Returning To Work When You’re Breastfeeding – Part 3

This is Part 3 in a series of posts about how to manage breastfeeding while returning to (paid) work.  Returning to work can present some challenges, but with the right information and support, these challenges (like other breastfeeding challenges) can be negotiated and overcome.

Part 1 covered the planning stage – when you’re leaving work and going on maternity leave.  Part 2 talks about what happens when your baby has arrived and you’re starting to look at returning to work.  This post talks about the final preparations for returning to work.

  1. What Do I feed My Baby?  Of course as an IBCLC, I’d say breastmilk, but it’s not me returning to work (this time anyway).  Many people continue to exclusively breastfeed their babies while returning to work.  Others express breastmilk to be given while their baby is away from them and others choose to combine a breastmilk substitute with breastfeeding (mixed feeding).  The most important thing about making this decision is to be informed about the risks and benefits of all your options.  If your baby is 6 months old, you can combine breastmilk /breastfeeding and solids.
  2. Have A Practice Run.  Some mums like to have a practice run.  This can help you feel more comfortable about leaving your baby when returning to work, and can give the planned caregiver a feel of how things might go.  You might like to consider doing this a little way out from your return to work date, so that you have time to make any adjustments.
  3. Give It A Go.  Sometimes the only way to know how things are going to work out is to give it a go.  There’s only so much planning and preparation you can do, then it’s time to see how it goes.  Be prepared to adjust things and do some fine-tuning before it runs smoothly.

So, as you can see there are a number of things you can do to help make the transition back to work easier.  Many mothers continue to breastfeed their little ones for many reasons.  There are health reasons for the baby and mother, the fact that mothers of breastfed babies are less likely to need time off for ill babies and above all, mothers love the fact that they can continue to have the close bond that is an integral part of breastfeeding during a time of separation.

If you are planning on going back to work and would like to know more, you can contact me to discuss your options.  Having breastfed my children and returning to work while doing so, I have a unique insight into the challenges and rewards that you may experience.

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