Working mothers can still provide their babies the benefits of breast milk while they're away at the office. Our 7 breastfeeding tips will help ensure they continue their breastfeeding journey.
You decided to breastfeed your baby because you found that the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages. Breast milk boosts your baby’s immune system and it saves you a lot of money.
However, the inevitable is about to happen. Your maternity leave is almost over and you have to be away from your child for a big chunk of time during the day. What do you do to continue breastfeeding even when you are working? Here are a few breastfeeding tips to consider:
Talk to your employer about Republic Act 10028 or Expanded Breast-Feeding Act of 2009.
According to RA 10028, "all health and non-health facilities, establishments or institutions shall establish lactation stations." This way the company can be prepared for your return after maternity leave.
A lactation station must provide adequate equipment and facilities, including a refrigerator or cooling station to store breast milk, electrical outlets to plug in the breast pump, a table, comfortable seating and a lavatory for hand-washing if one isn't located nearby.
RA 10028 also provides breastfeeding moms an additional 40-minute break for every 8-hour working period. The extra breastfeeding time doesn't mean you will be remiss in your responsibilities in the office, assure your boss this.
Purchase a quality breast pump that will be appropriate for your needs.
If you plan to pump for most of your baby’s daily feedings, then buy a pump that can give you the most benefits. A double electric pump will enable you to save time because it can pump both breasts at the same time.
There are different types of breast pumps available in the market that will suit your daily pumping needs. Choose the one that will be affordable and appropriate for your situation.
Determine your baby's daily feedings.
Count how many bottles of milk your baby drinks within the time that you are away for work. Leave a couple of extra bottles of milk so you won’t have to worry about your baby running out of supply especially when you have to work overtime.
Determine and keep your daily schedule for pumping milk.
Schedule your pumping session during the times when you have the most milk. It is recommended to express milk every three to four hours, but be flexible in case there are urgent situations at work.
Whenever possible, add an extra pumping session to your daily schedule. In this way, you will have extra milk for those times when you cannot pump because of a busy schedule.
Dress up suitably for your pumping sessions.
A buttondown shirt paired with a nursing bra or a front closure bra is the most convenient attire as you won't need to completely disrobe. But any wardrobe is acceptable, as long as you can tolerate being topless or stripped down to your underwear (if you're wearing a dress) while pumping. In this case, make sure the door has a lock!
It also helps to wear and carry around an extra pair of absorbent nursing pads in case of leaks. But it is best to bring something that you can wear over your blouse or office uniform, such as a jacket, blazer or cardigan sweater if you do leak through. Wearing printed tops instead of plain-colored ones also has the advantage of concealing leaks should they happen.
Relax while having your pumping session.
As you pump milk from your breast, do not think about work-related concerns. Instead, think about your baby and enjoy the moment. Take note that feeling relaxed helps tremendously with the let-down or milk flow.
Store expressed milk properly.
Always label the bottle of expressed milk with the date and time before storing it in a cooler bag. This will ensure that the milk pumped earlier is consumed before those that were extracted at a later time.
Based on the Guidelines of the Philippine National Committee on Human Milk Banking, breast milk can last up to six hours at 25 degrees Celsius. Inside the refrigerator, it can be stored up to 48 hours at 4 degrees Celsius.
Breast milk can even last up to two weeks when stored in the freezer compartment at -15 degrees Celsius, and up to two months in a freezer with a separate door at -18 degrees Celsius. A chest freezer at -20 degrees Celsius will give breast milk a shelf life of three months.
With proper planning for your pumping at the workplace, you don’t need to worry working mom. You can do it! Just follow these breastfeeding tips and you’ll be able to handle the role of a breastfeeding working mom.
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