Before you go on maternity leave, while you’re still pregnant:
Plan your maternity leave strategically. If you have more time after the baby comes then you will have longer to initiate breastfeeding and research shows longer time at home after you give birth improves breastfeeding success.
Explore your maternity leave options. Visit Tulane's WFMO website.
Can you get a more flexible schedule?
Work from home? Even one day per week would be helpful!
Consider an on-campus day care or one close by where you can breastfeed during break.
Talk to your supervisor and explain your breastfeeding intentions and what that will mean at work.
The new law and Tulane's Staff Handbook secures reasonable break time and, though this varies from woman to woman, about 30 minutes every 3 hours is a good place to start (this is about the same as a smoking break!).
Select a place to pump. You can pump wherever you feel comfortable.
You’ll want to look for:
An electrical outlet (to plug in your pump
NOTE: The law entitles you to a place other than a bathroom.
Tulane’s lactation room’s have a variety of amenities in each. See the Campus Lactation Room page to see what the one closest to you has available.
If you need to arrange for a key or an attachment kit, contact the point person to ensure little delay on your return to work.
Time the walk to your pumping location and factor that in to the time needed during your break time.
Select a pump (see FAQs for help in selecting a pump).
While on leave:
Establish a good milk supply. If you have any trouble, contact a lactation consultantbefore you go back to work.
Practice using your pump. This will reduce trouble shooting disturbances upon your return.
Establish back up milk. While practicing using your pump, freeze the milk you pump just in case you run into difficulties at work, you’ll have enough stored.
LLLI recommends pumping once or twice a day after breastfeeding a few weeks before you go back to work.
It will probably take a few days to increase your supply, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t get much milk at first.
Introduce a bottle shortly before returning to work but wait until breastfeeding is well established.
Your baby probably won’t take a bottle from you, so let your partner or a friend in on the fun.
Do a trial run: set the alarm clock, nurse, shower, eat breakfast, and get yourself, and your baby, ready and out the door- it will be harder than you think! But then you can go back home and adjust for the real first day back.
When you return to work:
Babies tend to eat about 2-4 oz. after they reach 6 weeks of age. For a full work day, send six 2 oz. containers to the day care. It is better to choose smaller containers so no breast milk will be wasted. Stay in contact with your day care provider to see if more or less is needed. You may want to send extra the first day or two to establish a back up.
Be sure to label your breastmilk: date pumped and baby’s name.
The amount of milk needed is different for a formula fed baby who constantly needs more formula as they grow due to difference in metabolism, don’t be surprised if your breastfed baby’s milk needs stay constant but watch out for growth spurts.
Choose a nursing (or pumping) friendly wardrobe to simplify the process.
Consider returning to work on a Wednesday or Thursday, that way you only have to face 2 or 3 days away from your baby the first week back.
Try to get as ready as possible the night before- pack your lunch, the baby’s bag etc…
Remember that short pumping and nursing sessions are better than no sessions at all. Breastfeeding is a supply and demand thing; If you skip too many sessions, your supply will start to dwindle.
The CDC does not list breastmilk as “as a body fluid for which most healthcare personnel should use special handling precautions”. Thus, you can store your breastmilk in shared refrigerators.
To reduce co-worker questions or protests, you may consider storing in a paper bag or cooler with just your name visible on the outside.
Also, breastmilk can last in a personal cooler with ice packs for up to 8 hrs.
Sample work day approach:
AM before you leave your baby: Nurse
AM at day care: Short Nursing Session
Mid- Afternoon: Pump
PM at day care: Short nursing session
PM at home: on demand nursing
Night: if he wakes up
Note: Short nursing will help maintain supply and your relationship with your baby. Don’t be discouraged from nursing if you don't have a lot of time.