Congratulations on the new addition to your family! For employees and students who wish to carry out their breastfeeding goals after returning to work or study, Iowa State University seeks to provide an accommodating and supportive environment. Through partnerships with college and department leadership, family-friendly resources have been developed, following best practices - in accordance with national health care laws and standards.
Here are a few tips to support your lactation journey upon your return to work or study.
- Plan your return day. Consider returning to work toward the end of the week (on Wednesday or Thursday). This will allow for fewer days away from your baby during your first week back and a more gradual transition for both you and your baby.
- Think about your lactation needs and make arrangements. You can express breastmilk wherever you feel comfortable. To prepare for your return, you should identify a space (not a bathroom) that may be used to express breastmilk. Iowa State University has more than 30 dedicated lactation spaces located around campus for employee, student, and visitor use. Once you’ve identified a comfortable space, calendar your pumping sessions as part of your daily activities. Remember that a short pumping or breastfeeding session is better than no session at all. Your milk supply will decrease if you skip too many sessions.
- Build a back-up breastmilk supply. While you're on leave, freeze and store the breastmilk you pump to use once you return to work. Consider storing breastmilk in small amounts (2-3 ounces) for unexpected situations or delays in regular feedings. Learn more about proper storage and preparation of pumped breastmilk.
- Bring a reminder of your baby. Many women find that their milk production increases when they have a reminder of their baby during their pumping session. Consider bringing a photograph, an item that smells of your baby such as a blanket, or a video of your baby making cooing sounds.
- Take care of yourself. No matter how you choose to feed your child, balancing work or study and parenthood can be tiring. Get as much rest as you can, eat nutritious foods throughout the day and drink plenty of water. Consider joining a nursing mothers group to share experiences and get support. Be proud of any amount of breastfeeding that you and your baby share during your breastfeeding journey.