Being a parent is a full time job and trying to breastfeed is a full time job. Now add going back to your “real” full time job while trying to balance being a mom/wife and trying to keep up with breastfeeding is one word: STRESSFULL!!
Breastfeeding is not the norm for much of the USA and it’s hard to get people to understand the amount of work it takes to be successful at it. To promote breastfeeding success while you are still pregnant keep these helpful tips handy.
- Register for an extra slow flow nipple like a preemie nipple for the bottles you choose. No need to size up unless they are sucking so hard they are collapsing the nipple. Our breasts rate of flow don’t change as babies grow, so the flow from the bottle doesn’t need to either.
- Don’t open/wash all the bottles you get. Most stores will let you exchange the bottles if they don’t agree with your baby.
- Get free bottles of various brands whenever you can. This way you will have lots to test out if they don’t like the one you registered for when it comes time to introduce a bottle to your baby. Once you find one that works for you and your baby, pay it forward and give the bottles to another pregnant person you may know.
- Buy a good hands free pumping bra. I really liked the Simple Wishes Hands-Free Breastpump Bra. I have a large cup size and it held everything in place well.
- If you can afford it, have two pumps. One for work and one for home to reduce the amount of stuff you have to haul back and forth. Consignment sales are a great place to buy a closed system pumps (like the Spectra) that are safe to reuse from person to person.
- Order a pump through your insurance. A lot of the time they are free. You may need a prescription for your OB/Midwife for a pump before ordering one. I personally loved my Spectra S2. If you use the Medela, I suggest buying the Pumpin Pal flanges instead of using the ones that are in the box. The only thing that made my Medela comfortable for me was using those flanges. However, the Spectra was a game changer for me, and once I found that pump I never touched my Medela again.
Before your return to work, follow these tips to promote healthy breastfeeding:
- Don’t worry about pumping for the first 4-6 weeks of baby’s life unless you have to return to work before 6 weeks. Just enjoy your baby and let your body regulate its milk supply before you start making it oversupply. That can cause a lot of other issues for you later on. If you do have to return earlier, start pumping two weeks before going back.
- You only need enough milk to fill the bottles the first day (1-1.5 oz. per hour when away from baby). You will replace those when you pump. Having a huge milk stash is not needed and it takes up so much space in your freezer. Your success of being a working, breastfeeding person is not measured in ounces in your freezer. It’s measured in the happiness of you and your baby.
- Introduce a bottle 1-2 times a week starting around 3-4 weeks old. At this time baby should have figured out latching pretty well, so there is no need to worry about nipple confusion. Have someone else feed the bottle as some babies don’t take a bottle well when the breast is nearby. You can also introduce a pacifier at this point as well.
- It doesn’t have to be a full feeding. It can just be a snack.
- Watch videos on pumping to see how to get the most milk out.
- Make sure you have the right size flanges. Nipples should not be rubbing the side and shouldn’t be sliding all the way down the flange.
After 12 weeks of maternity leave, I compiled a list of tips to share with you for breastfeeding success after returning to work. Stay tuned to read Pumping and Breastfeeding Tips For Going Back To Work.