Working mothers find themselves in a difficult situation when it comes to breastfeeding their tiny baby while they go out to work. Breastfeeding the baby can be easier for if your office has an in-house daycare or your workplace is nearby a daycare and you can take breaks for nursing the baby. However, you can also pump the breast milk, store it and your caregiver can give it to the baby.
Pumping Breast Milk
A little practice is required if you are expressing breast milk to store in a bottle and feed the baby afterwards.
Hand expressing is helpful in calming the plugged and engorged ducts. Moreover if you have cracked or sore nipples, expressing breast milk by clean hands can soothe them. Many mothers find expressing milk by hand, a tedious process as it is a time consuming task. But if you are expressing a large amount of milk daily, the process will not be a problematic.
Nursing while Working- Important points to note if you are pumping breast milk:
- Choose a correct breast pump to empty your breast efficiently and correctly
- Practice self-expressing technique side by side
- Find a private place
- Find a caregiver who supports your your commitment to breastfeed your baby
How to Pump Breast Milk?
Ideally, if you plan to pump at work, you should have a bag that contains a breast pump, (if possible buy the double ones’), frozen ice packs in a cool bag, breast pads and bottles.
Here is a stepwise list of guidelines to help you express the milk:
- Wash hands with an antiseptic soap or hand-wash and dry
- Massage your breasts a bit and apply a lukewarm towel before you express milk out of them
- Now sit erect leaning forward. It is helpful as gravity helps expressing milk
- Place your index finger and thumb in a C-shaped manner, an inch behind the areola
- Press fingers back towards your chest in a rolling manner instead of yanking or rolling. You need a little practice before you can easily squirt milk
- Express milk from each breast
- Collect milk in a clean wide-mouthed container
- The key to milk expression is the ‘let down’ of milk. The electric pump stimulates the ‘let-down reflex’ mimicking the suckling action of the baby
- There are certain things that can activate the milk let down such as looking at your baby’s photo, taking a hot bath or shower, drinking a glass of juice or water, relaxing techniques (listening to music, thinking about your baby, etc.)
Breast Milk Pumping Breaks at Work
Inform your HR department and your manager that you will need a private space and breaks to express your milk. Assure them that these breaks will not disrupt your work schedule. Also, do not spread this as a news to the entire office staff – you may have to deal with some hardliners there or you yourself may feel uncomfortable. Your manager may ask questions such as how often and how much time you would need to express breast milk, and what help or other resources you may require from the office. It would be better if you ate able to think about these questions already and have the answers prepared.
Advantages of Pumping at Work
The benefits of feeding your baby with breast milk are immense both emotional and physical – apart from providing the best nutrition to the newborn. Breast milk also helps to avoid the health risks which may be associated with formula milk. Just because you are resuming work. there is no need for your baby to miss out on the advantages that only breast milk can provide.
- You will miss work less, as chances of a breastfed baby falling sick are almost half as much for a formula fed baby
- Pumping at work will help your milk supply stimulated so that you can nurse with plenty of milk
- You will end up saving on money, to a considerable limit, as your baby continues to have breast milk in the day
- Pumping will make you feel connected to the baby even when you are apart
Apart from all these, pumping at work will make you come home to a baby who wants to nurse – snuggle in right away and nurture your baby the way no one else can.
Storing Breast Milk
Breast milk can be stored in glass or plastic feeding or storage bottles. Tighten the cap to keep it fresh. Nowadays breast milk extracting pumps are available with storage containers made of plastic. Store the filled containers in refrigerator but make sure not to fill the bottle till brim. Keep it three-quarters empty to permit expansion.
For convenience sake, store the expressed milk in amounts that you actually require for feeding. Make sure to mention the date on storage bag or bottle before keeping in the freezer. Use the oldest milk first and never mix the old and fresh milk.
You may be amazed to see the stored breast milk. The fat separates and floats on top. The milk has a bluish hue.
Do not shake the milk rather gently swirl the milk to mix fat back in it. It smells slight soapy but never sour. If it does, immediately discard it. Read more about storing breast milk here.
Is stored Breast Milk Good for the Baby?
An important point to remember is that storing destroys the natural antibodies in breast-milk. Some research suggests that the longer you store the breast milk, the greater the loss of vitamin C. Avoid freezing it unless there is no way out. Still the frozen breast-milk is better than formula ones. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) breast milk can be stored at room temperature for around six to eight hours. But it is advisable to freeze the milk immediately after expressing out. You should use the expressed stored milk within five days.
Throw the left over milk from the baby’s feeding bottle after your baby has finished feeding.
Leaving your Baby with a Caregiver
Leaving your baby with a caregiver would be much easier for you. An ideal option is to have a family member- a grandma or an aunt can be extremely reliable.
If you are hiring a maid, be careful and inform the local police station about her. After all, safety of your baby is of utmost importance.
Nowadays many mothers install spy-camera in their house in order to now as to what is happening behind their back.
But with time you have to return back to work. This is the beginning of a difficult time as you have to concentrate on your work as well as nurse the baby. Keeping in mind the immense significance of mother’s milk, it becomes all the more important for you to understand the correct way of expressing milk and storing it. Mothers do not want their infants to miss out the innumerable benefits of nursing merely they are resuming back to work. You can do a ‘trial run’ before actually resuming your work leave your baby with the care-provider or nanny and go out for a while and then express out milk in a private place. Note how your baby feels and reacts in your absence. You can feed the baby with the expressed-out milk. This trial is necessary both for you and your baby.
The early weeks of breastfeeding help you to empower yourself with the techniques of breastfeeding your baby. The tiny infant is your whole world and you cherish the time spent with the ‘joy bundle’. Follow these simple tips and enjoy your motherhood!