How to breastfeed your baby with ease at work.
Published: 01st August 2019 06:39 AM The New Indian Express
Juggling a job along with motherhood is a challenge. To be away from your baby for the first time can be stressful for a new mother and to leave them in the care of someone else, to go back to work is an equally difficult decision. One of the operational challenges that most working mothers encounter is breastfeeding. They feel that it’s difficult to continue breastfeeding when they join back work. Hence, they give up on it. However, WHO states that exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months safeguards the child from various diseases and infections. The benefits that the components of the milk entail, begin from the first moments of childbirth and continue for many years after breastfeeding ends. Over decades, research and development in the field of breastfeeding technology such as breast pumps has enabled mothers to balance motherhood with work life, in a way that the child gets round-the-clock access to breast milk. Here’s a guide to help you manage work and motherhood.
Plan before resuming your job Mothers should exclusively breastfeed when they are at home and when at work, they must plan and store enough milk for the child’s feed for the day. Mothers should practise expressing milk through breast pumps at least 2-3 weeks before going back to work. The expressed milk can be stored and given to the baby while the mother is away at work. Fathers can help in the breastfeeding process by contributing to increase maternal breastfeeding confidence and influence decisions regarding duration and weaning.
Talk to your employer Mothers often find it difficult to express milk at work as they feel uncomfortable. Therefore, it is very important that they speak to their employer for adequate breastfeeding facility to express milk at work. Most women express milk in the washrooms which is extremely unhygienic, and this milk should not be fed to the child. The place for expressing milky should be clean, hygienic and private. One can always consult their manager on work travel by providing feasible alternatives such as a tele-conference.
Breast milk at work Most breastfeeding equipment available in the market today are user-friendly, portable and noise-free. Many of them can be used both on electricity and battery. Two-phased breast pumps are also available in the market to expedite the expression process. Different contact nipple shields are also available for variable sizes. Guidance can be sought from gynaecologists for any breastfeeding problem that a working mother faces.
Storing expressed breast milk Mothers should carry storage bags to store the expressed milk and label and refrigerate it. Milk stored at room temperature (less than 25 degree C) can be used within five hours of storage while breast milk refrigerated at 4-8 degrees can be used up to 24 hours
Ideal time to express milk It is important that new-mothers should at least take two-three breaks to express milk while at work. Also, the breaks should be synchronised with the baby’s feed cycle to make it easier for both the mother and baby. When mothers return from work, they must breastfeed as much as possible. It is advisable to breastfeed lying down, to help the mother rest.
Author Dr. Preeti Gangan. Published in the The New Indian Express