work, it will be waiting for you when you’re done.

Invest in some good ice packs or if your work has a cooler put them there, you don’t want your milk to go to waste! Just like at home, wash your pump parts after each session and sanitize at home when possible. I loved using these http://www.medelabreastfeedingus.com/products/725/quick-clean-micro-steam-bags you get multiple uses out of them and it will get any milk fat or smell out of the pump parts.

It may not always be easy to pump and work but be proud of yourself, you’re a super mama!

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