I am due in the end of April but I am already worried about returning to work after the baby arrives.  Preferably I would like to be a stay at home mom for the first year or work part time but finacially I will most likely have to return to my full time job.  :(


I may not be allowed more than six weeks of leave (since I technically only worked for my current employer for 1 month - I was a temp for 2 years thru a different company- therefore not qualifying for the FMLA).  I am going to talk maternity leave next month with my boss.


Ok now my question.... is six weeks enough time to get solid with breastfeeding?  I really do not want to supplement my baby.



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it is, however you will need to pump at least as often as you would feed - so say every 2 hours at work for at least 30 mins and then nursing at home. You also need to keep up your fluids (easier said than done!) I don't know how pumping would fit in with your job requirements... easier if you have an office where you can lock the door as opposed to a cubicle or something where you would need to find a more private space.

*I think* employers may be required to provide you with space to pump OTHER than the bathroom. and you'd need storage space for pumped milk (freezer, fridge, coolerbag etc).

blah so many things to think about! baby screaming... have to run!
You can do it! When you have your talk- ask about locations and the policy on your breaks... My company has a policy that pumping is to take place on your breaks. 2- 15 minute breaks and a 1/2 lunch break... which I broke into another 2 15 minute breaks worked out ok (my manager was ok with this flexibilty). I ended up eating at my desk or over a little table in our 'pump' room so I could get enough sessions in... you'll figure out a way to make it all work for your schedule.

Before I went back... I found once we got the latch down and felt like we were bookin (and don't add anything until you are comfortable) that pumping for a few minutes after a feeding helped get my production up and gave me 'small' packets of milk to freeze so I would have some 'extra' when I went back. (it can be wierd trying to relax enough to let down when your co workers are outside the door... I found an ipod or picture helped...)

You'll want a couple things like Karen M mentioned- a bag to stash your pump in, a cooler (lunch box with freezer packs) I also brought a towel to lay across my lap (I sadly once while unscrewing a lid spilled across myself- felt like a fool!) I also kept wipes, bags and a sharpie for marking the bags in my 'kit'. I would also suggest any extra parts you might need... depending on your pump. Lots of my co-workers bought the Medela pump that comes in a nice 'purse' looking bag and swear by it. Oh! I also keep extra breat pads in the bag... just in case! There are wipes you can use to wipe down your equipment... and this may not be the 'right thing' but I shoved mine into ziplocks (any part that touched milk) and kept it cold with the milk... pulling them out for other feedings... since I didnt have a sink to rinse my parts out in... (I have a great sense of humor... but in the office the idea of having my pump parts out on display was just a little too ummm... personal!) And if you are on a strict time schedule- a kitchen timer? Or use your phone...

If you are going to freeze them lay them flat freeze and then store upright (so your entire freezer or daycare providers freezer isn't takin up by 'boob juice'. Date everything and mark how many ounces. And ensure the top of the bag is dry- so when you go to thaw it doesnt melt out... which can be depressing! If you buy a pump that can do double duty- that's best... since you can knock out both in one break. And ensure that your care provider knows the in's and outs of the 'juice'... It's not like formula... you don't just toss it!

Once back at work I set a timer on my phone/calendar to remind me when to stop to go pump (I can be distracted!) That way I wasn't crying and fleeing a meeting because I was achey! =O)

I hope that they will provide a safe place (with a lock on the door, small table (tv tray?) an outlet and a comfy chair... it would be ideal to have a fridge) if you have to shuttle the milk from the room to the break room- having a cooler marked with your name will keep people out of it!

I found a sense of humor- people aren't allowed to ask where you are going or give you a hard time... but occasionally I would need to step out or decline an event... and when people would give me a look I would 'moo'... and they would laugh and offer to bring me back food or save me a seat... Some people just won't understand, but it isn't for them to or for us to make them... just remember you are doing the best thing for yourself and your baby! I'm proud of you- because it does take some dedication to do this... but it is totally do-able.

This is just how I made it work- oh and if possible... buy multiples of the parts you'll need to wash- so you can hit the sterilize button on the dishwasher... It's so hard after working to come home take care of the baby and then have to go through and wash everything by hand!

