Tips for preparing to go back to work
Going back to work after you have your baby can be a time filled with a lot of different emotions. Some moms might miss their jobs and their old routine, while others may be dreading the return and thought of leaving their baby. No matter where you fall on the spectrum, a little preparation and knowledge before going back can go a long way in easing anxieties and fears. Let’s talk about some key things you can do to make the transition as smooth as possible.
Talk to your employer about pumping at work.
If your job includes working in the office or outside of your home, then talking to your employer about your plans to pump and what you will need is key. I would do this at least a few weeks before your return if you did not already discuss this before maternity leave. The Break Time for Nursing Mothers law requires employers covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act to provide “reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for 1 year after the child’s birth each time such employee has a need to express the milk.” It also requires employers to provide a private space, that’s not a bathroom, for breastfeeding mothers to express milk.
Talk to your baby’s caregiver.
Finding a caregiver for your baby while you are at work can be a stressful process, but finding one who understands and is supportive of your breastfeeding goals and desires to provide breast milk will be important for your peace of mind. Talking to them about cue-based feeding, using paced bottle feeding, and making sure they know how to handle and store breast milk are all important discussions to have beforehand. If your caregiver is close to work, discuss possibly coming to see your baby at lunch for a nursing session!
Make sure you have the pumping supplies you will need.
The obvious thing you will need is a pump! Start using your pump during maternity leave so you get used to expressing milk and learn how your body responds best to your pump. Here is a list of some other things that can help make pumping at work easier:
Pumping bag to transport your pump and accessories.
Cooler and ice packs to transport your milk along with bottles or bags to contain your milk.
Pumping bra and easy access tops and dresses. Don’t forget some nursing pads if you tend to leak!
Extra pump parts, like duckbills, backflow protectors, and flanges.
Batteries or a car charger if your pump is rechargeable or you plan to pump in the car.
A nice big water bottle and healthy snacks so you stay hydrated and nourished!
Have an emotional and mental support system in place to lean on for help.
Being able to talk and get support from other working moms can be so helpful, not only for tips but for emotional support as well. There are Facebook groups for pumping and working moms that can be a great place to go when you have questions or just need to vent to women who are in the same boat as you. Communicating with your partner during this time is also super important. You might need to shift responsibilities at home or ask for help to take some of the stress off of your new routine as you all adjust. Give yourself some grace during this time. You got this!