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Breastfeeding and Work
Continue breastfeeding after returning to work – continue to produce more breast milk for your little one. Many nursing mothers continue to breastfeed after returning to work. Undoubtedly as a breastfeeding mother, you will face many difficulties with work and breastfeeding and you will be exhausted, but with proper planning and adjustment, all the difficulties would not be an obstacle to stop you from breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding difficulties after returning to work
1. You might have thousands of questions and concerns about how to continue breastfeeding and whether you would face the problem of low milk supply if you are not breastfeeding fully as before. Your first week back to work will always be overwhelming and tiring.
2. You might worry if there would be a suitable place to pump breast milk. Your employer may not provide a place at all for the nursing moms to pump breast milk and store the breast milk.
3. Your work schedule may not allow you to pump regularly. You may not be able to follow your planned pumping schedule due to some ad hoc meetings or frequent travel due to the nature of work.
4. You may have questions about how to adjust your baby from full breastfeeding to partial breastfeeding.
5. Your life will become much busier with the hectic schedule of exclusively pumping breast milk, taking care of your work and at the same time handling household chores after reaching home. You will feel extremely exhausted.
6. You will feel uncomfortable with the possible criticism or comments of your colleagues about your pump, frequent breaks for milk pumping, and milk store in the company refrigerator.
How to Overcome the Difficulties
There are hints and tips given below to help you overcome the above difficulties so that you can continue to enjoy the best moment with your little one while breastfeeding. You can find some tips for working moms on how to continuously produce more breast milk to ensure that you offer the best nutrition to your baby.
1. Convince and Engage
You need to convince yourself and those around you of the benefits of continuing to breastfeed even after you have returned to your normal job. Get support from your partner, older child, other family members, a close friend and colleagues who are breastfeeding. Talk to them and convince them with the benefits and reasons for breastfeeding. Get involved, and enjoy the beautiful bond with your baby.
2. Plan and be Prepared
a. Talk and discuss your breastfeeding and pumping needs with your employer before going on maternity leave so you know how to prepare before returning to work. You could state the reasons and benefits of breastfeeding. At the same time, inform the employer that you would need a hygienic and private place to pump milk. Mentioned the basic facilities you will need such as a small room with a lock, a table and chair, a sink for washing and a refrigerator. Try to work something out with your employer before going on maternity leave.
b. Before returning to work, prepare a checklist of things to bring to work, and get these things ready at night for the next morning. Things you might include on your checklist, such as a lamp pump, battery (if you are using a battery powered one), breast milk storage containers, ice box (if no fridge at your workplace), breast pads (in case of a leak), baby cloth and bottles to be brought to the nanny. Get everything ready to go the next morning.
c. Work out a pumping schedule of how many pumping breaks you will need during labor. To maintain your milk supply, you could breastfeed your baby early in the morning when you wake up, and try to pump before you leave home for work. When working, try to have at least a morning pump, another pump after lunch and an afternoon pump. If you want to have more breast milk, you could pump more often, but your pumping break will not affect your labor; therefore proper planning is required. If you couldn’t pump regularly on your pumping schedule, skipping a session or two wouldn’t make much difference. However, you should not skip too many of the milk pumping sessions as this will result in a low milk supply. Maximize the frequency of breastfeeding as much as possible. Always communicate with your babysitter / nanny to feed your baby enough to last him/her until your evening feed after reaching home. When you get home, don’t rush to prepare dinner. You could have a simple snack before feeding your baby. Enjoy the time to be together. You could have another 2 rounds of breastfeeding at night before you call it a day off.
d. Practice how to use your breast pump at least 1 week before returning to work. Get used to your breast pump. There are 4 types of breast pump in the market – table top breast pump, hand operated manual breast pump, hand held battery operated / electric breast pumps and foot operated breast pump. So, choose the type of breast pump that is most suitable for you, because it will work very closely with you every day. You are also advised to use a double breast pump which would shorten the pumping time especially during working hours.
e. Practice bottle feeding with your baby because when you send your baby to a babysitter / babysitter, your baby needs to take milk from a bottle instead of your breast. Therefore, 1 week before returning to work, you could start your baby with a bottle, of course with your breast milk. A disadvantage of starting your baby early with a bottle could be that the baby refuses to continue sucking from your breast. This is because a baby will usually prefer a steady and smooth flow of milk when you use a bottle.
f. Prepare some work clothes that are suitable for you to pump breast milk. A two-piece suit gives baby easier access to breastfeeding if you need to breastfeed before you leave work or on-site feeding at a day care provider. A loose blouse with prints could shield the leak that could happen during labor.
3. Work Options
a. You could choose a babysitter or day care provider located close to your workplace; therefore, you could continue breastfeeding directly regularly.
b. Working part-time is another good option to allow you to have more time with your baby, and continue breastfeeding. You could work part-time when your baby is young and return to full-time work when they get older.
c. Some of the jobs may allow you to bring your baby with you to work such as family business and shop. So, you could carry your baby in a sling carrier. This option would allow you to breastfeed your baby during labor.
d. Home work is becoming more and more popular recently, and it could also be a very good option for nursing moms to continue breastfeeding while also reducing the financial burden on the family. The mother and baby would have a lot of time together.
e. For mothers who are unable to accommodate the above option, you could express breast milk during working hours and continue breastfeeding after work or on non-working days.
f. The last option is to breastfeed when you are with your baby, and provide formula milk when you are at work.
4. Maximize the Frequency of Breastfeeding and Pumping
You must pump regularly to maintain milk supply/to avoid low milk supply. Therefore, breastfeed your baby full time when you are not working. Don’t let your baby forget about your breast. Many breastfeeding moms are able to keep enough breast milk for their baby by breastfeeding whenever possible and at the same time continue to pump breast milk.
5. Take Care of Yourself
You must take good care of yourself by eating a healthy and balanced diet (see Diet of Nursing Mothers), get enough rest to ensure the quality of your breast milk. Try to simplify your life, like keeping a simple hairstyle that doesn’t take much time in the morning before going to work. You could live without doing all the household chores every day, just wash your daily clothes, prepare a simple dinner and do laundry.
Nursing mothers are always juggling work and breastfeeding. It’s not easy, but at the same time it’s not as hard as you might expect. Commitment and persistence are the most important factors here. Keep up your milk supply with continuous breastfeeding and milk pumping. All the best to all working mothers. Your best effort will be the best gift to your baby!
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