The thought of going back to work when you have a little baby can be very stressful for a mom. There are so many things to consider the main two are: who will look after your baby while you are at work and how can I keep breastfeeding when I am away?
We chatted to Carey Haupt a lactation consultant about ways to balance work and breast feeding. Here are some tips she shared with us.
Tip 1: Talk to the HR department of your employer before you go on maternity leave. Ask them for the breastfeeding or expressing policy for mothers. The policy should be inline with The South African Code of Good Practice on the Protection of Employees during Pregnancy and after the Birth of a Child which forms part of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (NO. 75 of 1997). Give them time to be able to find a safe, hygienic space for you to express your milk in. You can also give them some information around the benefits of assisting you to continue to breast feed once you are back in the office. Explain to them that by having an expressing room and encouraging your breastfeeding mothers to express for 30 minutes, twice a day it can help to improve your productivity in the following ways
Healthier for baby
When a baby is healthy, mom can focus on work. A healthy baby is what we all want. Breast milk has many benefits for baby and mom. One of the best-known benefits is the improved health for the baby. Breast milk provides the baby with added immunity from the mother’s immune system and it is much more easily absorbed than formula.
Reduction of medical cost
Babies that are fed breast milk have reduced risk of: diarrhea, respiratory tract infection, ear infections, constipation, asthma, and allergy (to name the most common). This will reduce the need for a mother to take time off work to visit a doctor or hospital if needed. When a baby is sick, and the mother returns to work she may be worried about her baby and less productive.
With less need to take baby to the doctor or clinic, you mother will be at work more. There will be less need for staying at home to care for her sick infant and less need for family responsibility leave.
Better staff retention
If a mother knows that her company is willing to invest in her and her families family’s well-being by providing a safe, hygienic and comfortable space where she has the time needed to express her breast milk for her infant, she will be more willing to invest back into the company.
Staff satisfaction and loyalty
If a company can show that your company cares and puts the needs of women who are looking after their children as a priority, staff start to see their value and become start to promote your companies’ brand. Mother will not want to leave a company that has supported them and their families.
Tip2: Get a good quality Double electric breast pump.
You will need a fast and efficient breast pump. When you are at work you will need to be able to set up your pump (washing hands) pump and clean your pumping area in 30 minutes. Make sure that the pump you are using will be strong enough to pump quickly and that the motor will be able to handle pumping often. A double electric pump like the Ameda Finesse is an ideal example. The finesse is a double electric pump that has hospital grade technology. This means that the motor is strong and can be uses for exclusive pumpers. The pump’s motor also has a 2-year warranty.
Tip 3: Build a stash
You only need to start building a breast milk stash about 2 weeks before you go back to work. You can store your milk in Breast milk storage bags or feeding bottles. With the Ameda Store ‘n Pour bags (Link: https://www.mybreastpump.co.za/product/store-pour-milk-bags-20pc) you can pump directly into the bag, saving you time and the need to clean less. While you are still direct feeding your baby the amount of milk that you express will be less than when you skip a feed. Do not panic in the beginning when you get half feeds from expressing. Remember this is extra milk that you body is starting to make. Once you start skipping direct feeds and pumping the volume per pump will increase. Remember to date the milk so that you use the older milk first.
Tip 4: Get your mind onto pumping and your baby
We know that stress and worry are things that inhibit your let down (when your milk starts to flow) so move your mind to happier thoughts like that of your baby. Even better have a video or picture of your baby so that you can focus on your baby. Your mind is amazing because you focus on your baby your mind will tell you breasts to make more milk.
Tip 5: Use heat and massage to wake your breast up.
Your breast responds positively to heat and message. This is called hands on pumping and is recommend to get the maximum volume of milk expressed. Before you start pumping apply heat in the form of a bean bag or warm water in a bottle and massage your breasts from the base towards the nipple. Use your pump and keep a few minutes for heat and massage after you have pumped, and hand express the last few drops of milk out.
Tip 6: Plan how you are going to store your milk.
Breast milk should be stored in a fridge or freezer as soon as possible after it has been expressed. This just makes sure that you can keep it for longer. If your office does not have a fridge that you can use, use a good quality cooler bag with ice pack. Milk can stay fresh out of the fridge (25 degrees centigrade for about 8 hours) but then it needs to be consumed.
Tip 7: Direct feed as often as possible
When you are with your baby try to direct feed as often as possible. This will cut down on how much milk you need to express and let the two of you bond and connect after being apart.
Ameda has different products that can help you with getting back to work while keeping up your milk supply. Have a look on our website www.mybreastpump.co.za for more information and products.