As the omicron wave of Covid-19 pandemic ebbs and subsides, companies are preparing to reopen offices. Naturally, it is a matter of stress for new moms who are contemplating returning to work. While working from home hasn’t been a breeze for new mothers, returning to the office poses a colossal challenge, especially for breastfeeding mothers.
There is no denying that motherhood is a full-time job and on top of that, resuming your office job can be a lot to juggle. At a time like this, many new mothers find themselves at crossroads whether to give up breastfeeding or postpone resuming work. Because of the numerous benefits of breastfeeding, it is recommended to breastfeed your baby exclusively for the first six months and continue upto 2 years along with introduction of solid food as recommended by WHO. Below are some tips and suggestions as to,
How New Mothers Can Continue Breastfeeding When Returning to Work
Practice Feeding from Alternative Methods
Before you resume working from the office, it is best to start practicing feeding your baby from an alternative like a feeding cup or spoon. You should take out time to acclimatize your child with the concept of a feeding cup, so it is easier for the baby to take to the alternative. It is advisable to start alternative feeding methods at least two weeks before returning to work because most babies tend to resist or take time transitioning. Introducing your baby to a feeding cup or spoon can seem like a daunting task at first but with consistent efforts, the baby will get into the habit.
Also, Read: Breastfeeding as a Method of Contraception
New mothers should begin expressing breastmilk so that their childcare provider can feed their baby while they are at work and the mothers should express 3 hourly when at work and that milk can be consumed by the baby in her absence at home. Just as breastfeeding is a skill perfected with time, expressing requires some practice as well. The expressed breast milk can be kept upto 4-5 hours at room temperature 27 degree celcius and fridge upto 24 hours. Direct heating of breastmilk is not permitted as it spoils the milk, use double boiler method of heating when needed.
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Invest in a Good Quality Breast Pump
Before new moms rejoin their work, they should buy a good-quality breast pump to express breast milk. Breastfeeding can help prevent diseases like breast cancer and cervical cancer as well as protect the baby against infections so its advised to continue breastfeeding and giving expressed breastmilk to babies. A breastpump can help mother to maintain the breast milk supply and relieve her of engorgement when she is at work. You can collect and store the expressed breastmilk in bottle that can be later fed with a feeding cup or spoon.
Find a Trustworthy Childcare Provider
New moms can alleviate their stress by entrusting the baby to a reliable childcare provider before returning to work. Childcare provider should be hired 15 days to 1 month prior to mother’s joining back to work. Apart from this, one should also conduct a practice session to allow the baby to get comfortable with the childcare provider in your absence. Lastly, be confident in your chosen provider to keep stress at bay while at work.
Also, Read: Myths About Breastfeeding
Take Time for Destressing Activities
The stress of resuming work and being away from the baby can be a lot to cope with. But working moms should not let separation anxiety or working mom guilt get the better of them. Practicing yoga, exercises or mindfulness can help relax the body and mind. While at home, a brisk walk with the baby in a stroller or even alone can also prove beneficial in lowering the stress. It is wise to ask for help if you’re feeling overwhelmed instead of combating the stress alone. Working moms should not ignore their mental health while juggling between work and the baby.
Going back to work and trying to fulfill the roles of an employee and a mother can be stressful. Furthermore, being separated from the baby can cause new moms to feel more stressed and guilty. However, continuing to breastfeed the baby can help mothers preserve the bond with their baby and cope better upon returning to work. Instead of feeling overwhelmed about returning to work, breastfeeding mothers should follow the above suggestions and try to come up with a schedule or plan to create a healthy work-life balance.
Also, Read: Breastfeeding Tips for New Mothers
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