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. Unfortunately, this is a rare situation to have at the workplace.
Here are some tips for breast pumping at work:
- You’ll need to find 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 for breast pumping at work 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 bottle-feeding is the way to go and avoid breast pumping at work. 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 their 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.
Breast pumping at work takes a little getting used to, but these tips will make the transition easier. Get other helpful tips for returning to work as new mom.