Breast Milk and the Working Mom

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For better or worse, working mothers are a fact of life in today’s world. Most families struggle to get by on two incomes, and the thought of losing an income for four to five years until children are school aged is simply out of the question. Other mothers are raising their babies without the help and support of a partner, and need to work in order to support themselves and their babies. Still other women have careers which they don’t want to give up. None of these things makes a working mother any better or worse than a stay at home mother. Healthy, happy children have been raised and will continue to be raised by both.

One of the areas that often presents a significant challenge to working mothers is breast feeding. While no one these days would suggest that bottle feeding is better for mothers or babies than breast feeding, there is an argument to be made that it is more convenient, especially for working mothers. However, if you are a working mom who wants to breast feed your baby, there are several things you can do:

  • First, take as much time off after having your baby as your economic situation will allow. These first few weeks with your baby are precious times, and you won’t get a second opportunity to enjoy them. During this time, of course, you should breast feed your baby exclusively. The longer you can do this, the better, as it will accustom baby to feeding this way.
  • Discuss breast feeding and your needs with your employer. If your employer offers child care on site, this may not pose much of a problem. Many employers today are willing to work around your needs. Depending on the facilities your employer has, you may need to be creative about when and where to breast feed. IF there is no place to breast feed privately, consider talking with your employer about providing such a place.
  • If you do not have day care on site, try to choose a place near your work place, so you can use lunch and other breaks to feed baby.
  • Of course, in most cases, you will not be able to exclusively breast feed your baby while you are working. Start pumping breast milk at least a week before you return to work. This is a perfect time to let dad do some of the feeding, and to help baby become accustomed to the bottle.
  • Try to arrange breast feeding times so that baby feeds shortly before you leave for work and/or shortly after you return from work. This is not only good for baby, but is emotionally good for you as well, helping you to feel bonded and connected with your baby while you have to be away.

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This entry was posted in Pregnancy.


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