The evolution in time certainly brings with it an evolution in lifestyle and these changes can be experienced on the small everyday routine levels to larger spectrums as well. One of the many changes that are very evident these days is the change that has come about in motherhood as women have gone beyond the household. While this has been an advantage especially with the financial support and exposure, it also has been a challenge for mothers to maintain a balance in both their worlds, especially for the new mothers.
A major struggle that most new working mothers come across these days is that of breastfeeding. This has especially been a concern because of the beneficial importance around breastfeeding that has largely been stressed upon. It is widely accepted that breast milk provides the ideal nutrition for infants and is also largely significant for mothers to have better health.
We no longer live in the times when women were mostly stay-at-home mothers that did not make feeding complicated. However, now almost all the young mothers are working professionals and face issues and concerns about breastfeeding their child while fulfilling the demands of their workplace. While it may seem a challenge to the new mothers who are already overwhelmed with several emotions at a time, experts say that mothers need not worry about choosing between one and can manage both these activities if they think it through and prepare themselves.
One key aspect that new working moms should keep in mind is that they should not wait until they get back to work to think about combining breastfeeding and working, experts say. Most of these preparatory steps can be started during the initial weeks of the baby being born which is the time when a feeding schedule is being set up and the mother’s milk supply is being established. If some tips are followed before getting back at work itself, then the mother neither needs to compromise the child’s nursing, nor her career.
Some of the smart tips that a mother can keep in mind to manage with breastfeeding and her profession are as follows:
- It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to prepare oneself beforehand for a hassle-free routine and adaptation. Experts suggest that as early as one month before the mother is planning to return to work, she can start preparing herself as well as the child. This includes the schedule, childcare arrangements, your milk supply, etc.
- Before you join back your work, prepare a breastfeeding schedule in accordance with your office routine. Once you are back, you can continue with the milk supply on the same schedule. This strategizing of breastfeeding sessions will neither create any problem for the baby nor for the mother in extracting her milk.
- It is always a good idea to speak to your employer about your plans before you return to work. If required, you can also ask your doctor to write a letter to your head stating the necessary requirement of breastfeeding for the mother as well as the baby. The doctor can also specify certain needs that you will have for breastfeeding like a clean environment, privacy during that time, adjustments with the time, etc.
- It is also advised for young mothers to be aware of planning their pumping time. While pumping is not denied, experts suggest breastfeeding the child directly is an irreplaceable activity. Excessive pumping can also sometimes have negative impacts on the mother. In consultation with your doctor, you should know how many times it is suggested to pump your milk supply. Divide that through your working day beforehand and accordingly set up your meetings at the office and plan other engagements. Let your employers and team be informed about the same in prior. Also, maintain your pumping schedule as well for a better functioning but be flexible about the space you get depending on your office space.
- Have a co-worker with you who can help you through all these things and aid in better management. If you have a colleague who has already been through a similar experience earlier than keep her close.
- Make sure that you do not compromise on the quality of the equipment so that it is healthier as well as easier. Have a good, strong pump. There are also pumping bras with padding available which work well for many. Know what suits you best before you join back work and begin.
- Also, take note of your attire. Make sure it is accessible, feasible and facilitates pumping or breastfeeding.
- Before you join work you can also start your baby on a bottle but that also should not be too soon and should be in consultation with your doctor.
- Babies naturally associate nursing with mothers, so it is a good idea to develop a habit of having your partner or the caretaker with you and also let them provide the first few bottles to the baby. Also, it is suggested to not wait for the baby to be overtly hungry before he/she is fed.
- It is also absolutely necessary for young mothers to stay in constant contact with their doctors and make sure to not compromise on their health under any work pressure. Staying relaxed and healthy yourself is the key to enjoy a stress-free process and transition.
Dr. LEENA.CD, Consultant – Obstetrics and Gynecology, Columbia Asia Hospital Hebbal