Breastfeeding is a beautiful phase of the amazing journey of motherhood and every mom wants to enjoy and cherish these special moments throughout her life. Breastfeeding comes with its own share of ups and downs.
After breastfeeding your baby for the first six months, the thought of going back to work and not being able to be with the baby at home can make you emotional and would urge you to rethink your decision of going back to work. But with the right approach you can happily do justice to both the roles.
Being a Lactation Consultant by profession and a mother of three, even I had my share of ups and downs and the journey was not very easy for me. But I decided to continue breastfeeding my twins as long as they wanted. I was back to work after 6 months of maternity leave and have been blessed to still breastfeed my 22-month-old twins. It has been such a bliss!!
Thanks to the Government of India for giving women the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act 2017 to take care of the baby and continue breastfeeding for the first 3- 6 months of life without thinking twice.
All the mammas who are committed to continue breastfeeding journeys and are career oriented can strike a balance between breastfeeding and work. They can do so without the guilt of not being able to breastfeed the baby.
Here are some tips for the smooth transition:
- Start Breast Pumping a month before going back to work and start collecting a stash in your fridge.
- Ask your Employer to give you the liberty of short working hours to begin with or visit your baby in between the work if you live close by.
- Avail the facility of Crèche if available within the office premises and breastfeed the baby during the working hours.
- Read through the milk storage guidelines. Expressed breastmilk can be stored at room temperature for four hours and can be kept in the Refrigerator for 24 hours.
- A compact, handy electric breast pump that can be carried along with you to the office in the bag will make the process easier, quicker and more efficient.
- Plan ahead and hire a nanny or help to look after your baby if family members are not available. The Caregiver may be needed to train on how to maintain hygiene and cleanliness as far as feeding the baby is concerned.
- Expressed or pumped breast milk can be offered to the baby in your absence by the caregiver/nanny.
- Make sure your employer knows about your pumping schedule beforehand and gives you breaks in between work to pump and also provide a clean and hygienic place for pumping. Also check the availability of a refrigerator to store expressed breastmilk.
- You can breastfeed your baby in the morning and then pump out before you leave for work.
- After you return, breastfeed the baby first and continue night breastfeeding to maintain your breastmilk supply.
- Maintain your diet and health and continue taking your supplements.
The key is to go with the flow. Slowly and gradually your body will understand the demand of the baby and will adjust with it. Working from home in the times of lockdowns and restrictions, you may need to be at work for a good 6 to 8 hours. This can lead to having a lot of mixed feelings. Isolating yourself in a separate room a month before may help prepare the baby for the upcoming status of being with the caregiver in your absence.
This phase is new for you and also for the baby. Both of you will learn, adjust and create memories together. Breastmilk as we all know is very important for a baby, but one should not forget that a happy healthy mother is most important for the baby.
Be proud of yourself and be thankful to your amazing body, as it helps you through this blissful process and enjoy your breastfeeding journey to the fullest.
There is a reason why a baby is able to recognize her mother’s milk and is comfortable suckling from her breasts. Though we would like to say it is the emotional bond, it runs a little deeper than that. The baby is comforted by the smell of your milk which is similar to the amniotic fluid which nourished her while in the womb. The newborn is immediately relieved by the familiar taste and smell which makes it unique to you.
Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act 2017