Most working mothers find themselves in a predicament as their maternity leave comes to an end. Apart from staying away from the baby for a major part of the day, they are also worried about breastfeeding their baby and providing the same nutrition to the baby as before.
Yes, breastfeeding and work are possible. Stopping your breastfeeding is not required on returning to work. On the contrary, it’s helpful in many ways to you and your baby if you continue breastfeeding after you return to work.
Let quickly tell you why breastfeeding is the best option for your munchkin’s nutrition
- It gives the best nutrition to your baby
- Helps to cut down on the costs associated with formula feeds
- It avoids the health risks related with formula feeding
- It helps in keeping the bond between you and your baby stronger
- It keeps your baby healthy which means less leaves from work
Here are a few pointers to help you continue breastfeeding with your work:
Firstly, condition your mind to continue with breastfeeding with your work.
There will be days when you will be too tired or stressed to even think about pumping milk for storing.
Then there will be days when you would want to quit pumping and resort to formula feeding your baby.
Also, you may be initially self-conscious to pump milk in the workplace knowing that you are missing work/important deadlines or your colleagues must be wondering about your absence. Believe in the importance of breastfeeding for you and your baby; this way you will be less tempted to quit. Take a trial of 15-20 days to find if breastfeeding at work is working out for you or not.
Start Pumping with the Help of a Breast Pump
Don’t wait till the day you resume work to pump. Get to know your breast pump beforehand so that you get a hang of it and also your baby gets habituated to bottle feeding. Invest in a good breast pump. Though there are manual breast pumps available too, it is better you go for an electrical breast pump as it is quicker and doesn’t exert your fingers. Read the instruction manual properly so that you know how to assemble the pump, operate it, clean it and sterilize it. Initially, you may get little milk but don’t worry, that’s natural. As you continue pumping, you will realize that your milk supply is getting better.
Talk to your Employer
On returning to work, talk to your employer, supervisor or HR representative that you would like to continue breastfeeding your child. Explain to them the benefits of breastfeeding. Work out an arrangement where you can pump milk during your breaks so that it doesn’t lead to lower productivity. Also, request them for a private place with an electrical outlet where you can pump milk without any intrusion and a safe clean place to store milk bottles (you may use ice coolers too in case there is no fridge). If your home or child’s day care is near to your workplace, you may even work out a plan where you can visit your child to nurse.
- Wear clothes that facilitate breast pumping at work; nursing bras, clothes that have buttons/zip in the front etc.
- Buy a hands-free pumping bra. As the name suggests, it leaves your hands free to make phone calls, and type while you are pumping.
- Use breast pads to protect your clothes and save you from embarrassment if you leak. You may even select your clothes (wearing bold prints, darker colours etc.) keeping that in mind.
- To have a good milk flow, it’s important that you pump at regular hours.
- Try to nurse your baby in the mornings or evenings after you reach home. You can utilize this time to strengthen the bond with your baby.
- Label all the milk bottles properly so that the day care/home caregiver knows which bottles to give first.
- Get some support from your colleagues or experienced mothers on how they managed breastfeeding with work.
- Always keep your baby’s photo, a piece of clothing, etc. while pumping. The emotional connect will help you pump better.
Remember, breastfeeding with your work may not be easy but it’s not impossible either. You just need to choose wisely and carefully work around your options.