For Working Moms: How To Combine Breastfeeding and Pumping
As a working mom, the decision to combine breastfeeding and pumping can be a profoundly personal one. On the one hand, you want to provide nourishment and bonding for your baby, but on the other hand, you want to continue your career. Doing both can be a difficult balancing act, but you can make it work with the right strategies and resources.
In this post, we’ll review the best ways to combine breastfeeding and pumping to make life easier for working moms. We’ll discuss the most efficient ways to pump milk, the types of bottles and pumps available, and the best milk-storage solutions for busy moms. With this information and advice, you can make the most of your time and provide the best nourishment for your baby, even while you’re on the go.
Understanding Breastfeeding and Pumping
Breastfeeding offers several benefits for both the baby and the mom. Breast milk is packed with antibodies that help protect babies from illnesses and infections. In addition, it is easier for a baby to digest than formula, which reduces the likelihood of stomach or digestive issues. Breastfeeding also helps moms bond with their babies, encourages skin-to-skin contact, and allows moms to be more in tune with their baby’s hunger cues.
Pumping has its advantages as well. For working moms who can’t always breastfeed, pumping ensures that their babies are still getting the benefits associated with breast milk. It also helps moms build up a supply of stored milk for when they can’t be around to feed their babies. Finally, it allows dads to share one of the most intimate moments with their baby—swapping out bottles during nursing or feeding.
Choosing the Right Breast Pump
When selecting a breast pump, consider the types available: manual pumps are cheaper but less efficient, while electric pumps offer more features and suction but are more costly. Cost is also important, including upfront expenses for a quality pump and ongoing costs for parts and accessories. Some insurance plans may cover pump costs, and discounted options may be available through employer benefit programs or online marketplaces.
Establishing a Feeding Schedule
To combine breastfeeding and pumping, establish a regular schedule to meet both baby’s needs and the mom’s commitments. Schedule feedings and pumping sessions to keep track of the baby’s intake and maintain milk production goals. For newborns, breastfeeding on demand is recommended, but transitioning to an every two- or three-hour schedule can help maintain consistency as the baby grows. Moms who combine breastfeeding and pumping should pump every 2-3 hours to keep up with supply changes, and extra pumping sessions can be incorporated while at home if needed.
Working Around Unpredictable Work Schedules
For those with limited break times at work, pumping before or after work is necessary to maintain milk production goals. Setting aside time for pumping is ideal for those with access to break times at work. Colleagues can assist by taking turns pumping during shifts. Moms should look into employers who offer lactation support programs to find locations for discreetly expressing milk during the workday and providing access to necessary pumps and supplies.
Combining Breastfeeding and Pumping
Combining breastfeeding and pumping involves alternating between nursing and expressing milk with a pump, allowing the baby time to get as much milk as needed. Providing enough breaks between sessions is important to increase efficiency and overall results. Combining pumped milk into bottle feedings should only occur when the mom has established her own level of comfort. Comfort and convenience should remain a priority, and hand expression can be a handy alternative to pumps. Exploring other options is recommended if traditional methods become too difficult.
Nutrition for Breastfeeding Moms
It’s important to note that while herbal supplements and other natural remedies may be helpful for some moms, it’s always best to talk to a healthcare provider before taking any new supplements or making significant changes to your diet. Additionally, some herbs may have side effects or interact with medications, so it’s important to check for potential risks before starting new supplements.
Finally, it’s important to remember that successful lactation isn’t just about physical factors—mental and emotional health also play a role! For example, finding ways to manage stress and get enough sleep each night can help moms maintain their milk supply and overall well-being. This might include taking breaks throughout the day, practicing mindfulness or meditation, or even taking a quick nap. The key is to find what works for you and your unique situation and to prioritize your health and well-being as you navigate the challenges of combining breastfeeding and pumping.
Dealing with Common Challenges
If a mother’s milk supply drops after returning to work, increasing the number of pumping sessions throughout the day can help reestablish a routine and maintain milk production. Staying properly hydrated and consuming adequate amounts of calcium and iron can also improve milk quality. If these methods do not work, consulting a doctor for further services may be necessary. For soreness during breastfeeding or pumping, warm compresses and a soft nursing pillow can provide relief, as can wearing loose clothing and nipple cream. Experimenting with different positions and adjusting suction settings can also increase comfort levels.
Combining breastfeeding and pumping can be a challenging balancing act for working moms. But you can accomplish it relatively easily with the right strategies and resources. Take the time to find the right breast pump, establish a feeding schedule that works for you, and seek out the best milk-storage solutions. Take advantage of employer-sponsored health insurance plans, discounted pumps, and lactation support programs that may be available to you. Above all, stay mindful of how often you feed and express—and don’t be afraid to try different methods or positions if something isn’t working. Combining breastfeeding and pumping may not be easy, but with a little patience and the right kind of preparation, you can make it work.