Returning to work as a Mama doesn’t have to mean putting an end to your breastfeeding journey (if you and bub aren't ready). Many mamas are able to return to work and maintain their milk supply and continue breastfeeding their bubs successfully. There are many different ways to continue your breastfeeding journey while working, if you choose to. Finding what works for you and your baby will depend on your goals, arrangements for bub while you are at work and your workplace. Some mamas whose babies are in care near their workplace or can be bought to them during the day will be able to continue to breastfeed without much change, but for some, it's about creating a new routine that works for you.
Today let’s discuss some tips and tricks on making the transition to breastfeeding as a working Mama as smooth as possible.
Breastfeeding options –
There are a few different options when it comes to feeding as a working Mama. While some might be lucky enough to continue to breastfeed their baby while at work, there are options for Mama’s who are unable to. These options include:
- Feeding your baby in the morning before work and at night before bed (this depends on how old your baby is and what nutritional needs they require at their age)
- Bottle-feeding with expressed breast milk during the day while in care and breastfeeding in the morning and at night
- Bottle-feeding with infant formula during the day while in care and breastfeeding in the morning and at night
- Bottle- feeding expressed breast milk while in care and in the morning and night
For Mama’s who are planning on expressing for their babies while they are in care, expressing while at work will be an important part of maintaining your milk supply. It's important to remember your body produces breastmilk based on the demand of your baby (or pump!) If you are someone that has breakfast at work in the morning, be sure to add our Franjoskitchen muesli in, for that beautiful milk making support.
Expressing breastmilk while at work –
Expressing breastmilk while at work can sometimes be a little more challenging than walking around topless at home attached to your pump while cooking dinner or kicking back and watching Netflix (multitasking goddess)! At first it may feel a bit strange having to express while in the workplace but here are some ideas to help with making the transition to life as a working Mama easier.
- Make sure your workplace has a space that is clean and private and somewhere you feel super comfortable to kick back and express or feed in (not in the toilet)
- Set timers to express every 3-4 hours during the day or at times your baby would normally feed (sometimes the hustle and bustle of work can mean forgetting to express. By setting timers it will keep you on track with maintaining your milk supply)
- Make sure there is a clean refrigerator or freezer to store your breast milk after pumping
- Bring a cooler bag to and from work to transport your expressed breastmilk in safely
- Label your breast milk with the date and time of expressing for safe storage
- Make sure there is a power point near by where you have decided to express if you have an electric pump
- Stay well hydrated to help maintain your supply
- Make sure to pack your delicious Franjoskitchen cookies for your perfect morning snack!
Sometimes when expressing without your baby around it can be a little more difficult for the let down reflex to kick in. Try looking at images or videos of your baby while expressing to help with your let down.
Talking with your employer and knowing your rights-
Before commencing back at your work place it’s important to have a conversation with your employer about your plans to continue to breastfeed or express while at work. This is so they are aware that you will need to take time throughout the day to feed or express and so that an appropriate and private area can be arranged for you to comfortably feed or express throughout the day while you work.
As Mama’s returning to work it’s important to know that you have the law on your side. It is illegal for employers to discriminate against Mama’s who are returning to work while breastfeeding. Know your rights as a Mama and as a woman and stand up for yourself and your breastfeeding journey. If you find your needs not being met and your voice not being heard, contact the Australian Human Rights Commission or your local Fair Work Ombudsman. Discrimination against breastfeeding Mums will not be tolerated.
If you are finding the transition to life as a working and breastfeeding Mama difficult and either you or your baby is not coping well with the transition, seek advice from a professional. Contact your local child health nurse or midwife, GP, lactation consultant or try a consultation with the Australian Breastfeeding Association to help guide you on your journey. Every new stage of the breastfeeding journey comes with different challenges and this is just one of them, before you know it you and your little babe will be in a routine and you will be absolutely killing it as a working and breastfeeding Mama.
You're doing amazing mama!