Oh- and if you can- ask your porivider not to feed the baby after your last pump session- so you can pick up the baby and feed them. I was lucky that I could walk in and scoop up the baby sit on the couch and then get the daily report and catch up... but I've also done the afternoon/evening feeding in the back of the car after picking the baby up... depends on your childcare situation. I would also suggest doing your morning feeding right before drop off so you have time to get to work, get settled in before you have to run off to pump. (and keep a shirt for yourself in the car... I had a friend who wore her bathrobe up until she walked into work- so avoid any spit ups or spills on her work clothes).

Sorry I wrote you a novel...
This was so helpful! Thanks, Rebekah!
Wow, Rebekah - thanks for posting that great how-to advice! You put so many things in there that moms might not think about before going back to work.

Andrea, what kind of work do you do and what state do you live in? Is this your first baby? What hours will you be working?

Some states do have laws regarding pumping breaks, space, etc. Some don't. Some jobs present more challenges with having regular breaks and privacy to pump.

Last Monday and Tuesday I attended the training for The Business Case for Breastfeeding. Encouraging and supporting employees to breastfeed can save businesses a lot of money! There may be a task force in your area working on this project.

There is also a great organization helping companies set up Babies At Work policies. In some workplaces, it wouldn't be safe to bring a baby, but I put this here to share with everyone. www.babiesatwork.org www.parentingatwork.org

Nancy Mohrbacher is an IBCLC and former LLL Leader who works for the Ameda breastpump company. She is also the co-author of Breastfeeding Made Simple. She has a podcast on the Ameda website on working and breastfeeding: http://www.ameda.com/breastpumping/elibrary/podcasts.aspx

There is a great book published by LLLI called Hirkani's Daughters: Women Who Scale Modern Mountains to Combine Breastfeeding and Working. It's available through LLLI or Amazon.
There is also a podcast interview with the author, Jennifer Hicks at the LLLI website:

Six weeks is enough time to establish your milk supply and get things going smoothly. You will want to get help immediately for any issues that come up, since it can take much longer to resolve a problem the longer it goes on. You will probably want to use a high quality electric double pump. Ameda, Hygiea and Medela are the brands to consider. You can rent a hospital-grade pump or buy a personal use pump. They require a good chunk of money, but it will pay off in the long run. (formula is really expensive!).

I would encourage you to spend as much of the 6 weeks as possible just taking it easy and enjoying your baby. If you can, let other responsibilities go for this short time. Resting with your baby when you can, nursing as frequently as possible, and just gettting to know your little one can go a long way in establishing your milk supply and preventing problems.

I totally agree with Emily- spend as much of your time home relaxing and enjoying your little one. and don't let any thing fester- if you have a question or a need- get help ASAP... And if you can- have your childcare worked out so you don't have to mess with that.

I didn't even get into the crock pot! Having meals prepped and ready takes up some of the weekend- but when you are tired and feeding a baby during the week it sucks to have to try to feed yourself and family too! =O) I learned by trial and error... and everyone will flow with things in a different way... it comes down to doing what's best for your family and work schedule and doing the things that make sense to you... but sometimes knowing how someone else is doing it- helps the learning curve be shorter!

My biggest stessors were days that never seemed to end and not being able to see the people at work who made my job worthwhile... the work friends and friendly faces... so trying to make time for those people is another element that helps. And if there are other mothers... making friends with them... not everyone is ok with having a 'pump party'... but for those of us who were ok with someone else being in the pump room... we got to double up on social time and doing what was best for our little ones. If you have a towel- it can come in handy so you aren't sooo exposed! And for me that helped keep me from feeling so alone in this! Or- if you have a friend you can check in with- you can use your cell to catch up... just check with a trusted friend/spouse if they hear the whhhiirrring in the background before you try to call the bank or make that type of call! =O)

I'm a total extrovert... so sorry for being sooo wordy and keep that in mind when you think of how I conduct myself... I thrive on people interaction... but not everyone does! (there are times I wish I could be more like that).
Andrea Rose and everyone--
Thank you so much for this discussion and all the information! I just posted a similar question about transitioning to going back to work after maternity leave including breastfeeding in the Entrepreneur & Working Mothers Group. So glad to find this one.

I am not due until October, but I'm such a planner--I'm already trying to figure some of this stuff out and be prepared. I am very lucky in that I will be able to take 3 months off, half of which will be paid (with my sick and vaca time I've accrued). But I still wish I could stay home for the first year. However, reading all of your experiences makes me feel better about the situation and that it is doable!

Good luck to you, Andrea, as you figure this all out. Let us know how it goes!



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