Leaving your little baby at home on your way back from maternity leave can feel like leaving a little piece of your soul behind. And yet, you likely have a million aspirations rooted in the workplace that refuse to be eclipsed by the sheen of new motherhood. You represent a new brand of mothers who shine at home and at work, fulfilling both roles with equal gusto.
A generous hat tip to you, new mommy. At this point, as you gear yourself up to head back to a full-time job, it’s worthwhile to consider how you will sustain your baby’s breastfeeding clock. This mommy manual rounds up the essentials you’ll need to keep in mind before signing in for your first day of work.
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Tip 1. Attend a Lactation Class
If you haven’t attended a lactation class yet or if you feel like you need a refresher, visit a lactation consultant on Cloudnine. While you may be tempted to transition to formula at this juncture, you’ll soon see that it’s just as convenient to make breast milk available to your baby when you’re not around. And it’s loaded with far more nutrients. Learn tips from our specialists on how to pump and store milk gently and effectively.
Tip 2. Introduce the Bottle, Cup or Spoon
Making the switch from breast to bottle or cup will not be an overnight affair. It will take weeks for your little bundle to respond to a new method of feeding. Start with a new routine when your baby is at least 6 weeks old. Any sooner, and you’ll run the risk of your baby rejecting the breast in favour of the bottle or cup, courtesy their silky-smooth milk flow.
Any later, and your baby may be too dependent on the breast to embrace any sort of change. When you introduce a shift, ask your husband or a loved one to take charge of your little one’s feeds. What better way to prepare?
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Tip 3. Acquaint Yourself With the Breast Pump
The breast pump will be your closest aide in nourishing your baby as you toggle between home and work. A breast pump works by expressing milk from your breast into a bottle. It typically works best after your first-morning feed, because your breasts usually house an optimal supply of milk during this time. Even after a feed, you should have enough to express into a bottle.
Tip 4. Learning the Art of Breast Milk Storage
Tuck your bottle against the farthest wall of your refrigerator, on the top shelf, right beneath the freezer. Breast milk in the house fridge can be stored only for a day is safe. Whenever the milk is removed from the fridge, it’s important to follow a fastidious warming process. Remember never to warm breast milk in the microwave.
Artificial heat can kill the enzymes and immunity properties in the milk and can pose risks to your little one. Instead, run the bottle under warm water until it reaches room temperature. After warming it, use it within 24 hours and do not put it back in the fridge. You could pump once every day when you resume work, creating a supply for the day ahead. This way, your milk will remain fresh.
Tip 5. Pump Milk at Work
If you’re lucky enough to work at an organisation that has a dedicated lactation room, take reasonable breaks during the day to pump your milk into a bottle. This is particularly useful if you don’t have time to pump in the morning or if you’re too tired to at night. If your office isn’t equipped for lactation, fear not. Ask your HR team if you could use the pantry or a spare room while you pump.
Alternatively, if there are space constraints, reserve a quiet, clean corner of the washroom for yourself. Wherever you are, make sure you’re near an electrical outlet to plug your pump into.
With a robust support system at home caring for your baby, you can take the big leap back to work with all your aspirations intact. As for your baby’s breastfeeding clock? That will keep ticking as long as you want it to. Your time, on the other hand, is now.