I've been back to work for over a month and while it has not been easy or fun we have gotten our schedule in order and it seems to fit for us. Our mornings are hectic as to be expected. No matter how early we wake up I always feels like I'm rushing around. I usually end up realizing I didn't eat breakfast on my drive to work. It will get easier, I hope, or at least I hope to find a good balance.
It was not easy returning to work. Missing my little boy was the hardest part. The other inconveniences were definitely not fitting into any of my pre pregnancy work clothes and getting used to pumping at my desk.
Here are just a few tips and suggestions on how I made going back to work and how I made pumping a little more bearable.
- You will cry and it's is perfectly normal. I treated myself to a Starbucks in hopes that it would make it better. It didn't help but it was tasty!
- Invest in a Medela breast pump. Mine was free through our insurance company.
- Don't feel guilty. Don't let others make you feel guilty for going back either.
- Purchase extra pump parts to leave at work. You will find getting out of the house each day is tough and the less things you need to remember the better!
- Waterless wipes help immensely! They conveniently clean your pump parts quickly!
- Stick to your pumping schedule if you have one. If not pump as often as you feel comfortable. By law you have the right to pump upon returning to work. It's very tough and I find myself having difficulty sticking to it most of the time. I try to pump 3-4 times at work and during my commute.
- Make sure your employer and your HR department know you plan to pump before you go back so they can make arrangements. My HR department offered a mini fridge for my office to store milk.
- Get a hand free nursing bra. This is the one I've been using. Many people also make their own by cutting slits in their sports bras. This is a much cheaper suggestion.
- Don't compare yourself to other moms! Be proud of yourself and all of your little victories. Trust me, just getting out of bed after waking up every 3 hours is a little victory!
- Try to freeze some breast milk before going back to work just in case. Pick up some formula just in case. I got free samples after signing up with Similac. We stayed with Similac because it was given to Jack to supplement while we were in the hospital. Our pediatrician also gave us free samples.
- Don't be too hard on yourself. Don't doubt yourself and your abilities or supply. The less stress you have the more you can pump.
- Bring an article of baby's clothing, blanket or something that smells like your baby. hold it when you pump. I've heard this may help your supply.
- Look at your baby's picture or a video while your pumping.
- It's OK. It's ok to be tired. It's ok to supplement with formula if you aren't producing enough. It's ok to be sad you're leaving your little one. It's ok if you don't have everything in order or if your don't have a schedule in place or if you can't stick to it.
We are all so different. No one new mom does everything perfectly and if she does I want to meet her and pick her brain. Hopefully these simple tips will help some new moms on their journey back to work.