Heading back to work can be very nerve-wracking! Above all, just go easy on yourself and remember that everything will change. Especially if the first few days are hard, just remember that it will change. You won’t feel that way forever! Managing your emotions is a big one! If you can, give yourself some space (e.g. try not to schedule yourself with too many meetings etc.) in your first few days back. Also, know that anything you feel is very normal! It's a hard transition.
Being newly back at work is a huge transition for both you and baby. It usually takes a little time for your body to settle into pumping and learn what’s normal for you.
Tips:if yourlittleone is that little bit older and is doing well enough with his solids he will likely not need any milk while he is away from you just solids and water. However, you will need to do some pumping when you first go back to reduce the likelihood of you becoming unwell. You can slowly reduce the number of times or time you pump by one session each week. the slower you do this the easier it is on your body. Don't forget to keep those breasts moving to reduce the likelihood of you getting mastitis.
Here is a great article to share with caregivers of your little one, so they can support your nursing relationship as much as possible: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1AW2X1iTuzpbmyvTUo05XIB8jq4S6S90z/view
When you are pumping at work while your supply settles to match your new routine, it is really helpful to have a consistent ritual. This helps you get into the right mental and physiological state for letting down your milk, which means your whole process can go more smoothly and quickly. I recommend starting with a couple minutes of breast massage to increase circulation and dilate milk ducts before you even turn your pump on. Then while you are pumping, think about adding a few relaxing sensory treats for yourself (things like breathing exercises or guided meditation recordings, videos or pictures of your baby, your favorite music, whatever sounds best to you!) Start this ritual at home a few weeks before heading back to work so you get used to the way this signals your body that it’s time to letdown milk.
Employers are required by law to provide you with adequate time for pumping and a pump room with electricity and a locked door that is not a bathroom (if you need my help with resources who can contact your company’s HR department, let me know).
If you have a spectra, these wearable milk collection cups may be helpful for discreet pumping. https://www.spectrababyusa.com/store/caracups/
Depending on your baby’s feeding schedule, you might be able to “bookend” one of the feeds (i.e., if you pump or nurse right before you leave for work, you may not have to pump again for about three hours).
You can store the pumped milk in a company fridge or an insulated zippered bag with 2-3 frozen ice bags, where it will be good for 24 hours.
It's ideal to rinse pump parts with warm soapy water after every use. Air dry or towel/paper towel dry. If that’s not possible, use pump or food-grade wipes to wipe down parts. Last option would be to wipe parts down with paper towel, and put them in a fridge to slow the growth of bacteria.
To be aware of:
When you first return to work, your supply may dip for 1-2 weeks due to stress of separation and new food/water schedule, and baby may be a little fussier for a couple of weeks.
Occasionally baby “reverse cycles” for 1-2 weeks (focuses feedings on a time when you are back together).
It is really common for your first pump of the day at work to be the biggest and then the subsequent pumps during the day can be a bit lower in volume. Also, some parents notice that their total volume may be larger on Monday and reduce a bit by Friday. Milk supply rebounds over the weekend from relaxing and nursing with the baby more.
If you are headed back to work and want a personalised tailored plan reply to this message or pop me an email at email@example.com