Sonya has loved breastfeeding. Though there was a bit of a learning curve at first, Sonya and her baby quickly became breastfeeding pros after getting a little advice from a home visiting nurse and from her best friend.
Though Sonya is committed to breastfeeding until her baby is at least a year old, she wonders if returning to work as a breastfeeding mother is really going to be possible.
The Science: Issues around breastfeeding and work
The lactation literature confirms that mothers who return to work as breastfeeding women have challenges to overcome. Though mothers who work full-time are less likely to continue to provide exclusive breast milk, planning ahead and establishing support at work and at home can make all the difference. Breastfeeding is not only good for babies and families; it also benefits businesses:
- Mothers who return to work providing breast milk to their babies miss less work because both baby and mother are healthier.
- Supporting lactation at work reduces employee turnover, thereby lowering costs associated with training new employees.
- Continuing to breastfeed after returning to work lowers health care costs.
The Business Case for Breastfeeding gives managers both the facts and the resources to implement effective breastfeeding support programs for their company.
From age 6 weeks to age 6 months, babies will need about 30 ml (an ounce) per hour when separated from mother. Mothers returning to work will need to pump several times while away from the baby. Using a double electric pump is handy and increases milk collection.
Some babies may “reverse cycle” and take in more calories during the evening and night, while home with Mom, than they do during the work day. Some mothers are happy with this transition; other mothers report the need for a better night’s sleep. Your lactation consultant can help you sort our this shift in your baby’s eating pattern.
Get support from others: Visit a La Leche League meeting, talk to breastfeeding friends and family, and listen out for successful breastfeeding stories.
“Ah-Ha” Moment: How The HUG’s information helps this mother…
Sonya did her homework. She began pumping a few times a day after her baby ate to store up a milk supply. She made a short trip to her office to clarify with her boss how she could schedule her lunch and breaks in order to pump, made sure there was a lock on her door and confirmed she could use the break room refrigerator to store her milk. Sonya visited a good friend who had been successful in returning to work as a breastfeeding mother. She knows that both she and her baby will be healthier because of this decision to continue breastfeeding, and she feels ready for this experience as a young mother.
© HUG Your Baby 2018