Breastfeeding, Pumping, and Going Back to Work

One of the most frequently asked questions that is asked when I am teaching a breastfeeding class is, "when should I introduce the bottle since I have to go back to work?" or "when do I start pumping when I have to go back to work?". Breastfeeding, pumping, and working seems like it will be completely overwhelming to new moms, but it doesn't have to be.  Learning how and when to pump can happen gradually and doesn't have to cause you anxiety.

woman pumping at work.jpg

Here are some of my tips for moms who will have to go back to work:

1. Establish the breastfeeding relationship with your baby first. It is more important to learn how to breastfeed and then worry about pumping.

2. Introduce the bottle after three good weeks of breastfeeding (if the first week sucks, then three weeks after you and baby got the hang of it).

3. When you do start pumping, try pumping in the morning when your milk supply is at its peak. Breastfeed the baby first and then pump the remaining milk. Add in pumping sessions throughout the day and eventually you will start making enough milk to store in the fridge and freezer.

4. Feed your baby from the bottle at least once a day so he/she gets used to bottle feeding.

5. Let the baby lead the feeding by holding baby more upright with the bottle at a 45 degree angle. Encourage her natural breastfeeding instincts (rooting, flanged lips, switching arms, etc.)

6. If your baby won't take the bottle from you (mom), allow someone else to offer him the bottle.

7. Pump when you can at work. It doesn't have to be when your baby would eat. Take advantage of your "pumportunities"!

How and when do all these things occur? Here is an action plan from the Informed Birth Choices Baby Basics class that I teach.

Action Plan from Informed Birth Choices' Baby Basics Class

Action Plan from Informed Birth Choices' Baby Basics Class

For more information on pumping, breastfeeding, and returning to work here is a great webinar:

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Baby Byrd Doula

About eight years ago, I got pregnant for the first time. I did tons of research. I looked into birthing centers, doulas, general information about pregnancy, labor and delivery. Sadly, my pregnancy ended at 8 weeks. I got pregnant again, but was devastated by a miscarriage at 14 weeks. My husband and I decided to start the adoption process and keep trying to have a baby. I kept reading as much as I could about pregnancy and fertility. A thought struck me: maybe I should be a doula. Shortly after this thought in 2008, we adopted our first son. Now that I was a new mom, being a doula was out of the question. I got pregnant three more times over the course of three years and all ended in miscarriage. Gratefully, we adopted another boy in 2011. At this point many of my friends were having their first babies and I had so much knowledge of pregnancy and labor that they started coming to me for information. Eventually one friend encouraged me to do something with that information to help other women. This reignited something inside of me-- my desire to be a doula. This was my opportunity to help bring life into this world. Being a doula is not only life giving for the mom, but also for me—the doula!