Choosing to go back to work after having a baby is one of many difficult decisions moms have to make today. With how expensive everything is that comes with having a baby, having to work makes it all the more stressful.
If you have chosen to breastfeed, going back to work may seem impossible. How will my baby eat? Will I have enough milk? Is my baby going to hate me? What will happen to my supply?
I am here to tell you that it is possible and that everything will work out.
How to Prepare
Breastfeeding your baby around the clock is easier to do when you are constantly home and have everything you need. When it comes to going back to work, it can be a little more difficult to know exactly what your baby will need. Here are some tips to prepare:
Pump, pump, pump. You will need a good supply of breastmilk to feed your baby while you are at work. Pumping will help with this. Having a good working breast pump is important (you should also have one that you can use when you go back to work). I would suggest pumping three times a day at least for 15 minutes (morning, midday, and night). If baby doesn’t empty you then pump after the feeding. Store in good breastmilk bags and freeze (good for about 4 months frozen).
Notify your employer that you need to pump at work. It is the LAW that companies allow you to have time to pump and should have a space for moms. Make sure your employer is aware of you planning to pump so they can make the necessary arrangements for you ahead of time.
Practice getting ready. If you are able to practice your soon-to-be morning routine, you can get a better idea of what to expect. Get ready, pack up, and leave like you are heading to work. After doing it a couple of times, you can see which things you forget and need to remember better. Trust me, if you take the time to practice it, it will only get easier and less stressful.
Get baby used to bottles during the day. If you are exclusively breastfeeding, it might take time for your little one to get used to a bottle. If you introduce it before you go back to work, it might help your little one adjust better to the changes. Preparing your baby will help too.
Lean on your mommy friends. This will be one of many hard things you will have to go through so make sure you have the support you need. Other mom friends can help you prepare, give you advice on how to handle it all, and so much more.
Dealing with the Stress
I am not going to sugarcoat it: Going back to work after a baby sucks. Leaving your baby the first time is a really hard thing to deal with. This emotional wave just comes over you and keeps coming back.
Breastfeeding increases this bond and makes it a very emotional thing. The guilt you may feel is normal but don’t let this affect your breastfeeding relationship. You will still have that bond with your baby.
But I can tell you that it will get easier with time. The stress from this situation will only be temporary. Your baby knows you love them. You are not a horrible mom for doing this. If anything you are being a great mom because you are doing whats best for your baby and your family.
Try these tips to help cope with the stress:
Spend more time with your baby when you are home.
Journal about everything going on.
Talk to your spouse or a friend about everything going on.
Be a team. Have your spouse or a family member/friend help you more with the baby when you ate both home.
Make it a habit to do something for yourself.
Don’t be so hard on yourself. You are doing the best that you can. Your baby will be fine and knows you love them very much. You are doing a great job as a mom!