Returning to Work.. When to Start Pumping and Other Concerns
Hello everyone... I am seeking some advise as I am a first time mother who will be returning to work (full-time) in about 5 weeks.
My baby will be 12 weeks old when I return to work, he is almost 7 weeks old now and ever since we had his tongue tie corrected (at 6 days old) he has been exclusively breastfeeding.
FYI the first few days after we were home from the hospital we had to supplement with bottles because he was unable to extract enough milk from my breasts due to the tongue tie- we usually supplemented him with pumped breast milk. When we were supplementing I found it very difficult because even though it was only for a few days, he was already beginning to show signs of preference for the bottle (since the milk flows easier from a bottle). We have gotten over that hump as I am now exclusively breastfeeding but I have to say I am nervous about returning to work as he will need to be bottle-fed during the day and I am scared he will again develop a preference for the bottle and refuse to eat from my breast. My hope is that he will bottle feed while I am at work and that he will breastfeed when I am home (evenings, nights, and weekends).
Also, since I will be returning to work in about 5 weeks I feel I need to start obtaining a supply of breast-milk for my mother who will be watching him when I am at work (approx. 9.5 hours a day- 5 days a week). Is it too soon to start pumping? What is the best way to go about pumping extra milk to store so that I will not get engorged or feel uncomfortable all the time? Should I pump a little after feedings? if so how many feedings should I pump after? or should I set aside a whole different time to pump, for example when the baby is sleeping?
Your comments are appreciated! Thanks!
Re: Returning to Work.. When to Start Pumping and Other Conc
Hi mama, welcome to the forum!
1) Bottle preference: yes, it's common for very young babies to develop bottle preference because it's so much easier for them to drink milk out of the bottle than from the breast. That is why the recommendation is to wait until 4-6 weeks to introduce the bottle. In your case of course you had no choice. But now that breastfeeding is well-established I think this is much less of a concern. Most babies of mothers who work outside the home do fine switching from bottle during the day to breast when mom is home. I think at this point you can feel safe re-introducing the bottle. In fact some babies go the other direction and will have nothing to do with the bottle! So I would suggest re-introducing the bottle at least a couple weeks before you go back to work, so that if there is any bottle refusal you can work on getting baby used to the bottle. Even now may be fine. You don't need to give the bottle every day, but just every few days to have baby familiar with it.
2) Building your stash. You'll need about 15 ounces in the freezer on your first day back to work. 1-1.5 ounces per hour apart, so if you get to 15 you should be good. Then each day you work you pump for the next day. To build your freezer stash, you can pump once per day; in the morning most mothers have the most milk, so that's a good time to try, but if that is not convenient other times are fine too. You want to avoid too much pumping so that you don't get into oversupply. Really, you don't need much. If you start now you need 0.5 ounces per day! And that may be all you get at the beginning; if so don't be discouraged - the body needs to get used to the pump, and when you first start pumping, you will be pumping in addition to feeding, whereas at work you'll be pumping instead of feeding.
Here are some resources from kelly mom about bottle-feeding the breastfed baby: