We know you want the best for your baby. That’s why having the correct information about breastfeeding can make all the difference.
We spoke with Emily Arredondo, a lactation consultant at Mercy Health — Tiffin Hospital, about how breastfeeding parents can manage during their return to work. Read through her tips below.
How to prepare for going back to the office
“I recommend all parents who breastfeed outside of the home to obtain a double electric breast pump. A hands-free pumping bra and breast milk storage bags may help. A few weeks before returning to work, begin to incorporate one or two pumps into the daily routine. Pumping shortly after a breastfeeding session or during a long naptime ensures that milk is available for baby to nurse the next time they’re ready.”
Choosing the right breast pump
“Before purchasing a breast pump, parents should check with their health insurance company, as most will cover the cost of an electric breast pump. Deciding which one will depend on the needs of the parent. It is always a good idea to ask a lactation consultant for help when deciding on a breast pump. A professional can help determine the best flange fit and style. Correct flange sizing is essential.”
How to store breast milk
“When storing milk, breast milk storage bags are the easiest method. They are designed for freezer storage and will freeze flat, saving space in the freezer. Some people find that using phone apps help them track pump sessions and ounces stored as well.”
How to pack for work while breastfeeding
“Pack lots of snacks and always have a water bottle on hand. Also, being able to see photos of baby during pump sessions is a helpful tip. Think ahead about milk storage options at work – is there a shared refrigerator or no refrigerator? Investing in a good cooler or a milk cooling bottle is worth not having to worry about milk getting too warm. A wet/dry bag will also come in handy, as there is often not enough time to wait for pump parts to dry after a pump session. Try to stay on a schedule and pump between 20 to 30 minutes, if possible. Know your pump settings and utilize the different settings during a pump session to optimize milk letdowns.”
How to prepare your baby and caregivers for this transition
“Begin offering bottles of expressed milk using a paced feeding method a few weeks prior. Ensure that all caregivers are coached on paced bottle feeding and can understand hunger cues versus other fussy times. Baby will need approximately one ounce of milk for each hour that they are separated from the parent. So, for a parent working an eight-hour shift with a 30- to 45-minute commute, 10 to 12 ounces divided into bottles of three to four ounces each is a good starting point.”
After work happy hours: drinking alcohol while breastfeeding
“The concentration of alcohol in blood and milk are similar. One drink, sipped over the course of an evening, does not raise the alcohol level in the mother’s blood to compromise an infant if they drank pumped milk or breastfed. Of course, if a parent is intoxicated, they should not breastfeed.”
Need more breastfeeding information? Learn more about the lactation services and breastfeeding education services we offer at Mercy Health.