• Adrienne Koznek, IBCLC

Tips for Breastfeeding and Returning to School

The fall term is starting for many schools and universities around this time.  Sometimes, college credits just don't wait for babies to grow up.  If you are a student, you are probably starting to think about how returning to campus may affect your breastfeeding relationship.  As with most careers, being a student and a breastfeeding mother do not need to be mutually exclusive. Here is a list of 5 things to consider when returning to school and breastfeeding:

1.        Time to pump: if you are separated from your baby for long periods, you will want to be sure to remove milk at least every three hours or so.  This may vary depending on the age of your baby, so you may want to discuss your needs with an IBCLC or a breastfeeding peer counselor.

2.       Space to pump: Your school may have a space available for you to pump in peace.  Check with them to find out what your options are. However, many mothers find they use their time best by pumping in the classrooms – nursing covers can provide privacy if you prefer.  There are also likely to be many outlets to plug in electric pumps.

3.       Storing expressed breast milk: expressed breast milk can be at room temperature for up to 6 hours, provided it’s going to a healthy, full-term baby.  However, the best option for a full day is to keep your milk in a cooler with an ice pack if you don’t have access to a fridge.

4.       Keeping up with baby: this is often on the minds of new parents!  A general rule to follow is that for every hour you and your baby are separated, about an ounce of breast milk is needed.  This too may vary, so consider asking a breastfeeding expert for assistance on determining how much expressed breast milk your baby needs.

5.       Bring baby to you: some schools may allow newborns to be brought to class.  This may be an option for you to consider to avoid having to pump at school.  Talk with your caregiver about them bringing the baby to you on campus if you have a break in your day as well.  Find what works for you!