Storing Breast Milk to Prepare for Returning to Work After Baby

Storing Breast Milk to Prepare for Returning to Work After BabyThe thought of leaving your baby to return to work a few short months after bringing her into the world is stressful to many new moms. Will your chosen caregiver(s) be attentive enough to her needs? Will she forget you while you’re gone? Are you doing the right thing by returning to work? So many factors make returning to work after baby difficult and then you have to think about storing breast milk so you’re baby has nourishment while you’re away. Today we’re helping you stress less with tips for storing breast milk to prepare for returning to work after baby.

Tip #1: Establish a Strong Milk Supply

Without a strong milk supply it’s hard to fathom pumping extra milk to support your baby while you’re away. Therefore, the first step to storing breast milk to prepare for returning to work after baby is ensuring you have breast milk in the first place. To establish a strong milk supply you’ll want to breastfeed early and often. Studies show that breastfeeding as soon as possible after giving birth helps encourage milk supply, kickstarts your baby’s instinctual desire to nurse, and bonds you and your baby for a lasting breastfeeding relationship, among other benefits. Then breastfeeding on demand for the first days, weeks and months will help you and your baby form a rhythm. Breastfeeding is a system of supply and demand so the more you breastfeed and drain your breasts properly, the more milk your body will produce.

Tip #2: Start Pumping Early

As you’re working on your milk supply, you can start pumping. It may even help your milk supply. If you know you’re returning to work, start pumping early to stimulate your breasts with the pump and get into a routine. The first weeks of pumping may not yield much milk but as you get into the groove and your milk supply slowly increases, you’ll pump more and more milk. The best times to pump are after your first morning breastfeed and after your baby goes to bed for the night once your baby is sleeping for longer stretches. You have the most milk early in the day, which is why pumping in the morning works well. Then pumping again before you go to bed will drain your breasts and give you time to refill before your next nursing session.

Tip #3: Organize Your Frozen Breast Milk

Keep your breast milk organized so you and your caregiver can easily access milk as necessary. You may need to grab milk quickly before dropping off your baby at daycare, or your nanny may be managing a hungry baby while trying to find the oldest bag of milk. Freezing milk in flat “shingles” or “bricks” can help you stack and store breast milk neatly. Keep your bags labeled so you can pull out and use the oldest frozen breast milk first. Many moms use shoe boxes or resealable bags to group frozen milk by weeks or months for simple access.

Tip #4: Talk to Your Employer

Before returning to work talk to your employer about your plan to pump at work. Discuss where pumping will take place to ensure you have a clean, comfortable, private space to pump several times a day. Also discuss the time commitment involved in pumping as you may be away from your desk, meetings and other work activities multiple times for awhile. Remind your employer of the benefits of breastfeeding for working mothers including less sick days for babies and children (for their entire childhood!), less healthcare costs and better employee morale because moms feel their employers care about the health and wellbeing of their families.

Tip #5: Stick to the Plan

Once you return to work, dedicate yourself to both your paid job and your role as a mother. That means you’ll have to take pumping breaks at your designated times. It may be hard to pull yourself away from work at times or you may face adversity from your superiors and co-workers. Know that you’re making the healthiest choice for your baby, yourself and your family and stick with the plan to ensure your baby has the best nutrition every day. You should pump enough at home or work to cover your baby’s milk demands for the following day.

Storing breast milk to prepare for returning to work after baby is hard but completely worth it. Keep our tips and mind to ensure your milk supply is strong, you’re pumping adequately and you have a plan in place with your employer. You can do it!