Breastfeeding and the Working Mum
Published on: May 21, 2014
One working mother shares her top tips to continue breastfeeding long after your maternity leave is over.
By Rebecca Buckingham
When I was pregnant with my daughter I didn’t give much thought to how I was going to feed her once I returned to work. I knew I’d try breastfeeding when she was first born but fully expected and accepted she would be on bottles of formula at the end of my maternity leave.
If you are a mum or mum-to-be, who will also be returning to work before you are ready to stop breastfeeding here are some tips that I found helped to get me through the difficult times.
1. Organization is key
If you are expressing at work you may have limited time and will need to ensure you have everything readily at hand. I found sterilizing empty bottles the night before avoided a mad rush in the morning.
At work, I kept everything in a small bag that was easy to grab and take to where I was expressing. I was worried about keeping everything sterile but investing in a microwave sterilizer made life easier. After expressing, I could have my pump sterilized in 90 seconds.
2. Find a routine that works for you before returning to work
My body was already into its pumping routine a few weeks before I started back at work. I did this so I knew I could fit the pumping sessions into my workday and also so that my supply was set into the routine, which made the transition to work-expressing smoother.
3. Eat a healthy diet
Expressing milk takes time out of your day. I used my break times and lunchtimes to pump and if I wasn’t careful this could result in not having time to eat. But in order to be able to produce breast milk you have to eat properly and keep hydrated.
I kept a bottle of water with me throughout the day and had plenty of healthy snacks in my bag so that if time was short I could still eat.
4. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself
There were days when I found my supply wasn’t as abundant as usual. It could be affected by work stress or wherever I was in my cycle. On those days, I found pumping my usual amount difficult which was upsetting and if I allowed myself to dwell on it, it would become a vicious cycle.
On those days, I would try not to worry and if necessary I was prepared to give my daughter an extra bottle of formula milk until my supply returned to normal. Within a few days, my supply always returned and we’d slip back into our usual routine.
Photo by Senior Airman Tenley Long
About the Author
Rebecca was born in the UK and began her teaching career in East London. Deciding with her husband to move to Bangkok over 10 years ago, she has been teaching at Bangkok International Preparatory and Secondary School for 8 years, while being a mother to her daughter, Hannah. Rebecca enjoys running and singing; she recently joined a great choir called Zing, which is a little like a glee club for adults.
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