Deal Breastfeeding Support Group

Returning to work
Returning to work for a mother can be a daunting phase and a lot of people think that returning to work means stopping breastfeeding. Fortunately, with a few tips you can combine the best of both worlds.

If you go back to work after the baby is 6 months old or older, your baby is likely to have started baby-led weaning and been introduced to other foods. The choice is yours; you can either express your milk for baby’s needs during the day or alter your routine to feed in the morning and when you return. Breastfeeds in the evening will be probably longer and more frequent for a short while until your supply has been increased at this time, which is a great excuse for catching up on cuddles. During your days off, you won’t need to use the weekly substitutes of breast milk if you want to breastfeed, as your body will meet supply and demand needs. However, you could also use this time to do other things if you wish.

If you are returning to work before baby is six months old, you will need to make sure you have enough milk to have a good daily supply for your baby’s carer. It is a good idea to start expressing milk, roughly a month before the childcare starts. This way you will be confident in your expressing skills and your supply will have adapted to your new pace. The best time of the day to express milk is early in the morning when you have just woken up. To express you will have to use either a hand pump or an electric pump at your convenience and preference. If possible try different pumps before committing to one (you can often find these available to try from support groups). You will also need some bottles or bags for collecting and storing the milk. Don’t forget that you will have to sterilize all your equipment before expressing your milk.

You can store your breast milk in the freezer for up to 6 months at -20°C. Breast milk which has been frozen should be defrosted slowly in a refrigerator, or at room temperature. Microwaves should not be used to defrost or reheat milk as it can cause hot spots and burn. Pasteurization is not necessary if it is given to the mother’s own baby.

Expressed milk can separate into watery and creamy consistancies – this is completely normal.  Gently swirl the milk to mix it back together again.

Another alternative/combination is to express at work. It will help stimulate your production of milk, so you’ll have plenty available when it comes time to feed and you can collect the milk you express for your baby’s consumption. You will need all the necessary equipment to express mentioned above and access to a refrigerator or cooler to keep the milk cold until your return home. For further information on returning to work or expressing breast milk, click on the links below.