Working and breastfeeding

With a little planning and preparation, you can combine breast-feeding and employment.

Some mothers work at home or can take their babies with them to work. Some arrange to have their babies brought to them for feedings, or they go to the babies. The mothers can continue to do most of the feedings with only occasional bottle feedings.

If these aren't options for you, you may choose to have your child-care provider give your baby bottled breast milk or infant formula. For a few weeks before your return to work, give your baby a bottle once or twice a week at the times he or she will receive them while you're at work.

You can provide your baby with bottled breast milk by expressing milk during your maternity leave and freezing it, or by pumping while you're at work and saving the milk for the next day. Using a double breast pump is the most effective — it takes about 15 minutes every three to four hours. If you need to increase your milk supply, nurse and pump more often. On your days off from work, nurse your baby as usual.

If you choose not to express your milk while at work, you may pump milk at other times to provide breast milk for the next day. For example, pump after the morning feeding and after the feeding when you return home. As long as all of your milk produced in 24 hours is removed either by your baby or from pumping, you'll maintain a good supply.

You may decide to have your child care provider give your baby infant formula. This will decrease your milk supply but allow enough to remain for nursing at home. To prevent overly full breasts at work, some mothers find they need to give thawed breast milk or formula on days off from work at the same times the child-care provider feeds the baby.

Once in a while, your baby may take a bottle, then later reject the breast. If this happens, give your baby extra cuddling and attention before feeding.

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