Motherhood is a blessing. It comes with its share of pleasures and aches. Being with your baby at home all day long makes you happy. Work life seems like a blurred memory. But, as soon as you realize that your maternity leave is about to end, you start to worry!
No matter how long and hard you’ve thought about your decision to return to work, and how sure you are that it’s the right choice, you need to be prepared for mixed emotions
A Working Mom’s Guide to Breastfeeding
If you’re planning to continue nursing, you’ll need to get the pumping routine down well before your return to work.
Start pumping and freezing the milk a month before you’re due back on the job.You’ll get in the habit of pumping and build up an emergency supply.
Let someone else bottle-feed your baby, use Calma bottles of Medela, they don’t interfere in breastfeeding! If you consider avoiding bottles, you have other options. Your milk could be offered to her in a sippy cup.
Find a private location. If your company doesn’t have a designated lactation room, perhaps there’s an empty office or conference room that you could use to pump. Some women get creative and hang a curtain around the outside of their cubicle when no privacy is available. Be informed about your rights! In general you have the right to return to the same job on the same terms and conditions after your maternity leave.
Start back on a Wednesday or Thursday if you can. The first few days are likely to be the toughest, as you figure out pumping, milk storage and managing daycare. Having a shorter week to start means you’ll soon have the weekend to evaluate how things are going and make adjustments as needed. For Tsarfati, the biggest challenge was realizing how much longer it took to get ready in the morning than in the days when it was just her and her husband.
Breastfeed “on demand” on weekends. If you’ve noticed your milk production flagging during the week at work this is your chance to rebuild it and enjoy the convenience of a more natural nursing relationship. If you are pumping, the milk you stored on Friday will keep just fine in the fridge for baby to have on Monday.
Don’t Be Hard on Yourself!
You never know for sure how you’ll feel during this motherhood transitional challenge. But don’t make any hasty decisions about your future the first week. It’s a very emotional time of transition.