How should I prepare if I want to continue breastfeeding after returning to work?

How should I prepare if I want to continue breastfeeding after returning to work?

Breastfeeding and working full time is compatible if you plan ahead. Talk to your family and your employer to seek agreement and support. Arrange a flexible schedule for milk expression during work and rest time.

Prepare the equipment for expressing and storing milk for example, a manual or electric breast pump, milk bottles or milk bags and cooler bag with ice packs. Breast pump must be sterilised thoroughly, some mothers may bring two sets of breast pumps so to avoid cleaning at workplace. Two weeks before you return to work, set up a milk bank by pumping 1 to 2 extra times a day and refrigerate them. Ask your family members to bottle-feed your baby with your expressed milk so that your baby can adapt feeding with the teat.

Before leaving home on a work day, you can breastfeed your baby on one breast and express milk from the other at the same time. At work, you can use your lunch break or rest time to express milk. If your baby is less than 6 months old, milk expression intervals should be kept not less than 4 hours so to maintain a stable milk supply.

Be relaxed when expressing milk, so the milk let-down reflex can be facilitated. Put the expressed breastmilk in the refrigerator immediately and label the milk bag or bottles with date. Use the earliest stock every time to ensure the milk is fresh.

If the milk expressed at work is not enough for your baby, you should breastfeed your baby directly before and after work, during weekends and days off. It will not only stimulate your milk production, but also make up the parenting time you lose at work. When your baby eats less at night, express the milk for storage. If necessary, you may supplement with infant formula during the day, however, the amount should not be too much since if your baby overeats in the day, his desire to suckle when you return home from work will be lessen. Thus, your milk supply will be reduced.