Many women choose to return to work before their little ones have weaned from breastfeeding. There's no right or wrong way to do it - everyone is different and it's about choosing what is right for you and your family. In this blog Close to the Heart co-founder Jacqui Gage-Brown shares her tips for breastfeeding at work.
If you are still nursing, it doesn’t mean you can't return to work, or you have to stop breastfeeding. It just takes a bit of planning and preparation, to ensure you are set up to do so.
By having the right breastfeeding clothing, whether it be breastfeeding dresses or tops, you can have quick access to be able to express milk throughout the day or pop out to feed your baby.
Some ladies may have their babies on-site, if they work from home or if there is a day-care at their work. In this case, you may prefer to pop down to the creche and feed baby during the day. Having work dresses that also double as breastfeeding dresses can make this really quick and easy.
For me, creche wasn’t near work (hubby and l always choose to have our boys at creche near his job, because he was at the same location each day and I was a contractor and shifted location regularly).
The morning routine was kids up 6.45am, breakfast 7am, out the door by 7.30am (military operation I tell you!). But once the boys had left with hubby for the day, I didn’t see them again until the afternoon. With no feeding throughout the day, I needed to express milk.
I would feed bubs in the morning at home and then need to express one or two times during the day – depending on how busy I got at work and how full I got! Having a private, quiet space was always welcomed, and as I’ve said before, sometimes I’d be on the phone while expressing milk (without the person on the other end of the phone being any wiser, I hope!).
Having breastfeeding tops (or dresses) that provided me with access to quickly express milk during the day was important. On the days when clothes were in the wash or not available (might be working mum, but not always supermum!), it could be a mission, taking off clothes or rearranging my outfit for expressing access.
How do I plan for breastfeeding at work?
Returning to work but want to continue breastfeeding? You are not alone. There are many women who successfully do this. Remember, it is what works for you that’s best.
I recommend having:
- A breastfeeding pump that you are comfortable using – do not use it for the first time at work!
- Storage containers for your expressed milk – label these so the team at work don’t think it is spare milk!
- A little chilly bag for transporting your pump and containers (and keeping them chilled coming home, it is liquid gold after all)
- Breastfeeding dresses or tops that you feel confident in for work and can provide you with quick access