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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Kowal

Transitioning back to work after maternity leave

As you now consider returning to the workplace, it's natural to feel a mix of emotions – excitement to be back in grown up land, apprehension being away from baby, and perhaps a touch of nostalgia for those early days. Consider the following tips to make this transition smoother:

Introduce Bottle Feeding Early and Increase Access to Bottles Gradually:

If you will be returning to work eventually, whether in or out of the home, be sure you introduce your baby to bottles by 4 weeks of age. This is the age of introduction we recommend to anyone who thinks they will ever want baby to take a bottle. Waiting longer makes it increasingly difficult to teach baby how to take a bottle. Then, once you know baby can take a bottle ease-fully a few times a week you can begin incorporating more bottles in the weeks before your return to work. This allows your baby to adjust to a new feeding method, making the eventual separation less challenging. See this blog post on how to choose a bottle.

Create a Pumping Plan:

Invest in a reliable breast pump (see blog post here) and establish a pumping schedule that aligns with your work hours. This helps maintain your milk supply and ensures a steady milk flow for your baby. In the first few weeks back at work, be sure you are pumping as often as baby would have been nursing previously or more frequently in order to help your body continue to make the milk it is accustomed to while you are experiencing the stress of being away from baby. Once you have adapted to your new work life, you might be able to switch up your pumping schedule to make it more manageable during your work day. But being proactive in the early weeks at work is key to maintaining milk supply longer term.

Communicate with Your Employer:

Open communication with your employer is key. Discuss your breastfeeding needs, and inquire about available facilities for pumping. Many workplaces now recognize the importance of supporting breastfeeding mothers and may offer designated spaces for pumping. Depending not he size of your organization, it may be LAW!

Build a Support System:

Seek support from your colleagues, friends, and family. Knowing that you have a network cheering you on can be a tremendous source of encouragement during this transition. In person and virtual support groups can help bridge that gap by providing peer support, suggestions and empathy. The adjustments go far beyond just how and what you are feeding your baby. So many feelings and logistical concerns arise. If you dont have a good network of support you can join our in person Return to Work Return to Self group for Moms of Older Babies

A lactation consultant can help you make a game plan to transition to a new feeding routine or steer you to groups. You’ve got this and we’ve got you!


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