Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's Off to Work We Go: Part 3

Your First Week Back at Work

After weeks of pumping and storing breast milk, making plans with your employer for pumping breaks while at work, and preparing yourself to leave your little one behind, the day has finally come: You are going back to work! Yowza!
I remember crying during the entire drive to work that first day (actually, who are we kidding...the first WEEK back at work), wondering how I was going to make it through the day without my sweet little Ben. How was our caregiver going to meet his every need? Would I make enough milk while I was away from him? Was it time to go home yet????
Well, ladies, the emotional part of going back to work can be quite stressful.... I can definitely empathize. I have been there and ,initially, it can be difficult. So, let me help you the logistics of getting through your first week back at work....let's make that a no-brainer.



Start in the Middle of the Week



There is nothing that says that you have to start back to work on a Monday. Who needs a double case of the 'Mondays?' Not you, that's for sure. Instead, set yourself up for success. For your first week back, start on a Wednesday or Thursday. This way, you can ease yourself in to your work schedule, without it being completely overwhelming. Those few days closer to the weekend (and uninterrupted time with your baby) will make this transition so much smoother and less daunting.



Pack Your Bag the Night Before



Rather than scrambling in the morning, which only adds to your stress, pack your bag the night before so that you will feel even more prepared in the morning. Wondering what to pack? Here's a short list of some items you might want to include:


  • Pump and pump pieces

  • Freezer packs to hold your pumped milk (unless you have a fridge in your office)

  • Extra batteries for your pump or a plug to connect it to the wall

  • Photos of your baby

  • Extra breast pads, just in case you leak while at work

  • Diaper bag for your baby (if he/she is not being taken care of at home) - full of bottles, extra clothing, diapers/wipes, etc.


For even more ideas about what to pack the night before and the day of, check out the list at workandpump.com


When Should I Pump?


Ideally, you want to pump at work as often as your baby is getting a bottle while you are away from him/her. I tried to breastfeed my son before I left for work every morning. Then, he usually took a bottle around 11am and 2pm while I was at work. I always had an extra bottle, just in case I didn't make it home in time before the late afternoon feeding. My goal was to get home just in time to breastfeed my son around 5pm. If I got stuck in traffic, I would sometimes have to pump when I got home, which was always a bit of a bummer. Best case scenario, I pumped twice at work, using a double electric pump, for about 15 minutes each time. This gave me enough breast milk for the next day, plus a little extra sometimes. I also pumped once or twice over the weekend, just to have a little surplus for the following week.


I hope that this series of posts was helpful for all of you brave, dedicated mamas who are breastfeeding and going back to work. If you have other tidbits of advice, please add them to the comments so that other moms can benefit from your wisdom!