The slogan of the 2015 World Breastfeeding Week “Breastfeeding and Work: Let’s Make it Work!” was a very accurate approach for the millions of working women around the world who seek ways to continue the beautiful bond they’ve made with their children through breastfeeding. There are many challenges women come across when trying to keep a breastfeeding relationship with their little ones. Lets knock down many of these challenges with some options that may bring some more ideas to overcome different situations:
Round 1- Keeping up with your babies’ appetite: “Pump-up” your Milk Bank
If you are pregnant or just gave birth: New moms that decide to continue working (or need to work) after their maternity leave – if you have one- you may start pumping from day 1, but you’ll only see few drops of colostrum, which is totally normal, since the size of your baby’s stomach is quite small, and only few drops of the oily substance coming out of your breast is enough. You can wait until the 2nd to 4th day, when the milks “comes in”, to also begin building your milk stash. Now, some women find it difficult to pump when needing to feed a child almost 24/7 at first. It’s quite exhausting if you’re just beginning to understand your body, your baby and breastfeeding all together. So, keep it calm and when you see an opportunity, pump. Some moms find it easy to pump while nursing their babies: one breast with the baby, the other pumping. Other moms pump before or after each nurse. There are some sleepy babies and very productive breasts, that mom finds a relief on pumping. Even if you’re pumping just an ounce per session, you can save it in the fridge, picking up little by little during the day, before you put it into the freezer. Once your freezer begins to have less frozen food and more frozen breast milk, you can sleep in peace. The earlier you begin, the more relaxed you’ll be about returning to work.
If you already have your breast milk bank: Keep track of how much your baby is drinking per day. Babies, as adults, won’t eat the same amounts everyday, but at least having an estimate of how many ounces your little bundle of joy is drinking is helpful. Try to pump that same amount to avoid getting a breast milk bankruptcy. To keep your milk supply, try to pump the same time your baby usually nurses. Some moms take advantage of the prolactin boost that happens between 12 a.m. till 6:00 a.m. to get a good pumping session.
Round 2- Surviving long nights and heavy days
This one might be a tough round at the beginning, specially if your maternity leave is very short. It may be the one that might knock you down, but women are strong and usually get through it.
Fight for your rights: Almost all countries have laws that protects breastfeeding, at least the first 6 months. Do your research and try to negotiate whether you could get to work a little late or leave earlier.
Co-sleeping: When babies and mommies are together, both of them feel happier and sleep better. If you are a healthy, non-smoking mom, you can take advantage of this strategy to get some rest and re-connect with your baby at night.
Round 3- First things, First!
Setting priorities: Nothing is more important for a mother than her baby. Family and people come before anything. If something can wait, it will. Enjoy every single second you have with your baby.
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