If you’re planning to return to work after your baby is born, you may be concerned about managing both effectively. It is a time consuming choice, but many women do continue nursing even after they go back to work. And, in spite of the amount of time and dedication it requires, most women who have tried it, have been happy that they did. Here are some tips to help you manage the two successfully.
First, decide how you’re going to feed baby while you’re away. Some women have the caretaker feed the baby formula; others express breast milk for use while they are away. Either way, you’ll need to get your baby used to drinking from a bottle. At about six weeks old, introduce at least one bottle a day, filled with breast milk or formula, depending upon which you plan to use when you go back to work, at a time when you will be working later. Also, be sure to have someone else feed the bottle to the baby sometimes. This should help your baby get ready for the new routine.
Once you return to work, you’ll need to express milk at work for feeding to your baby the next day, if you plan to supplement with breast milk instead of formula. Be sure to figure out in advance where you’ll be able to nurse. Fortunately, more and more workplaces are creating private areas for nursing mothers. It’s also wise to freeze some breast milk before you go back to work, just in case you have a day at work that is so harried that you find yourself unable to nurse.
When you return to work, be prepared for some adjustment time for you and the baby. If possible, go back part time at first, to make this adjustment easier for both of you. And, if you can wait until baby is sixteen weeks old to go back, the adjustment to the feeding change will be even easier, because the breastfeeding routine will be better established.
There are many good reasons for continuing to breastfeed after returning to work. In addition to your baby’s continued nutritional benefit, you may also find that it’s easier to return to work knowing that you still have the close breastfeeding bond in the morning and evening. Take it slow, work out the kinks, and you and baby should be well on your way to a very rewarding situation.