It is important to feel empowered to nurse your child as a new mother. Nursing them in whatever way you think is best for them. For most working mothers, here comes the biggest challenge. That is, to figure out how to transition back to work while breastfeeding their little ones. Should you start looking for a creche service, or should you instead leave your baby home with a caretaker? The confusion is real.
In India, working mums are allowed 26 weeks of maternity leave as stated by Indian Maternity Laws. However, most workplaces do not have the appropriate facilities that cater to the needs of breastfeeding mothers. This makes it even more difficult for a new mum to develop a breastfeeding schedule and balance her work life. So how can this transition be made easier?
Tips To Manage Work While Breastfeeding
Nursing your baby is a beautiful way to deepen that special mother-child bond. But managing your professional life while still breastfeeding your newborn is undoubtedly a tough balancing act. We understand that it’s incredibly challenging, but you can still transition smoothly into this new way of life with some assistance.
The Planning & Preparation Phase To Work While Breastfeeding
- Do not be afraid to ask for help. This may involve sharing something with your friends, seeking family support or even taking medical advice from your doctor. Please reach out and ask.
- Set some time apart for yourself. Spending some ‘Me time’ is a nice way to ease into motherhood and still feel like yourself. Perhaps right after your baby falls asleep or a few hours before they wake up, take some time to relax. Listen to music, read a book or do things you enjoy the most.
- Ease into your new routine. About one month before you return to work, start taking small steps toward figuring out how you would like to manage breastfeeding at work. You can begin by identifying the frequency and time of the day you need to feed your baby. This will help you plan a proper breastfeeding schedule. If required, you can also have an open dialogue with your employer and seek a flexible work schedule well suited to your nursing needs.
- Begin your research on nursing essentials. This will include breastfeeding pumps, breast pads, milk bottles, ice packs, etc., to help you keep up with breastfeeding at work without any hassles. Find out about nursing facilities at your workspace to ensure a safe space, a refrigerator, and everything you need to pump and store milk.
Back To Work Post Maternity Leave
- To begin with, try starting your first working day back at the office around the middle of the week. The first couple of days will possibly be the hardest for your baby and you. So, you can ease into the new routine for a few days. And then use the weekend to relax and figure out if anything needs to be changed.
- Help your baby get comfortable with drinking milk from a bottle. It is best to have a family member or someone else do this since your baby needs to get used to feeding while you are at work.
- Try to do a practice session of this new feeding routine before your actual workday starts. If you have a caretaker who tends to your baby, ask them to bottle feed your baby using the milk you have stored. This will help your baby ease into their nursing session while you are away at work and help them become independent.
- Keep a schedule for breastfeeding at work. You may experience milk letdowns and engorgements at first. Still, once you ensure that you express milk, say, every 3 to 4 hours, the engorgement gradually reduces. Ensure that you have an ice pack to carry the expressed milk back home safely.
According to national data, only 55% of women in India breastfeed till the six-month mark. While there could be many reasons for this, it is rare for working women to find supportive employees who make this transition easy on them. But some companies are doing a great job supporting working mothers and their post-maternity journey. Such companies have a Childcare facility on-campus that provides care for babies as young as 3 months old. This also works perfectly for nursing mothers who can breastfeed their children easily, even during a working day.
While it may not be possible for all companies to take such measures, even something as simple as offering a flexible work schedule can do wonders to ease a nursing mothers transition back to work.