These days, most mothers of small children in this country work. And every one of them had to decide how to feed her child while she's away. You and your baby have lots of good options, as long as you're prepared. Here you'll find helpful breastfeeding tips for moms going back to work.
The best way to ensure an adequate milk supply is by breastfeeding exclusively for at least the first four to six weeks. Ideally, you'd have on-site childcare at your company so you can breastfeed your baby during the day. Lucky for you if this rare situation is an option at your work.
Failing that, you need a place at work where you'll feel comfortable pumping on your breaks so you can express and refrigerate your breast milk. Talk with someone in charge about securing a sanitary, private location before you take your family leave.
Be sure to invest in a good pump. A double-breast pump saves time. Be sure to try out the equipment at home first. You'll also need a small insulated carrier and ice packs for transporting expressed milk.
Breastfeeding before and after work and on your days off is a great way to both share some quiet time with your baby and to keep your milk supply up.
If you plan to pump and supplement:
Based on your milk supply, pumping opportunities and energy levels, you may decide to supplement your breast milk with infant formula. Most women do. If you've been breastfeeding and intend to bottle-feed, introduce your baby to the bottle after breastfeeding has been established, several weeks before you go back to work. At first, try a bottle of formula at the feeding time your baby is least interested in, to ease the transition. Set a feeding schedule before you go back, so you're both comfortable with it.
If you plan to bottle-feed:
Being a working mom is two hard jobs in one. For this reason among others, many women decide that formula-feeding is the way to go. You can feel confident in choosing a newborn or infant formula that is closest to breast milk, with all the nutrients your baby needs to support her health and development during the first year. If you intend to wean to bottle-feeding, do it gradually. Try one bottle of formula, or formula mixed with breast milk, at one feeding time per day until your baby gets used to it.