This is the breast feeding week and of course everyone is taking about breast feeding. Breast feeding is close to my heart as I am very much aware of the beautiful journey me and my baby shared. He was exclusively breast fed till 6 months and we continued till he was 14 months old, post which he self weaned. I joined back work post 3 months and it is possible to breast feed even as a full time working mother. Here are my tips on how to make breastfeeding Easy for Working Mothers.
We recently learnt a lot about breastfeeding in the Informative event organised by Apollo Cradle. Dr Geeta Chadha , Senior OBgyn & Dr Vanada Sarkar, Lactation Consultant shared these information with us.
Tips on how to make breastfeeding easy for Working Mothers:
I joined back work in 3 months, and I was able to continue to exclusively breast feed my son. Here are some of my learnings as an expressing and pumping mother
- I expressed 3 times at work, and directly fed baby while at home.
- Expressed Breast milk can be stored in the refrigerator for 24 hours and can stored in the freezer for Upto 6 months
- It doesn’t loose its nutrients and it is the best option for a working mother who wants to continue breast feeding
- The cold or frozen milk should be warmed in a warm water bath or a bottle warmer and not directly on heat
- I stored the expressed milk in a refrigerator in office and used an ice bag for carrying the milk back from office.
- Ensuring hygiene of the bottles/ nipples and pump parts is a must for an expressing mother
- It helps to be relaxed while pumping. I used to watch videos of my son while pumping ?
But breastfeeding is not only a mom’s responsibility. Here is what family, workplace and Care givers can do to ensure that the breast feeding journey is smooth and beautiful for a new mom
- 1. The support of family is very crucial to make Breastfeeding Easy for Working Mothers. Support from partner, the doctor and the family is needed and there should not be undue pressure or negative comments
- 2. The support at workplace . I have heard horrid stories where in mothers have to express inside the office rest room! Please demand for a proper facility at work for expressing. Workplaces need to be supportive of a Mothers right to breastfeed
When I joined back , we had moved into a new office and it was not equipped with a nursing room. My seniors themselves asked me what I needed and I was given keys to a small room which had a sofa, and a proper electrical socket etc. Keys to that room were handed over to me for keeping with me as long as I wanted. I also used the office refrigerator to store the expressed milk and carried it back in my ice bag.
- 3. Maternity leave of 6 months needs to be made available to all Indian working women as per law.
- 4. Women are a major part of the workforce today. And companies need to realise this and make it easier for a woman to join back post giving birth. A mother needs to certain basic facilities like a pumping room and may be a little bit of flexibility for managing her pumping and feeding schedule. A little bit of understanding on the part of the co workers can go a long way to make a new mother feel secure and welcome.
- 5. Doctors & support staff should give the mother the right to breastfeed and formula feed should not be given to a new born without proper consent. First skin to skin of a new born is crucial and a newborn shouldn’t be deprived of it unless there is any medical reason to do so.
- 6. Colostrum or the 1st milk is highly beneficial for the newborn and it is a myth that it needs to be discarded
Read about the things that helped me prepare for a normal delivery
- 7. Fathers and the family need to be more involved like Helping in feeding the baby expressed milk. Burping, changing etc.
- 8. Help from a proper lactation consultant, care for the mother from family all help make the mother relaxed & happy
- 9. Normalise breastfeeding. A mother should be able to feed on demand when she wants and wherever she wants. Don’t add weird/ sexual/ propriety related factors to a natural thing like breastfeeding.
Here is what new moms can do to make breast feeding smoother :
1. A proper balanced diet is necessary
2. Protein rich foods like pulses & legumes , meat and fish. Leafy veggies, iron rich foods like pomegranate , good fats like ghee. Complex carbs like Ragi should be included in the diet
3. Proper fluid intake and restriction on too much caffeine
4. Feed baby on demand and not as per schedule
5. Do not over stress about milk production and quantity ; take it easy
6. Exclusive breast feeding till 6 months is very beneficial
Women can feed even if they have had a Caesarean section and so can Working Mothers
I also truly believe that a proper Pre Natal help ensures that the new mother has a smooth breastfeeding journey. Facilities like Apollo Cradle provide best in house consultants and proper guidance to expectant mothers. You can learn more about their initiatives here
Ante Natal care is very imp and it is good that such programs are now available in facilities like Apollo Cradle
- Eat a well balanced diet
- Do some moderate exercise and be active, unless otherwise advised
- Don’t stress or take undue pressure
- Pre Natal Yoga and Proper Breathing and Birthing practices helped me a lot during my normal delivery. But do so under a professional guidance only
- Breast feeding is the most natural thing in the world, but don’t believe the dictum that If you are unable to do it then you have failed something. It may not always be possible and that is fine .
Don’t pressurise the new mom. At times new moms may face issues like latching etc. in such cases, help from a lactation consultant and trained nurses is required. But unnecessary pressure will only make it harder
If for some medical or personal issue a mother is unable to or doesn’t want to breast feed. Please leave her alone. A new mom is already overwhelmed and she should be spared the judgement. Try and be helpful and not judgmental.
Until next time,
Lots of Love