Mums can certainly continue to breastfeed after returning to work with some proper planning and a little help. Read on for some tips on balancing work and breastfeeding.
While many new mums have the best intentions to continue breastfeeding after returning to work, a survey found that nearly one-third of new mothers who breastfeed stop prematurely due to work-related difficulties. These difficulties include having no designated place to pump (57%) and no place to store pumped milk (27%).
“While the health benefits of breastfeeding for baby and mother are undisputed, returning to work can leave breastfeeding mums feeling overwhelmed and frustrated,” says Sue Huml, international board-certified lactation consultant and member of the Lansinoh Breastfeeding Advisory Board.
“While many mothers may fear returning to work will disrupt the breastfeeding routine they’ve worked so hard to establish, it is possible and common for women to breastfeed and return to work outside the home. It does take planning, commitment and flexibility, however,” advises noted pediatrician Dr. James Sears.
Here are some tips to help mums successfully ease the transition back to the office and continue to breastfeed
- Invest in a quality electric breast pump: Many women find that using an electric breast pump helps to keep up their milk supply better than manual pumping allowing them to have enough milk to have on hand while they are at work. “Look for a pump where you can control the speed and suction, which can enhance the milk flow by mimicking your baby’s natural sucking pattern,” adds Huml. There are certain brands that are quiet, which is good for being discreet. A good electric pump adds to the convenience of breastfeeding and storing milk. Find some on Konga here
- Stock Up: If possible, mothers should start pumping and freezing their milk about a month before returning to work. There are several reuseable breast milk storage bags that can be bought to help with easy storage of the expressed breastmilk. These storage bags are specially designed for freezing expressed breast milk safely.
- Talk with Your Employer: It is important to talk to your supervisor or Human Resources about your desire to continue to breastfeed and your desire to work out a designated area that is safe, clean and private, where you will be able to pump without being disturbed. You can also point out the many benefits of breastfeeding for the employer, such as reduced absenteeism. Most mums suffer in silence because they do not ask for what they need, many times once you ask and state your reasons and requests clearly you will usually get the support you need.
- Storage: Many times the concerns with pumping while at work is the concern on how to store the milk till you get home in the evening. Invest in a freezer bag and get additional ice packs. Once the milk has been pumped directly into the storage bottles or bags you can place these in the freezer bags and usually this will preserve the milk till you return home. If you are in a really supportive environment you might be able to store the milk in the fridge at work.
- Smart clothing: It is useful to continue to wear breastfeeding friendly clothes with easy access such that it is easy to discreetly and conveniently get access to express at work. This is not yet the time for overly complex clothes that will make the task of expressing more painful.
- Breast pads: Breast pads are necessary to avoid spillage and staining your clothes with breastmilk. You should invest in these because you will likely be on a pumping schedule and could be unavoidably stuck in a meeting or with a client when you are meant to pump – Nature will take over and it is possible that your body will automatically start to produce breastmilk. Breastpads are useful to reduce staining. Buy Breast pads on konga here
- Do not be apologetic: Do not be apologetic or feel like you are doing something wrong when you need support to assist you in your breastfeeding your baby. Breastmilk is best milk so do everything you can for your baby to feed on the necessary steps to be able to work and breastfeed.
Most mums create a pumping schedule that mimics their baby’s feeding schedule. As a general rule, it is best to pump every two to three hours that you will be away from your baby. It is advisable that “whenever you are not working and can be with your baby you should breastfeed exclusively in order to maintain and build up your milk supply,” adds Dr. Sears.
You might also want to read 10 tips for naturally increasing breast milk supply
photo source: everydayfamily