Breastfeeding is hard for every Mom, it’s just that the level of difficulty varies from woman to woman. But when you add a 9 to 5 job (or an 11 to 7 job) to the mix, it makes things that much more complicated! Even if you do join back, keep aside the mommy guilt and book mark this post because we are sharing 10 breastfeeding tips for working mothers.
While maternity leave certainly helps, transitioning back to a work routine still has its challenges. How will I continue to keep up my supply? How will my baby adapt to the change? Am I a terrible mother?
The WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months after the baby is born. If possible, it is recommended that you continue breastfeeding up to at least two years and beyond. Most Moms aim to complete at least a year of breastfeeding, and joining work in the middle of this year is what causes all the confusion.
But it doesn’t have to be so hard! While breastfeeding as a working mother needs some extra effort, you can certainly make it work, and once you fall into the routine, it gets easier. Here are a few tips to ensure that your baby is not deprived of precious Mommy milk while you get back to work.
1. Talk to your employer.
The first and foremost thing to do when you decide to go back to work is to talk to your employer. Find out the breastfeeding policies of your organization, regarding timings and a place for lactation. You can also ask for flexi-timings, where you can work from home a few days a week, or maybe even entirely from home for a few more months. Let your boss and team know that you’re going to be taking 15-20 minute breaks every 3-4 hours, every day for some time, and that this is non-negotiable.
2. Find a nearby day care centre.
There are a few ways to go about the ‘breastfeeding while working’ thing. One is obviously pumping milk at work and taking it home to baby. Other options are where someone brings the baby to you at work, or you go to the baby at day care. Someone bringing the baby to you is ideal, but not always practical. On the other hand, if you can find a day care centre that’s close by, you can use your breaks to go and feed your baby directly – so you can completely let go of pumping.
3. Get a good pump.
A good pump is every working cum breastfeeding mother’s best friend. This is not something to skimp on, because it can make a world of difference in your productivity and stress levels. Get a double pump that’ll pump both breasts at once, so you save time. It should be able to work on batteries, in case you can’t find a plug or there’s no power. A pump that works noiselessly is a bonus. Make sure to get a bag to carry all the pump accessories too.
4. Introduce your baby to the bottle.
If your baby has been exclusively breast fed, it’s a good idea to introduce the bottle well in advance. However, make sure you cross the 8 weeks mark to avoid nipple confusion. Pump and feed your baby with the bottle a few times in advance so it’s not a shock when she has to feed from the bottle for many times at a stretch during the course of the day.
5. Look for pumping spots.
You shouldn’t have to pump in a grimy bathroom. Many employers are now waking up to this truth and have designated spots for new Moms to nurse their babies or pump, so find out where they are in advance. If such rooms are not available, you may have to look for other unfrequented rooms or areas. The last thing you want to do when you’re all engorged and ready to pump is to run from room to room looking for the right place!
6. Dress right.
You’re going to need a wardrobe makeover now that you’re going to be pumping multiple times a day every day. Avoid closed neck dresses or tops unless you want to undress completely for every pumping session! Go for wrap dresses, cowl neck tops or button down shirts for easy access. Don’t forget pumping bras that make the job much easier. Keep a full set of clothing at work in case of a mess up.
7. Take care of your diet.
Going back to work while breastfeeding is going to be a big change and being separated from your baby is going to add to the stress. Make sure your body is equipped to deal with this big change by nourishing it properly. Eat foods that help increase breast milk supply, along with a diet that’s rich in whole grains, protein and fresh fruits and vegetables.
8. Gather all your supplies.
Make sure you’re well prepared so your pumping schedule runs smoothly daily. Carry your baby’s photo to help with milk let-down. Be sure to carry extra towels and breast pads to deal with unexpected spills or leaks. It’s also a good idea to buy an extra set of everything, from bottles to pump parts.
These are some of the breastfeeding tips for working mothers. This post is a part of series I am writing for World Breastfeeding Week. This post was originally published in Quint Fit. You can read the rest of the post here.