Mother’s milk is the best source of nutrition for newborns and infants during the first few months after birth. WHO and UNICEF recommend that infants should be introduced to breastfeeding within an hour of birth and continue being fed with mother’s milk exclusively up to six months of age (1) (2). Research has also shown a clear link between breastfeeding and its importance on growth and brain development in babies (3). But for office-going mothers, breastfeeding their little ones might not be as convenient as they would want it to be. Several mothers who are breastfeeding often worry about their children when the time to resume work nears. However, the end of your maternity leave shouldn’t mean an end to your child’s breastfeeding days. With the right attitude and some clever hacks, it is totally possible to juggle your mommy duties with work. Read along for some amazing breastfeeding tips for working moms :
1. Start Using The Bottle
If you know for a fact that you will be returning to work after your maternity leave is over, then you might want to start introducing your baby to the bottle soon. Try not to wait until the last minute to do this. If you knew beforehand that you would have to resume work at some point, then maybe you could get your baby to use the bottle around three to six weeks after the birth of your child. Remember, though, that you don’t have to do this all of a sudden and all the time. Do it slowly, so your child gradually gets accustomed to it. You could start with feeding your baby with a bottle once or twice a day while you continue breastfeeding at the other times.
2. Use Breast Pumps
Breast pumps are a must-have for working moms who’ve just had a baby. There are different types of breast pumps available, so get one that suits your needs. You’ve got the option of using manual ones, electric breast pumps, battery-operated breast pumps, and bulb-style pumps, to name a few. With breast pumps, you can express and store your milk in the refrigerator for your baby to use at a later time. Pumping breast milk can also help with the production of milk.
3. Explain The Situation To Your Boss In Advance
Yes, you’re returning from extended maternity leave, but the transition from maternity leave to work can’t be an overnight one. Make your boss understand that your baby is as important (if not more) as your work. You’re a great employee, but you’re also a mother — your manager will have to understand your need for flexibility, at least for the first few days post your return. You can ask to be excused during the day to feed your baby, or you could push for a more extended lunch break for a while, just until your baby learns to manage without you for the hours you can’t be around.
4. Look For Daycares Near Your Workplace
If you’re planning to get back to work after childbirth and your baby is still dependent on your breastmilk, then maybe you can look at daycares or creches that are close to your workplace. This way, you can drop by once or twice a day when you get the time during work to nurse your child. Do so only if you know that you can juggle between your workplace and the daycare center, as you do not want it to take a toll on your health. Some workplaces have on-site daycares, and this is a great option for you to try out.
5. Nursing Bras Are A Necessity!
Nursing bras don’t just help you feed your child with ease. They can also provide the necessary support that your breasts need when you’re lactating, prevent your clothes from getting wet, and provide your child with easy access and comfort while feeding. Look for nursing bras that come with leak-proof cups. These bras are a blessing for working women who often find it uncomfortable and embarrassing when their tops are stained with milk.
6. Don’t Hesitate To Ask For Help
You don’t have to take it all on yourself. Being a mother can be challenging by itself; having to work and take care of your little one can be all the more taxing. Don’t be shy or embarrassed to ask for help. If your relatives or friends offer to pitch in, go for it! If someone at home takes it on themselves to bring your baby to your workplace for breastfeeding once in a while all the better. Also, don’t overdo yourself at the household chores and when possible, split the work with your partner. This way you will get some extra time to plan and manage your schedules better.
7. Team Up With Other Mothers At Work
Staying connected with fellow workers who too are new mothers can prove to be helpful in many ways. Who else would understand and empathize with your situation better than colleagues going through the same challenge? They might have many amazing tips that come really handy for you. You can also take the initiative to make your workspace into a more breastfeeding-friendly space and having other colleagues to support you in this would make it easier to convince the management.
8. Don’t Forget To Take Care Of Yourself!
While taking care of your little one and trying to get back to the grind at work, the chances are that you have neglected yourself, so don’t forget to give yourself some tender loving care as well! Make sure you are eating all your meals on time, and it consists of a well-balanced, nutritious diet. Drink plenty of water, and don’t compromise on your sleep. Remember that you can’t possibly take care of your little one if you are sick yourself, so don’t put your health on the back burner.
Breastfeeding is an integral part of your child’s life and your journey as a mother. It is more than just a feeding need and in fact, initiates and solidifies the bonding between mother and child. You don’t have to compromise on nursing your child, nor do you have to give up on your career! With these tips, you can manage both roles perfectly. Do you have any tips to share with us? Let us know in the comments below!
- Infant And Young Child Feeding
- The Science Of Breastfeeding And Brain Development