Figuring out breastfeeding, a schedule, managing pumping and everything else is hard enough as it is. Add returning back to work in, and everything gets harder. The average breastfeeding mom tends to stop breastfeeding shortly after returning to work due to stress and supply issues. This can be emotionally frustrating for both mom and baby so here are some tips to help make the transition a little easier.
Pack everything the night before.
If mornings are anything for you like they are for me, then packing the night before is one of your best bets to success. This will allow you to slow down and think about what you need to bring so you don’t forget anything. It will also decrease any stress or anxiety that comes with having to pump at work because you will be prepared. This, in turn, helps your supply.
Hydrate and eat snacks.
Make sure you have snacks and water to eat and drink between breakfast and lunch and lunch and dinner. If you’re a nurse than you know this can be tricky. We get so caught up in our day that one minute we’re getting report, the next minute it’s 1, and we’ve forgot to eat the quiche or oatmeal we brought for breakfast. If you don’t take care of yourself, this is one way that your supply can diminish quickly so you have to remember, your health comes first.
Take the time to go pump.
When I worked (usually 7-7:30) I tried to go pump around 11 and then again around 3 or 4. While this didn’t happen all the time (I admit) I still tried whenever I could. And don’t feel bad about leaving your patients for your coworkers to watch, they will understand, some of them have probably been in the same situation. If they don’t, then they’re mean people and obviously your baby is more important than they’re attitude towards you anyway. Plus, during the first couple shifts back, you’ll want to pump earlier rather than later, because of all the pain and leaking you might be experiencing from engorgement.
Try not to stress about your milk supply.
I know this is easier said than done but stress KILLS your milk supply, so try not actively think about it too much. Understand that your milk supply will drop, but if you continue to stay hydrated, eat and pump then you should be able to maintain it.
Take a galactagogue if you need to.
I definitely used fenugreek, a mother’s milk blend, and goat’s rue, and these really helped! However, I did find that my body would develop a tolerance after about a month so I found myself just alternating between the three. The great things about these are that they come in capsules and elixirs so you get a variety of ways to take them. I would say the capsules are easier to take, especially on the go, but you have to make sure you don’t drink anything before or after at least 15 minutes.