Returning to work after having a baby can be an extremely daunting task. Leaving your baby, sometimes for the first time, to go back to a life you had pre-baby is a scary prospect and learning to juggle the logistics of being a working mum can take time.
The decision to continue breastfeeding after returning to work can also pose some new challenges, at least at the start. Expressing or pumping means that your baby continues to receive the nutrition and goodness of breastmilk and allows you to continue breastfeeding when you're at home as well. The challenge is finding the time and space to express milk in the workplace, in order to maintain your supply and provide milk for your bub.
You'll first need to work out how many feeds your bub will be missing while you're at work and how much milk you'll (approximately) need to express to meet those needs. This will usually depend on how old your baby is and whether they're being exclusively breastfed, mix fed (formula and breastmilk) and/or have started solids.
Once you've got an idea of how much milk you need, you can work out how often you'll need to express.
Here are some helpful tips to assist you in easing your way back into the workforce while expressing.
Image: Mum using the Haakaa Gen 2 Silicone Breast Pump
It seems like a lot to start with but it does get easier as you get used to a new routine. Make sure that you give yourself enough time and space to express and that you use your lunch break for, well, actually eating some lunch!
Make sure you are clear about your needs in the beginning and that your employer is supportive. According to the Federal Sex Discrimination Act, it’s illegal to discriminate against a woman on the basis that she is breastfeeding. Employers must make reasonable attempts to accommodate you if you want to breastfeed or express milk while at work.
Good luck as you return to work and remember that you have the hardest job on the planet – working mum – and it might not always feel like it, but you are doing a great job!
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There is no doubt about it; breastfeeding is tough. It can take a huge toll on all aspects of your life, from your physical health right through to your mental and emotional wellbeing and even your relationship. Breastfeeding has the power to drain not only your boobs, but a big chunk of your life force. We get it. As breastfeeding mamas ourselves, we've been there. And we're here to tell you that there are ways to take care of your babies mama (AKA you) even when you're boobin' round the clock.