Whether for financial reasons, self-fulfillment or both, many moms need to work. If you plan on working while nursing you can still accommodate your baby’s breastfeeding schedule. Here are a few tips to help new mothers successfully breastfeed and keep their job:
Keep Your Options Open: You may have had a particular career track and lifestyle for many years, but once a baby arrives, your interests, priorities and goals may very well change. If you find that having a baby has you reassessing your career path, speak with a counselor about possible career options that will give you a better work/life balance.
Consider Telecommuting: More and more moms are considering the many benefits of telecommuting. Working from home allows you the chance to earn a living while breastfeeding and caring for your child. Speak with your employer to see if telecommuting may be either a temporary or permanent option.
Let Baby Visit Your Work: If your place of employment is fairly close to your home, have your caretaker bring your baby to work at some point during the day. This will give you the chance to breastfeed and offers some extra bonding time during the day.
Find a Support Network: Work and motherhood can be a challenge but there is no need to struggle on your own. Seek out other working mothers in your community and ask how they are juggling work, breastfeeding and other duties. If you live in a small town or rural area, consider joining an online group for new moms. Check to see if there is a La Leche League chapter in your city; a wonderful support group.
Find Childcare Close to Your Workplace: While it is understandable that many new parents tend to seek out childcare services near to their home, if you are planning on working and breastfeeding, a childcare provider near your work may be the better option. Having your baby nearby would allow you to breastfeed during your lunch break and perhaps even during other breaks during the day.
Practice with Your Breast Pump: Don’t wait until your maternity leave is over to start learning how to operate your breast pump. Start 2-3 weeks ahead of your return to work so that you are familiar with how it works and how it should be cleaned and stored. This time will also help your body adjust to the breast pump as well.
Don’t Worry About Not Producing Enough Milk: Some new mothers worry unnecessarily that they are not pumping enough breast milk. It takes time for your body to acclimate to the pump. It may also be that there is not enough milk for you to pump in between feedings. Speak with your healthcare provider or lactation counselor if you have any concerns.
Freeze Small Amounts of Milk: Since thawed milk must be discarded after 24 hours, if you must leave home to work during the day, freeze your milk in several small amounts that can be quickly thawed. Once you have a better “feel” for how much your baby consumes at routine feedings you will be able to more accurately determine the proper portions to freeze and thaw.
Take Your Pump to Work: Many working moms bring their breast pumps to work. A number of pumps can be carried to work so discreetly that many of your co-workers probably won’t even know that you have it with you. Before pumping, find a private area where you can use your breast pump and store your milk.
Be Candid with Co-Workers about Breastfeeding’s Benefits: If you start to hear grumbling from coworkers be honest with them about why you are breastfeeding. Explain the many health benefits that breastfeeding provides and how breastfeeding encourages a closer mother/child bond.
Be A Considerate Coworker: Most employers and coworkers are happy for new moms and want to be supportive. But if you are taking time off from work or asking for others to fill in for you while you breastfeed or pump your milk, make sure to acknowledge your coworkers and thank them for helping you. Colleagues who have helped you will also appreciate offers from you to reciprocate when they have family emergencies or personal issues that may pull them away from the office.
Breastfeed as ften as Possible: Most mothers are able to breastfeed a minimum of 4 times daily and so can you: Once in the morning prior to getting your day started, twice after getting home from work and once before bedtime. Remember, nursing will help produce more milk than the pump, and ½ the benefit of breastfeeding comes from the skin-to-skin contact and bonding with your baby.
Remember that if mothers around the world have been able to successfully combine work and breastfeeding for thousands of years, so can you. With some forethought and support from family, friends and other new moms, you’ll be able to manage work and motherhood with ease.
About the Author
Sharon Anderson is the mother of three and also works as a marketing consultant. She enjoys creating business cards from template choices available online. She says to check out this flickr page for a photo set of great looking business cards.