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How should you prepare to go back to work?

Helpful tips for preparing to go back to work:

  • Get breastfeeding off to a good start by nursing within the first hour after birth if possible.
  • Feeding your baby whenever the child shows signs of hunger will help you establish your milk supply.
  • Ask for help from a lactation consultant, nurse, or other health care professional whenever you need it.
  • Take as much time off as you can. This will give you time to recover, build your milk supply, and settle into a good breastfeeding routine.
  • Before returning to work practice pumping your milk and freezing 1-2 ounces at a time.
  • If you haven't already, talk to your employer about your intention to pump breast milk for your baby during the workday. Explain what you will need and be prepared to offer ideas on how to make it work.
  • Make sure you have everything you need including your pump, storage bottles or bags, a cooler and ice packs or a refrigerator to store your milk in, breast pads or an extra shirt in case your breasts leak, pump cleaning supplies, and other needed items.
  • To maintain your milk supply after returning to work, you should pump as often as your baby eats. If you are not making enough milk, consider pumping more often.
  • Not all breast pumps work for all women. If you are having trouble pumping, contact a lactation consultant to identify which pump is best for you.

Find more tips and information on preparing to return to work from the DHHS Office on Women's Health and the American Academy of Family Physicians.

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