As we all know breastfeeding in itself isn’t easy. With my first daughter (Gracelyn) it was a struggle in the beginning but once we got the hang of it, it was pretty smooth sailing. That was largely due to the fact that a majority of our journey was exclusively breast fed – which meant little to no pumping on my part, and that’s all thanks to the SAHM life.
With my second (Brentley), I always knew I would be going back to work. And breastfeeding while working full time adds a whole other level of complications. I am still navigating through the challenges, but here are a few things things you can do before returning to work that will help out in a HUGE way:
- Pump the other side. What does this mean? When your baby is brand new, they tend to fall asleep nursing and generally only nurse on one side. I used the “Nature Bond” to catch the let down on the side she was not nursing on (sometimes getting up to 4 ounces) This was a HUGE help when I returned to work because it meant I already had a pretty good stash (having a stash also comes in handy when you have those nights out – because let’s be honest we all need to pump and dump every now and then)
- Power pump – feed your baby then pump for 15 minutes after each feeding. You may not get much at first, but it will encourage milk production – which will be SUPER helpful for when you’re solely pumping during the day time
- Record videos of your baby crying. Lots of different ones. I know this sounds crazy but TRUST me, it will vastly improve your let down and reaction to the pump once you return to work.
Once I returned to work I realized the following were key factors in not only maintaining but also increasing my milk supply while solely pumping during the day:
- WATER, WATER and more WATER. Drink all the water. When you think you have had all you can drink…drink more.
- Make sure you have a peaceful and relaxing area to pump. Work can sometimes be stressful, but unplug while you’re plugged in. I brought in a diffuser and researched what essentials oils encourage let down; Frankincense, Jasmine and Lavender to name a few.
- Stick to your pumping schedule. I pump every two hours on the hour at work for 15 minutes. NO MATTER WHAT. If you deviate from the schedule you will see a decrease in supply, and you’ll have to work harder to make it up.
- Eat EVERY meal. If you aren’t getting all your calories, you aren’t getting all your milk.
- Eat foods or drink drinks that promote milk production. For example, have lactation tea at your desk. All these things will help.
- As your baby grows and drops feedings – pump when they would normally eat.
All of these are things I have done, am currently doing, or wish I would have done more of. Breastfeeding is hard work, but remember any amount of time is an amazing accomplishment and let’s be honest no matter breast or formula fed PAT YOURSELF ON THE BACK…you made it another day in motherhood. 🙂
Check out Caitlin’s breastfeeding journey here!