Breastfeeding: Going Back To Work

My goal for breastfeeding is always EXCLUSIVE for at least one year.  In the beginning, it proves to be difficult then gets easier, and once I get the hang of it, guess what?  IT’S TIME TO GO BACK TO WORK!

I don’t have the luxury of being a full-time SAHM, and honestly I don’t think I would want to.  Being a mom living in the US OF A, you will return to work sooner rather than later.  I really wish we had year PAID maternity leaves like other countries in the world.

Anyhoo, if you’re a mom who has to return to work, I’m sure the question “how do I maintain my supply,” crossed your mind several times.

I’m not expert on what a woman should do, and honestly, what works for one woman may not work for the other.  Therefore, this is information on how I managed to make it to 1 year and beyond with my son exclusively feeding him my milk.
1.  I began storing my milk in the early days when my milk first came in.  I did this because typically the body will make way more than baby needs, and I’d have an abundance of milk left over.  So I would pump it and store it.  Doing this also helped cut down on cluster feedings during growth spurts as well.  (I used the Medela Breast Pump to pump my milk)
2. I planned financially to be out of work for the maximum amount of time my job allowed (usually 12 weeks).  The older they are the less you’ll have to pump (usually).

2. When he was only drinking milk (no solid foods), I did my best to mimic his schedule while at work. So in a 12 hour day, I would pump at least 3 times and save the last pump session for when we reunited (and it felt so good).

Engorgement after work (reuniting selfies)

 

3. When he got older and was on solids, I cut back my pumping to 2 sessions and would have dad or whoever was caring for him supplement with watered down baby juice, water, (by 6 months of course) with his meals, and offer snacks in between.  They could give him milk, but no more than 2 bags could be used, because that’s what I was bringing home. Then when I got home again, I would have a full stash of milk for him to feast on.

4. I did try Mother’s Milk herbal tea, to help boost my supply when I was traveling to Disney.  I mainly wanted to have some extra milk for travel and park days.  I must say that tea taste like black licorice (which is disgusting in my opinion), but it did work for me.  I would drink a cup at night, and have excess to pump and store.

5. With my daughter, I was given Reglan for nausea in my early pregnancy and when my milk supply stated dropping I learned this too help increase milk supply and it really did work within 2 to 3 days.

I know other women have tired, the lactation cookies, recommend eating oatmeal, or even drinking a beer to help increase supply.  Some take herbal supplements such as Fenugreek and Milk Thistle supplements and rave about them as well. I personally have never tried any to increases my supply and can’t speak from experience.  I did however have a co-worker who used the supplements, and she still was only putting out a spit’s worth of milk, so again it works differently for everyone.

Overall, my best recommendation for breastfeeding and returning to work is planning from day one, invest in an high quality breast pump, take advantage of excess milk in early days, and try to mimic baby’s schedule when away.  Eventually it get’s easier and you’ll become a pro.  Most of all remember if there’s a will there’s a way, and YOU CAN DO IT!

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