I was a full-time working Mom when I was pregnant with my first baby thus, I had to physically and mentally prepare myself to go back to work.
The first month during confinement was spent on establishing direct breastfeeding. Here are some helpful tips:
1. Relax and enjoy bonding with your baby.
During the first month, get to know your baby and feed on demand. Offer to breastfeed when your baby starts making sucking noises. Don’t wait till he’s crying / hungry or you’ll need to calm baby down first.
Both of my kids have different patterns i.e. in the first and second months, my son fed every 3 hours around the clock.
My daughter? She liked to sleep so I would wake her up every 3 hours to feed or she wouldn’t grow!
I really enjoyed breastfeeding my babies because they would look up at you and curl their fingers around your finger. Sigh, bliss…
2. Take note of baby’s feeding times as they would be your milk expression times.
Newborns and babies less than 6 months old usually feed every 3 hours.
For example, my baby drinks milk at the following times during the day i.e. 9-10 am, 12-1 pm, 3-4 pm.
3. Get to know your breast pump.
During the second month, you can start putting together breastfeeding equipment you will need:
- A good breast pump (A single pump: Philips AVENT BPA Free Manual On the Go Breast Pump - a manual/electric breast pump, two 5 oz bottles and two 8 oz bottles and ice packs with a black bag).
If you can afford it, buy a double pump e.g. Medela Freestyle Breast Pump because double pumping encourages the body to create more milk and double pumping also saves time.
- Breast milk storage bottles – choose the ones that fit your baby’s bottle
- Ice packs - Techni Ice (HDR 4 Ply Reusable Ice & Heat Packs
- A tote bag to store the breast pump and bottles. You can also store your breast pump separately in a plastic container.
- Breastfeeding clothes – *optional* if you have a decent room to express your milk
- Your cute baby’s photo – to help you relax and encourage letdown
4. Learn the side-lying position.
Lie on your side and gently prop your baby so that you are in a tummy-to-tummy position with each other.
You may find it easier to swaddle up a newborn baby. Place a small pillow behind his/her back.
The photo below shows a baby of around 2-3 months old:
You will be able to relax during confinement and breastfeed at night when you master this position.
When I started working, I would breastfeed the baby directly at 7 am before I rushed off. Although I try to get home by 7 pm to breastfeed him again, I am usually late.
Thus, I would breastfeed baby directly at 10 pm, 1 am, 4 am and 7 am.
Luckily, I mastered the side lying position and could roll back to sleep after breastfeeding him.
5. Getting ready to go back at work
Firstly, express surplus milk after each breastfeeding session. You can build a HUGE supply of frozen breast milk this way. Also, emptying your breasts stimulates your body to build more milk
For example, my 2 month old baby would feed fully on one breast (right) and then drink maybe 1/5 of the other side (left) at each session.
6. Back at work
Find a clean, well-lit place to express milk
I had to hunt for suitable places to pump breast milk. First, a breastfeeding colleague invited me to use her department’s janitor’s room, which was empty. She’d set up a bottle brush and cleaning detergent. I went there a couple of times but stopped because it was about 3 minutes’ away.
Then, I used the toilet near my office, which was quite clean.
Problem: I forgot to lock the door once and a MALE colleague opened the door on me!!!
I was MORTIFIED. He was SHOCKED and STOOD THERE GAWKING.
I think he was stunned because he wasn’t sure I was doing. After all, few men see women doing this:
Luckily, I was wearing a long blouse, which covered my boobs but I was deeply embarrassed.
Later, he e-mailed me an apology, which I accepted and told him to NEVER TALK ABOUT IT AGAIN. However, he apologized again when he saw me and I was curious, “Why did you open the door to the woman’s toilet?”
He said, “I heard strange sounds.”
Must have been the squeaky AVENT pump LOL
Finally, I shifted to a new office, which was near to the breastfeeding room – yippee! I could express breast milk in peace and store it in the fridge.
How to sterilize your breast pump
I was lucky to have access to a wash basin with hot water. You can use hot water to rinse the breast pump in between sessions to sterilize it.
If I’m in a rush, I keep it sealed in a ziplock bag. No problem with either since my babies NEVER experienced diarrhea when they were fully breastfed.
Alternatively, you can use Medela Quick Clean Anti-Bacterial Wipes-24 Mulit-Pack to clean your pump.
I was always in meetings thus, I would either miss one slot and end up with only 2 bottles for the day. Or, I would be late for the pumping session.
IMPORTANT: You need to breastfeed/pump every 3-4 hours to maintain your milk supply.
I would always try to give my baby a last direct breastfeeding session at 6 or 7 am. A hug and kiss to my sweetie pie and then I’m off to work!
Breastfeeding is the best
Both my kids had strong immune systems and NEVER fell sick (even when all of us in the house had coughs and colds) when they were still breastfeeding.
I only managed to breastfeed them (supplemented with 1-2 oz formula milk) until they were 10-11 months old.
I hope that the experiences are helpful. Happy breastfeeding!