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Breastfeeding and Working: How to Make it Work
Breastfeeding is one of the most beneficial gifts a mother can give her baby. However, it becomes challenging for working mothers to continue breastfeeding their baby once they need to return to work. Returning to work after maternity leave leaves many mothers feeling overwhelmed and anxious about continuing to breastfeed their baby while working full-time. In this blog post, we’ll discuss some tips and tricks for making breastfeeding and working possible.
The Benefits of Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding has so many benefits for both the mother and baby. Breast milk is packed with essential nutrients and minerals that help your baby grow strong and healthy. It’s also beneficial for the mother, as it helps to reduce the risk of certain cancers and promotes emotional bonding with your baby.
Preparing for Breastfeeding in the Workplace
Before returning to work, it’s essential to plan ahead and prepare for breastfeeding in the workplace. This includes finding a supportive workplace environment that provides lactation breaks and a private space to pump breast milk for your baby. It’s also important to invest in a high-quality breast pump to ensure that you’re able to express enough milk for your baby while at work.
Creating a Pumping Schedule
To maintain your milk supply and continue breastfeeding after returning to work, it’s essential to establish a pumping routine. It’s recommended that mothers pump breast milk at least every three hours while at work to ensure that their milk supply stays consistent. Create a pumping schedule that works best for you and your workplace, and stick to it as much as possible.
Storing and Transporting Breast Milk
When pumping breast milk at work, it’s crucial to store and transport the milk properly. Store the milk in a clean, labeled container and keep it refrigerated until you’re ready to transport it home. When transporting the milk, use a cooler bag or insulated container to keep it fresh.
Talking to Your Employer
It’s critical to communicate with your employer about your breastfeeding needs. Talk to your employer about your plans to continue breastfeeding after returning to work and the accommodations you’ll need to do so. Most workplaces are required by law to provide lactation breaks and a private space for pumping breast milk, so be sure to know your rights and advocate for yourself.
The Importance of Self Care
Balancing work and breastfeeding can be overwhelming, so it’s essential to practice self-care to avoid burnout. Make sure to eat a healthy diet, stay hydrated, and take breaks when needed. It’s also vital to get enough sleep, as lack of sleep can negatively affect your milk supply and overall wellbeing.
Breastfeeding and working can be challenging, but it’s possible with the right support and preparation. Plan ahead, communicate with your employer, establish a pumping routine, and practice self-care to balance work and breastfeeding. Remember that breastfeeding is a personal decision, and every mother’s breastfeeding journey is unique, so do what works best for you and your baby.
Breastfeeding and Working: How to Make it Work FAQ
Why is it important to continue breastfeeding after returning to work?
Breastfeeding provides many health benefits for both the mother and the baby, including boosting the baby’s immune system and increasing mother-child bonding.
When should I start pumping?
Experts recommend starting to pump a few weeks before returning to work to establish a supply and build up a freezer stash.
How often should I pump at work?
You should aim to pump every 3-4 hours, or as often as your baby would typically nurse during that time period. This will help maintain your milk supply.
How much milk should I plan to have on hand while at work?
You’ll want to aim for around 1-1.5 ounces of milk per hour that you’ll be away from your baby. So, for an 8-hour workday, you’ll need 8-12 ounces of milk.
What should I do if I’m having trouble pumping enough milk?
Try pumping more often or for longer periods of time. You can also try different pumping techniques or using a hands-free pumping bra to help stimulate letdown.
How should I store and transport breastmilk?
Store breastmilk in a sealed container in the fridge or freezer. When transporting, use an insulated bag with ice packs to keep the milk cold.
What rights do I have as a breastfeeding mother in the workplace?
Under the Affordable Care Act, employers are required to provide reasonable break time and a private location (other than a bathroom) for employees to express milk during the workday.
How can I manage my time effectively while balancing work and breastfeeding?
Plan ahead as much as possible, set realistic expectations, and communicate your needs with your employer and family. Utilize pumping breaks to catch up on work or take a quick moment to relax and recharge.
What should I do if my workplace is not supportive of breastfeeding?
Contact a lactation consultant or human resources representative to discuss your options and any necessary accommodations that need to be made. You may also consider filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
How long should I plan to continue breastfeeding after returning to work?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of a baby’s life, followed by continued breastfeeding and the introduction of solid foods until at least 12 months of age.
