Breastfeeding, sleep training and returning to work!
You mamas had so many questions on this topic and I was blown away by how many of you have questions about this big transition!
So today, let's touch on that topic in a Q & A style blog!
Q: How can I breastfeed once I've returned to work??
A: Great question! First off, congratulations that you've made it this far in your nursing journey! Yay!
One thing you should know is that this looks different for every woman.
If you work full-time, squeezing a morning nursing session before you go to work will help with being able to continue your nursing journey. I'd also expect that when you come home, your baby will not care ABOUT ANYTHING ELSE except to nurse. Be prepared to sit on the couch and have a nursing session and a cuddle.
Oh, and it probably won't be a 5-10 minute nursing session. They will want to hang onto you for a while as they missed their mama!
Think ahead about dinner prep. Get your partner helping out as you will either be tied to the couch or have a cranky baby who wants to nurse.
The good news is, as they get older, this will get easier.
They will realize that you will come back and that their nursing sessions aren't going away quite yet.
Once you get to a place where you'd like to cut down on a nursing session or two, you'll find that the morning one will most likely be the easiest.
Between getting them breast fast and getting yourself ready, they will be plenty distracted and won't need a nursing session.
Q: Do I have to pump while at work to maintain my milk supply?
A: Many women choose to pump initially at work, mainly because they might get engorged at some point during the day.
Your breastmilk supply at this point is based on demand. As the daytime demand decreases, your supply will adjust accordingly and you'll get to a point where you won't have to pump while at work.
For most women, if you've made it this far without too much supply trouble, chances are, your supply will continue.
Q: How can I maintain nap routines while my child is at daycare?
A: This is a great question and I could write a whole blog post on this (and that's now going on my list for ideas...)
What I have found is that daycares tend to be more structured with their naps. They feed the kids lunch around 11:30 am - 12:00 pm and nap time starts around 12:30 pm. (of course, each daycare is different but this is what I have found to be the average)
If your child is still on two naps a day, they won't necessarily have the opportunity to nap twice. During this initial transition, you'll want to make sure your baby goes to bed early to adjust to the lack of daytime sleep.
I also suggest that especially during those first few weeks, on the weekends, make sure to honour your baby's need for naptime. If they are missing up to 7 hours of daytime sleep during the week, we want to try to help them catch up on the weekends.
This won't last long as they will adjust, but each baby's sleep need is different. Same babies do okay in a couple of weeks, others its several weeks.
It's a huge adjustment (for everyone) so do keep that in mind:)
Dayhomes on the other hand, I find tend to have more flexibility. Some day homes have a separate room for your child to nap in and some will accommodate for a 2 nap schedule.
I encourage parents to have a discussion with their potential childcare providers about their sleeping arrangements and how they put the children to sleep.
Some providers won't let children cry for x amount of time. Some will help more, some will help less.
Don't be afraid to communicate how your baby goes down for a nap and start a conversation around how they will put your child down to sleep.
Q: How to get dad involved with putting baby to bed when mom works shift work?
A: Love this question!
As most of you know, I'm also a nurse and after my first daughter, I still worked a variety of shifts (as opposed to now, I work mainly day shifts)
Something you can start doing right away is getting your partner involved with bedtime!
It can be small like they bathe the baby, get the diaper and PJs on, and then hand off to you to feed.
If your baby takes a bottle, get your partner involved with doing the bedtime feed.
I've had some clients whose partner does the entire bedtime routine, as it's their special time to be directly involved with the care of their baby.
But what is you've done every single bedtime up to this point and you're about to go back to work?
Just start by getting your partner involved with some of the steps!
And then you can do what I did (with baby number 1, before I was a consultant...)
The day of my first evening shift, I was so nervous. I went over the bedtime routine with my husband several times and made sure to answer any of his questions.
He told me he had it and not to worry.
Oh, I should also add that my daughter never took a bottle and that I was exclusively breastfeeding...
I went to work, and texted him several times, praying that everyone would survive the bedtime experience (Can you tell that I was a first-time mom??)
He eventually texted me that bedtime was great, they read stories, had a cuddle and she went to bed without a peep.
WITHOUT A PEEP.
You're kidding, right??
Nope. She did great.
She obviously knew that dad wasn't going to nurse her and had a lovely time spending time with her dad.
My husband enjoyed doing bedtime and wondered why he hadn't done it before (Oops...)
All that being said, that if your partner hasn't had a chance to put their child to bed, chances are, if your baby is an independent sleeper, and dad knows the steps of the routine, he will do great:) Alright, that was a ton of info! If you're returning to work soon, or in the near future, don't wait to work on your baby's sleep! Let's talk about how in a couple of weeks we can get your baby sleeping well, click here to get in touch! Here for you, Melody Patton