*This is a guest post
Most mothers get a maternity leave that is long enough to allow for proper nursing. For others though, financial or personal choices warrant them to go back to work as soon as they deliver. If you are in such a situation, don’t you worry; breastfeeding after going back to work does not have to be a hassle. The following are 6 tips you can use to ease the nursing process and make your life a lot less complicated.
Analyze your nursing status
If you return to work when your little one is just a few weeks old, you are bound to feel as though your baby is not well breastfed yet. Also, you will need to keep up with the frequent milk supply from your boobs; you may need to pump milk twice, thrice or even four times while at work. This is of prime importance because your baby is not yet old enough to feed on solids, therefore, breastfeeding has to be well established.
Get a high quality breast pump
If you return to work while breastfeeding, you will need to pump or hand-press frequently throughout the day or else you will be super uncomfortable as a result of being too full. However, after a few months you will get used to it and be in a position to work all day without the need to pump or discomfort.
Breast pumps come in handy for moms who go back to work at a time when the baby is exclusively breastfed (when the baby is not old enough to consume solid food). Such moms need to invest in a high quality electric breast pump that can pump the two boobs at the same time (it saves on time every time you pump breast milk). Manual pumps are super affordable but a double, electric pump will be more convenient than a single pump.
Know your rights as a breastfeeding mother in the workplace
To ensure that you are productive at work while breastfeeding, you may need to ask your boss to allow you some time for you pump milk. If your boss is not willing to give you some break time to express milk, then you will have to fight for your rights. Legally, you should be allowed some time to pump milk while working. Here are the laws surrounding both the US and the UK regarding lactating mothers in the workplace.
For USA: An amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 allows any lactating employee the right to a realistic amount of time to pump milk for the baby’s first year; it also advocates for a mom’s right to a private place to express milk. This private place should not be a bathroom. The only downside to this law is that it only applies at organizations with 50 or more employees and that these breaks are unpaid.
For UK: The UK has also taken a positive stance on breastfeeding in the workplace with a 14 page document from 2013, called the Accommodating Breastfeeding In The Workplace, that was enacted by the ACAS. This document describes UK law and proper practices regarding lactating mothers in the workplace.
The highlight of this document states that: “The law requires an employer to provide somewhere for a breastfeeding employee to rest and this includes being able to lie down.”
Furthermore, the law does not require employers to give paid breastfeeding breaks or to create facilities for breastfeeding, but instead the lactating employee has the right to ask for a safe and private area to do so comfortably.
All in all, both the UK and USA have very similar laws that allow for unpaid breaks for lactating mothers, which is a nice foundation that can and should definitely be improved in the future.
Remember to weigh all your options after maternity leave and choose the one that best fits your needs and demands.
Make use of shortcuts
All working moms with toddlers at home have very tight schedules; meaning you do not have much free time to assemble the breast pump parts, and clean them over the sink. For this reason, it is advisable for working moms to purchase breast milk pump and save storage bags. These storage bags can be attached directly while pumping and easily detached afterwards for storage. These bags have dual seams and seals to make certain that the milk is safe for the baby’s consumption.
You could also purchase special breast pump wipes to clean up after pumping; and later you could rinse the pump fast. These shortcuts prevent you from using long chunks of time during the process of pumping.
Schedule nursing sessions into your daily routine
Some days are definitely busier than others. However, that is not a reason to miss a pumping session. This can cause you to experience some serious engorgement in your boobs and eventually a significant reduction in your milk supply. You could set an alarm or subscribe to a calendar program to ensure that you stick to your schedule.
Buy yourself a hands-free breastfeeding bra
An efficient breast pump should come with a hands-free kit. However, if it does not come with one, you will need to buy a hands-free nursing bra; it is super convenient as it allows you to multitask as you pump breastmilk. If your office is private you could express milk as you work.
Consider using nursing pads
Breastfeeding comes with some embarrassing moments; you may be in a conference meeting and suddenly you realize that there is a wet spot on your shirt. Milk leakages are quite common especially when your breasts are full. To avoid this, you will have to purchase some breastfeeding pads that will absorb any leaking milk.
Before getting used to pumping milk while at work, you may experience some challenges such as people walking in on you but all you need to do is hang in there; all will be well over time.
Are you planning to continue breastfeeding whilst working? Or perhaps you have some tips to share on continuing nursing while working? Do share in a comment below.
Author bio: Natalie Michele runs a maternity blog Maternity At Home and is a pregnancy consultant that informs and assists first-time pregnant women with their transition to motherhood. You can find her on Twitter.