Tips for Working Mothers
In 1992, Patricia Kelly and Joan Ortiz (mother & daughter) founded Limerick. A registered dietician and a registered nurse, the two were certified as Lactation Consultants in 1992. Joan became an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) in 2011. The Limerick Workplace Lactation Program was created to help working mothers reach their breastfeeding goals. Based on their work with thousands of mothers, Pat and Joan developed the PJ's Comfort electric breast pump incorporating the ideas gathered from thousands of working mothers. To recommend a workplace lactation program to your employer and learn more about the Limerick Workplace Lactation Program visit: http://www.limerickinc.com/workplace.php
The following tips below on returning to work were graciously provided by Patricia Kelly and Joan Ortiz of the Limerick Workplace Lactation Program. Their experiences helping thousands of working mothers just like you have resulted in the tips below to help get your breastfeeding off to a good start as you return to work.
Top Tips from the Limerick Workplace Lactation Program
At 3 weeks of age
1. Introduce a bottle of expressed breast milk when your baby is 3- 4 weeks old and continue to give a bottle at least 2 – 3 times a week and no more than 1 time per day.
2. Pump prior to the feed and have someone else give the freshly pumped breast milk in a bottle for the feeding. Having someone else give the baby the bottle of expressed breast milk gives your baby the message that Mom is only available for breastfeeding not bottle feeding.
1 month prior to returning to work
A. Start storing breast milk for 1st day back at work
1. Pick a time in the day you can pump consistently. You want your body to think of the pumping as another feeding; therefore, it is important to pump around the same time each day. Usually you have more milk in the morning so pumping after the morning feed is recommended. This also helps to increase your milk supply before going back to work.
2. Freeze milk in the amount your baby takes in a bottle. If it takes more then one pumping to achieve this milk volume label the bottle with the earliest date you started pumping.
3. The minimum amount of pumped milk you will need to feed your baby is enough milk for your first day back at work. In order to estimate the correct amount of milk you will first need to determine how many ounces your baby takes in a bottle. If you work 8 hours a day and will be away a total of 10 hours (includes travel time) then estimate 6 feedings. This is a high estimate so that you will have a backup supply. An example is if your baby takes 3oz in a bottle per feeding x 6 feedings you will need 18oz stored for the first day back at work.
a. Remember the milk you pump at work is what you will use to feed your baby for the next day. Your goal is to pump the number of ounces your baby takes while you are at work. If you pump 12 oz and your baby takes 12 oz while you are away then you are doing fantastic!
b. Some babies are very particular and will only take a small amount of milk from a bottle. They would rather wait for their Mom to get home so they can get fresh breastmilk. However, other babies just want to eat. It does not matter whether they get their milk in a bottle or from mom; therefore, they may take more ounces during the day.
B. Discuss with employer where you will be able to express your milk
1. There is a federal law that requires companies with 50 employees or more to provide you time and space to pump your milk for your baby’s first year of life. This is unpaid time but you can use your paid breaks and lunch time for expressing your milk. The room must be a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public. A company with less than 50 employees has to show it is an undue hardship to provide such accommodations. For more information visit: http://www.dol.gov/whd/nursingmothers/Sec7rFLSA_btnm.htm
1 week prior to returning to work
4. Schedule your pumping times and if you control your schedule, block out ½ hour times slots every 3 hours. Begin by estimating the time of your last feeding in the morning before leaving for work and schedule your pumping times for every 3 hours thereafter.
Example: 6:30am Feed baby prior to leaving for work 9:30 am Pump 12:30 pm Pump 3:30 pm Pump 5:30 - 6:30 pm Feed baby when you get home and when ever your baby is hungry
a. Consistency in your pumping time will help you maintain your milk supply and prevent engorgement. It will be easier if you make it apart of your normal routine because then your co- workers will also get use to you not being available at those times.
Back to Work
5. The first week back at work is a difficult time for all new mothers. You are feeling lots of emotions and this is normal. It will get easier once you get use to your new routine. During the first week or two your milk supply may go down a little because of the stress of leaving and because you are tired. It is important to maintain your pumping schedule and once you settle in your milk supply will come back to normal. This usually occurs during your second week. Starting back in the middle of the week on a Wednesday or Thursday makes the transition back to work a little easier. Remember you are already a little ahead in milk production because you were pumping an extra time before you went back to work. Be kind to your self and give your self some time to get use to your new routine. Nurse the baby as much as possible in the evening time and on weekends.
6. Also, you have more milk in the AM and less volume of milk in the afternoon but your milk is creamier (more calories) in the afternoon. One breast may produce more milk than the other breast. This is all normal. Your goal is to pump and bring home the same amount of ounces that your baby ate during the day while you were at work.
7. Pumping at work is a commitment but the benefits are tremendous for both your baby and you. Give your self time to settle into a routine and find the balance that works for you and your family. Remember each breastfeeding relationship is unique and very special.