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Breastfeeding while working: 6 tips for how to get it right.
Guest post by Jennifer Kitson.
In 2018, approximately 49% of employers provided onsite lactation rooms at work, says a report by Center for Disease Control. Taking care of newborn babies takes a lot of effort, especially for mothers who get back to work while still breastfeeding. There’s no doubt that mothers need support as they return to work. Especially since 62% of moms felt a stigma at work for breastfeeding.
In between all this, there are essential things that every mother needs for their newborn child to ensure proper care. However, to reach their breastfeeding goals, mothers need continuity support, a collaborative work-life balance, and a good understanding of the habits and the equipment they need to make breastfeeding much easier.
Here are several tips for breastfeeding as a working mother before and after going back to work:
Assessing Your Breastfeeding Status
Breastfeeding at work can be a little bit tricky. However, some simple ideas can assist you while breastfeeding at work. But before that, you may need to assess your personal breastfeeding status. For babies that are a few weeks old, this can be challenging because your breastfeeding routine is not well established. In turn, you may need to pump more to keep up enough milk supply to the baby. Even when your breastfeeding is well established, and the baby can’t feed on solids, you still need to pump to provide sufficient milk for the baby while you are at work.
Coming Up With a Plan
After assessing your situation, you may need to come up with a workable strategy. The first preparation will start with your baby. Before your maternity leave ends, start building your milk supply by doing extra pumping sessions. Afterwards, train your baby how to use the bottle and do some test trials to ensure you have an efficient routine. An arrangement can be made for childcare while at work. Engage your employer beforehand about plans such as pumping time. Ensuring that your employer or managers understand your situation can help in getting things in order and avoid issues in future.
Getting the Right Clothes and Items
Before going back to work, you may need to bring certain items. The first is your breast pump. Others include breast milk storage bottles, nursing pads, an extra shirt in case you make a mess when pumping, breast pump wipes, and a small cooler with ice packs. Breast milk only remains fresh for five hours; hence the need for a cooler box in case a refrigerator is not available. Finally, you may want to have photos of your baby. Experts say pictures stimulate the body to produces oxytocin that helps you relax and stimulate milk production.
Scheduling for Your Pumping Time
When you return to work before your child is six months old, you may have to pump milk every three hours. For instance, in an eight-hour job, you may be separated from your baby for at least ten hours when you factor in time for breaks and commuting. Pumping may take approximately 10 to 15 minutes. However, looking for a high-quality pump that enables you to pump both breasts concurrently can save a lot of time. Most women use their regular breaks such as lunch breaks to pump while others prefer doing it before work. As time passes and your baby starts to feed on solids, you may have the opportunity to reduce the number of pumping session every day.
Storage of your Milk
During breastfeeding, your milk is warm and ready for the baby. However, for working mums, they may need to pump and store the milk when they are away from their baby. The milk can be stored in a refrigerator, a freezer or an insulated bag and for some time at normal room temperature. Besides, there other common questions such as how much to store, what to store in and how long to store that need to be addressed.
A range of good breast milk storage bottles such as glass with a leak-proof lid, breast milk freezer bags and hard BPA-free plastic bags are easily available. You may want to avoid thin and disposable feeding bottles or plastic light bags for storing milk because they can split when frozen. How much to store depends on the age of your baby. As the baby grows, you may need to store more milk until they start to feed on other foods separate from your milk. Finally, its advisable not to store your milk more than eight days. The longer your breast milk is stored, the more it loses vital antioxidants and vitamins. You can also consult your baby health care provider for advice about milk storage.
Self-care is crucial when you are breastfeeding. For you to have enough milk for your baby, you will need to eat well. Focus on healthy fats and high nutrient-rich foods. If possible, stick to natural foods rather than unhealthy junk foods. Always stay hydrated and if you experience any supply issues, consult your doctor. Don’t forget some healthy snacks and fruits when at work because breastfeeding appetite is strong for a reason.
Understanding the Benefits of Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding has a wide range of health benefits both for the baby and for the mother. When you nurse your baby after work, experts say you connect better with your baby, making them feel comfortable. It also bridges the gap between work and motherhood in a unique way, something no one can give.
Breastfeeding at work comes with a variety of challenges to many career mothers. However, you can prepare yourself for the whole breastfeeding journey by incorporating some of these tips. You’ll love and appreciate every challenge along the way.
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