Working and Breastfeeding: A Checklist

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You CAN combine working and breastfeeding. It just takes a little preparation and some extra planning. Here are some helpful tips from moms who have done it.

Purchase the best breast pump you can afford. You will need a double pump. Avoid used pumps.

Make sure the pump fits you well and you know how to use it! You should be able to get enough milk for a typical feeding in about 15-20 minutes.

Learn about milk storage guidelines.

Talk to your employer about your plans to pump your milk at work. Agree on where you will be pumping and storing your milk.

Find a co-worker who has combined working and breastfeeding. You will need support!

Make sure your baby is comfortable with a bottle or other alternative feeding method. Give her at least 2 weeks to get used to the idea.

Stockpile a few bottles of milk in the freezer “just in case.” It will make you feel secure. You do NOT need a freezer full of milk. Remember you will be replacing the milk your baby drinks each day and storing it in the refrigerator.

Consider going back to work on a Thursday or Friday. It’s not as overwhelming as starting off with the entire week in front of you.

Do a practice run to see how long it will take to get you, baby and milk ready and where you need to go. Be sure to do this practice at the time that you’d actually be going to work.

Remember that providing milk for your baby when you’re at work serves everyone. You will be happy and productive and your baby will be healthy. This translates to fewer sick days for you and a grateful boss!

Written by Renee Beebe, M.Ed., IBCLC. Renee is a lactation consultant in private practice in Seattle, Washington. She is available for home/hospital visits and phone consultations. Renee can be reached at www.second9months.com

See also “Are Used Breastpumps are Bargain?” and “Storing Human Milk

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