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Working mom with her sleeping son on her arm

Many working mothers think they must choose between breastfeeding and their career. This is far from the truth, both important aspects of life for women can coexist.

Tips for Returning to Work

The following tips can help make the transition easier:

Consider breastfeeding classes. Check to see if the hospital where you plan to deliver offers breastfeeding classes. These classes usually offer information and tips on working while continuing to breastfeed. Breastfeeding support groups can also be a good resource to talk with other breastfeeding moms who work.

Purchase a breast pump. Research good breast pumps and purchase the one that works best for you. Before you return to your job, practice expressing your milk by hand or with the breast pump. The feeling can be different from breastfeeding your baby, so take time to adjust to it. Freeze or refrigerate expressed milk so it can be warmed to room temperature and given to your baby by the childcare provider. Mothers can also check with their insurance company or WIC to learn more about getting a free/low-cost pump.

Get baby bottle ready. A month before you are due back to work, begin offering your baby a bottle from time to time. This will help acclimate the child to bottle feeding. If baby is reluctant to take a bottle from mom, consider having another family member offer the bottle. This is normal, as babies might prefer nursing when they know mom is nearby.

Know your rights. Be familiar with the breastfeeding laws in your state. Ask if your workplace has any breastfeeding policies in place. Do not be afraid to speak out about your rights as a breastfeeding mother.

Check out childcare providers. A childcare provider that is close by and is knowledgeable with the storage and care of your liquid gold is priceless. There are programs available that can assist providers to become breastfeeding friendly certified. Check the Alabama Cooperative Extension System website for more information about the certification.

Set up a feeding schedule. Pumping every two and a half to three hours while separated from your baby is recommended. This should be scheduled accordingly. As the baby gets older the frequency of pumping can be decreased.

Adjusting your emotions. There will be some emotional adjustment for you and the baby. You will miss each other, and your time apart will be difficult to accept. Try to minimize separation while you are off. Errands may take longer but, when possible, take the baby with you. Make “date night” special by having it at home every now and then.

Stay healthy. Finally, take care of yourself. Going back to work can be stressful, remember to relax and have time to take care of you. Consume nutritious food and incorporate physical activity into you day when your healthcare provider gives you permission.

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