Breastfeeding and working: 5 ways to maintain a good milk supply

My daughter is nine weeks old. She was breastfed exclusively for seven weeks, but since I am returning to work in a month I am introducing a bottle. I'm concerned about building and maintaining an good supply. Any tips?


Debbi Donovan

Debbi Donovan is a Board Certified Lactation Consultant, as well as a retired La Leche League Leader. For more than a decade, Debbi... Read more

This is a common concern among working mothers, but try not to worry, working and breastfeeding can be successfully combined!

1. Allow time before and after work for a nice, relaxed feed. The more time she spends at your breast -- satisfying her nutritional and sucking needs -- the more likely you are to maintain a great milk supply.

2. Express your milk for each feed missed -- or around every two to three hours. If your work schedule does not allow for this frequency of pumping, even a short period of time expressing your milk is better than not expressing at all. Your milk supply will benefit from frequent and regular "emptying" of your breast.

3. Express your milk at a time your supply is most abundant. I would not recommend expressing your milk following each feed. Depending on how many hours you'll be gone each day, and how much of your milk your baby will need, many women find that their milk supply is most abundant in the morning. A good time for you to pump might be prior to nursing your baby before work.

4. Consider co-sleeping sleep with your little one. Many working moms find that they can keep their milk supply quite abundant if they bring their little one to bed and nurse during the night. This is referred to as reverse-cycle nursing. Not only does your baby benefit from your closeness, but she may begin taking in less of your expressed milk (or formula) during your absence. Just make sure your sleeping arrangement is as safe as possible.

5. Breastfeed exclusively on weekends. Skip your weekday supplementation routine and go back to your regular nursing sessions.

Remember, a newborn needs to be nursed or fed your milk in your absence at least 10 to 12 times each day.

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