9 breastfeeding tips for working women after maternity leave
There is no other form of nutrition healthier than breastmilk for a newborn. But a lot of women may be caught in the dilemma of how to continue their breastfeeding journey upon returning to work after maternity leave. Following some breastfeeding tips for working women can help them ease their woes.
The World Health Organization recommends that a newborn should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life, followed by continued breastfeeding along with complementary feeding for up to 2 years of age. Having a maternity leave of 6 months doesn’t mean that you will have to wean off the baby from breastmilk and introduce formula as soon as you join work. Mothers can continue to breastfeed their little ones as long as they wish to.
Is breastfeeding still beneficial after 6 months?
Yes, it is advisable to continue breastfeeding even after 6 months if you can, due to following benefits:
* Breastmilk consumption protects the baby from infections and illnesses- diabetes, asthma, obesity, ear infections etc. and hence reduces the cost of hospitalisation also.
* It provides the baby with exactly what is needed to grow and thrive. It changes over time to keep up with baby’s changing needs including keeping the baby hydrated.
* Breastmilk maintains bonding easily between mother and the baby. It even helps mothers stay closely bonded to their babies even after going back to work.
* It helps mothers to strike a work home balance and be at work instead of taking time off to care for a sick baby.
All mothers are anxious as how the baby will react on the separation during work hours, so continued breastfeeding and expressing milk keeps their worries at bay and prevents depression.
Breastfeeding tips for working women
“How do I breastfeed after returning to work?” “How can I make my work back easier after maternity leave?” If these questions are making you bite your nails, here are some breastfeeding tips to ease your journey back to work.
1. Consult an expert
It is important that in addition to antenatal counselling on breastfeeding, mothers visit a lactation counselor a few days before joining work to understand how to start introducing complementary foods and continue breastfeeding.
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2. Check for flexibility
Check your feasibility of joining work and try to choose for options like work from home if available, or see if you would like to extend your maternity leave by utilising other leaves.
3. Seek support
Arrange for caretakers or family support to focus on the baby. The support should be trustworthy and familiar to you, like if you’re friends have given a reference or have taken services from her. Make sure the care provider supports your decision of continuing breastfeeding and feeds the milk expressed by you to the baby. Having a supportive care provider also boosts your confidence helping you to maintain the milk supply. Also, many organizations provide crèche facility so you can also choose to take your baby and the caretaker along with you.
4. Invest in supportive tools
This is one of the modern-day breastfeeding tips for working women. Buy a good breast pump or rent one and express milk before leaving for work, during the work hours and at night before sleeping. Use correct flange size and settings in the pump to avoid breast tissue damage.
5. Learn how to store breastmilk
The expressed milk can be stored in milk storage bags or sterilized steel or glass containers. Label the date. At a room temperature of 26 degree Celsius, the milk can be kept for 4 hours whereas in the fridge (4 degree Celsius), it can be stored upto 24 hours. If you freeze it in -18 degree Celsius, it can be stored up to 6 months.
6. Know how to use stored breastmilk
Always use the milk which was stored first and thaw the milk before using. Use thawed milk within one hour of thawing and do not refreeze thawed milk. You can use this milk in various recipes of complementary foods for the newborn.
7. Practice will help
Take a trial run a week before you actually join the work. Before leaving for the office, pump the milk so that you get good amount in the pump and then nurse the baby as baby will get hind milk and will be full for long.
8. Connect with fellow mothers
Join breastfeeding support groups and connect with other like-minded mothers to boost your morale and have healthy discussions and exchange of ideas.
9. Continue night feeds
Make sure you continue night feeds even if you and baby are half asleep to continue bonding with your little one.
How to deal with leaking breast at work?
This can be unnerving for many news mothers. But it’s not something that can’t be dealt with. These tips will make life easier for you if you are worried about breast leakage at work:
* Inform your organisation before joining back about requirement of space for pumping or breastfeeding your newborn.
* To deal with leaky breasts, you can wear breast pads and change them frequently.
* Also wearing dark clothes and keeping and extra pair of shirt will help you in dealing with leaking.
With these breastfeeding tips for working women, it is possible to beat the blues and get back to work while continuing to give your milk to the little one. It would be best to contact a breastfeeding expert to solve all your queries.