Working and breastfeeding are not mutually exclusive. In the days of pioneers, women tended farms and took breaks to nurse babies. These days, working moms contend with long meetings, commuting or an unsympathetic boss or human resource department. Despite these things, many working women have managed to successfully nurse babies. A few breastfeeding tips can help a working mother navigate this challenging territory.
Talk With Your Boss
The best-laid plans may meet their match in your boss. Set aside time to meet with your boss and, if necessary, your human resources manager to figure out accommodations for working mothers who nurse babies. Ask about flexible scheduling or telecommuting options. If you plan to return to work full time, discuss the availability of a clean and private space for pumping as well as a place where you can potentially store the milk. You may also need to discuss scheduled breaks throughout the day that give you time to pump. If you feel under pressure regarding time, you can buy or rent electric pumps that empty both sides simultaneously, taking about 15 to 20 minutes total to finish the process. Expressing by hand or with a pump that is less efficient will take about 20 to 30 minutes.
Prepare the Caregiver
Select a caregiver who values breastfeeding, or educate your prospective caregiver. Express your appreciation for the person helping to continue your process of breastfeeding your baby. Briefly share the benefits of nursing babies, including a healthy immune system. Show the caregiver how to thaw and warm up any stored, frozen breast milk. Establish a routine for labeling and storing expressed milk. Freeze expressed milk in small quantities that allow for easy handling and quick thawing.
Breastfeed at Home
If possible, continue to nurse your baby when you return home from work. Request that your caregiver not bottle-feed your baby the last hour of the day, or give the baby only a small amount of bottle food. That way, you have a chance to bond with your baby and allow her to nurse for a full session after you return home.
In addition to the breast pump, have supplies on hand that facilitate the process of saving, storing and preparing expressed pump milk. An insulated bag and cold packs may come with the pump. If not, these items help you store the breast milk safely while at work or on the road. You need bottles and bags to store expressed milk. Labels or tape allow you to date your stored milk. If you find your breasts prone to leaking, invest in some breast pads to wear while at work.
- toddler holding and drinking milk image by NatJag from Fotolia.com