Pregnancy, childbirth and then returning to work – a new mother’s life is never easy. The big question most mothers face is whether to leave her baby home with a caregiver, or take her to the office creche.
Whether your baby stays home or goes to work with you, breastfeeding remains an integral part of her growth and development.
On #WorldBreastfeeding week, we asked how can working life be made easier for a breastfeeding mother. We spoke to experts, doctors, and mothers on parenting platform Babychakra.
1. If taking the baby to office, carry a sanitised breast pump for breastfeeding. You need four nursing breaks. This includes the lunch and coffee break.
2. Check if you have a private area in office to breastfeed at work. Try not to feed the baby in the washroom.
3. Get special undergarments that hold a breast pump.
4. Try feeding the baby before leaving for work. You can carry breast milk to work in breast milk storage bags. These sterilised bags make sure the temperature of the milk doesn’t change.
5. Remember this order for storing milk. Express your breast milk, store it in the breast pump, and then refrigerate it.
6. Avoid baby bottles. Instead use paladai containers, which can be used to give stored milk after warming. Baby bottles can be a source of infection.
7. For babies staying at home with a caregiver, build a stock of breastmilk in the refrigerator. Make sure you express your breastmilk 10-15 days before joining work.
8. Ask your husband or the babysitter to give your baby the expressed milk before you start work as a trial. See if the baby accepts the change.
9. Talk to the HR Department in office. You will need a 15-20-minute break every 3 hours.
10. Invest in a good breast pump. Double breast pumps are more efficient.
11. While at work, to express milk easily, have a photo or a blanket of your baby. It will help your hormones and emotions.
12. Don’t go crazy about sanitising everything. A normal hand sanitiser is good enough. For the baby’s immunity, one needs some natural bacteria.
13. Drink lots of fluids to stay hydrated.
14. The best bonding between a mother and baby is during breastfeeding. A baby may face insecurities or separation anxiety when her mother goes to work. Sleep close to the baby at night.
15. Sometimes, breast milk isn’t enough. It’s okay to use formula milk.
16. When the breasts get sore – hot fermentation with a towel or an olive oil massage helps. Drink lots of warm fluids. It helps soften the breast tissues.
Thanks to Babychakra’s experts Sonal Shivali, Certified Pregnancy and Lactation Counselor, Dr Mahima Bakshi, a woman and child wellness consultant and author of Birthing Naturally, Dr. Manisha Gogri, a certified lactation consultant.
(Inputs from Kanika Mittal)