Returning to work as a new mother can be overwhelming. Our expert advice will help you succeed at both jobs.
Breastfeeding 101 For Working Moms
Pumping your breast milk at work takes energy and planning, but it can quickly become routine, and your baby wonÂt be the only one who is better off.
If you donÂt have an office, use a first-aid station, a vacant conference room or even your car for the 20-minute task. And heed the following advice for pumping success from Doraine Bailey, M.A., I.B.C.L.C., president of the International Lactation Consultant Association:
Learn to pump. A double electric breast pump can get the most milk in the least amount of time. Available in briefcase-style bags, the cost is $160 to $350.
Introduce a bottle or cup once breastfeeding is establishedÂat about four to six weeks. Ask your partner or a caregiver to give your baby pumped breast milk once a day to help you both become accustomed to the change.
Adjust your routine. About two weeks before you return to work, begin feeding your baby when you predict youÂll be able to pump at work.
Store a weekÂs worth or more of milk before returning to work. Milk can last up to eight days in the refrigerator and three to four months in the freezer, though fresher milk contains more disease-fighting antioxidants, according to recent research.
Create a Practical Work Schedule Â For Everybody
Consider cutting back to a six-hour workday and taking a pay cut. DonÂt think your boss would go for it? ÂIf youÂve established your value and reputation, itÂs much more possible than you think,Â says Pat Katepoo, R.D., founder of Kaneohe, Hawaii-based WorkOptions.com. To negotiate a flexible schedule yourself, consider these pointers:
Thoroughly assess your position. Aim to keep tasks you enjoy and those your boss highly values; delegate responsibilities that offer skill-building opportunities for others.
Write a proposal. Schedule a meeting with your boss, then pitch your well-prepared flexible-hours plan with a seriousness that reflects your level of desire for the new arrangement.
Suggest a trial of three to six months. This allows your boss to say ÂyesÂ while maintaining control over your job structure.
Make an extra effort. If a co-worker picked up your slack one day when you had to take your child to the pediatrician, return the favor when she needs help. And make every effort not to miss crucial meetings.