The Express Lane
By Jennifer R. Valentin, MSN, FNP-C
Our journey to motherhood may take different paths, but one decision we all share, as new moms, is how to feed our baby. When you elect to breastfeed, you are securing your baby’s future by providing them with natures perfect food. Breastfeeding not only benefits the infant, doing so may also reduce your risk of breast and ovarian carcinoma by 26% and 37% respectively and is associated with 32% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes (Chowdhury et al, 2015). However, it can be rather challenging adjusting your routine once you return to work.
Try to return to work in the middle of the week, which allows you a few days to adjust to your new routine. Speak with your supervisor and come to an agreement regarding your breastfeeding schedule and space to express milk. As you adjust to your routine, you will discover new ways to integrate pumping sessions into your work schedule. There are several products on the market which may make your life easier, for example: Freemie collection cups and pumps that allow for hands free pumping (http://www.freemie.com/products.html),
Medela’s new Sonata (http://www.medelabreastfeedingus.com/) which allows for smart phone connections, or the Spectra (http://www.spectrababyusa.com/) for quiet and seamless milk expression. Once you have a pumping schedule in place, monitor the amount of breast milk you are producing.
Diminished supply is a common problem many working mothers face due to missing pumping sessions or not pumping long enough. To help increase your supply; increase your water intake, pump more often (even if milk stops flowing) for about 10 minutes, and when you are at home, put the baby to your breast every two or three hours. On weekends, breastfeed exclusively whenever baby seems interested. However, if the infant exclusively drinks expressed milk from a bottle, express pump three times a day for two to three days in a row to help boost your supply. Express pumping consists of three 10-minute pumping sessions with two 20-minute breaks in-between. In the evening, when at home, 30-60 minute pumping sessions may also help enhance supply.
As a mother of four, who is currently exclusively bottle feeding expressed breast milk, my journey is one that is ever evolving. It is a journey that, at times, can be extremely frustrating and rewarding. I rely on a team of experts and nursing mothers alike to encourage me, motivate me and help me along the way. There is no exact science to breastfeeding or bottle feeding ones baby, but what I do know is, I’ve got my golden ticket and there is only one road on this journey and that is, the express lane.
“I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy. I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.”
Chowdhury, R., Sinha, B., Sankar, M. J., Taneja, S., Bhandari, N., Rollins, N., Bahl, R. and
Martines, J. (2015), Breastfeeding and maternal health outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Acta Paediatr, 104: 96–113. doi:10.1111/apa.13102