Returning to Work After Maternity Leave – Set Up Pumping Schedule at Work
Once you return to work, it is important that you pump several times a day so that you maintain your current milk supply. It is important that you take the time to pump every few hours, similar to the times that your baby would normally eat. As a pumping mother, I found that pumping 4 times a day worked for me. I was able to provide my baby enough milk while I was at work and away from my baby. I pumped at 6 am before I woke up my baby to eat. Then at work I would pump three times. Using this schedule I was able to produce an ample amount of milk for my baby plus an additional bottle for emergencies, while I was at work. If you end up slacking on your pumping your milk supply will be affected. Pumping is covered under FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) for the first year after you have a baby. Some employers may give you problems while you are at work, so you might have to pump while off the clock or on your breaks but your employer is required to allow you the time to pump. Also, employers are supposed to provide you a place to pump other than a restroom, if your employer offers you a restroom refuse and have them find you an alternative place to pump. Check with your Human Resources Department to find out where you will be required to pump while at work.
Focus on the Combined Amount of Breastmilk
Try not to focus on how much milk you are pumping from each breast; instead, look at the amount that you produce when you combine your milk from both breasts. Babies are more efficient at getting breast milk from your breast, so you might have to pump longer than your baby typically eats. I personally found that pumping for 10 to 15 minutes a pumping session was about right. If you noticed that your milk supply is dropping off, try pumping for an additional five minutes after the last few drops of milk. This will trigger your body to have another let down and it will also prompt your body to produce more milk the next day. Using this technique on a daily basis will slowly increase your milk supply.
Try not to stress about your milk production, stress can affect your milk supply. Also, remember to take care of yourself. Make sure that you are getting enough calories and plenty of rest. A sudden drop in calories can affect how much milk you produce.
Freezer Stash Will Expire If Not Used Within a Certain Time Frame
If you have a freezer stash, many mothers will freeze their fresh milk daily and use their frozen stash for baby’s bottles. While other mom’s feed baby strictly fresh milk and save their freezer supply for emergencies. Just keep in mind that your freezer stash will only keep for a certain period of time in a freezer or deep freezer.
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How much milk are you able to pump in one session?
Originally posted March 31, 2012.