Related Products for Working Moms Who Breastfeed
- Nursing Pads: For working moms who breastfeed, nursing pads are essential to prevent embarrassing leaks. There are many different types of nursing pads available, including disposable and reusable options. They come in different sizes and shapes to accommodate your needs and preferences.
- Breast Pump: If you plan to continue breastfeeding while working, a breast pump is a must-have item. There are many different types of breast pumps available on the market, including electric, manual, and hands-free options. Choose the one that fits your lifestyle and needs.
- Breast Milk Storage Bags: Breast milk storage bags are a convenient way to store and transport your milk while youâre away from your baby. They come in different sizes, materials, and designs, so you can choose the one that works best for you.
- Breastfeeding Cover: If you prefer to breastfeed in public, a breastfeeding cover can give you the privacy and confidence you need. There are many different styles and materials available, including apron-style covers, shawl-style covers, and infinity scarves.
- Breastfeeding Pillow: A breastfeeding pillow can make nursing more comfortable for both you and your baby, especially if you have a larger bust or your baby has difficulty latching. There are many different types and styles available, from traditional nursing pillows to inflatable pillows.
- Breastfeeding Accessories: There are many different types of breastfeeding accessories available, such as nipple shields, nipple cream, and nursing bras. These items can help you overcome common breastfeeding challenges and make the process more comfortable and enjoyable for you and your baby.
- Breastfeeding Books: Reading books about breastfeeding while working can give you helpful tips and advice, and help you feel more confident about the process. There are many different books available, from practical how-tos to inspirational stories from other working moms.
- Breastfeeding Apps: There are many breastfeeding apps available that can help you track your feeding sessions, monitor your milk supply, and keep track of your pumping schedule while youâre away from your baby. Some apps even offer helpful tips and advice for common breastfeeding challenges.
- Breastfeeding-Friendly Work Clothes: Finally, investing in breastfeeding-friendly work clothes can make the process more comfortable and convenient for you. Look for clothes that are easy to nurse in, such as wrap dresses, button-down shirts, and nursing tops.
These products can help working moms who breastfeed feel more comfortable, confident, and successful in their breastfeeding journey. Whether youâre looking for practical tools like breast pumps and breast milk storage bags, or helpful accessories like nursing pads and breastfeeding covers, there are many different options available to meet your needs and preferences. Investing in these products and resources can help you bond with your baby, while still maintaining your professional career.
Pros & Cons of Breastfeeding while Working
- 1. Bonding time with your baby: Breastfeeding allows you to maintain a close connection with your baby even when you are not around, as the milk has the right balance of nutrients and antibodies your baby needs. This promotes a strong bond between you and your baby.
- 2. Health Benefits: Breastfeeding has numerous health benefits for both you and your baby, including reducing the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), breast and ovarian cancer and diabetes. Additionally, breastmilk provides the right balance of nutrients that your baby needs to grow and develop properly.
- 3. Cost-effective: Breastmilk is free, and you do not need to spend money on formula, making it an economical and cost-effective choice. Furthermore, breastfeeding reduces the cost of medical bills since babies who are breastfed are healthier, and so are less prone to illnesses.
- 4. Convenient: Unlike formula, which requires measuring and mixing, breastmilk is always ready and available on-demand and at the right temperature, making it a convenient choice.
- 5. Environment-friendly: Breastfeeding is an eco-friendly choice since it reduces waste generated by the production and disposal of formula containers and packaging.
- 1. Time-consuming: Breastfeeding can be time-consuming since it is recommended that babies breastfeed at least every 3 hours. This means that if you are working, you may have to pump breastmilk regularly.
- 2. Complicated: Breastfeeding can be challenging as it requires proper attachment, positioning, and latching, which may not come naturally for every mother. Learning the proper techniques takes time and may require help from a lactation consultant.
- 3. Limited freedom: Breastfeeding ties you to your baby since you need to be around or express milk, limiting your freedom to do other things. Additionally, it may be difficult to attend social events or travel with your baby, which can be a source of stress.
- 4. Discomfort: Breastfeeding can cause discomfort, soreness, or cracked nipples, which can be painful and difficult to deal with. Additionally, if you are pumping breastmilk, you may experience engorgement, which can be uncomfortable.
- 5. Workplace constraints: Some workplaces may not be conducive to breastfeeding, and you may not have adequate pumping space or time to express milk. Additionally, coworkers may not be supportive of breastfeeding, making it a challenging experience.