As a caring mother, you probably choose to breastfeed your baby just like millions of other mothers. Your breast milk has a number of great nutrients and enzymes that help your baby grow and stay healthy, and breastfeeding has many great benefits.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for up to a year. However, in this day and age, many mothers are choosing to go to work at a daily job rather than stay at home with their child. This poses an obvious challenge; how are you going to be able to breastfeed your baby while you also work a full-time job? This is a concern for many new mothers!
However, with some careful planning and persistence, you should be able to breastfeed your baby while continuing to pursue your career.
Here are some tips and advice for mothers who have found themselves in this situation.
Check Out Your Workplace Regulations
Fortunately, since many mothers are choosing to work while they have young children, many companies are choosing to make allowances for mothers that breastfeed. It’s very possible that your place of work has a daycare center. Some US states require employers to provide a suitable location and make accommodations for breastfeeding mothers. If not, however, your boss may be willing to make a compromise and allow you to breastfeed your child. You must make it clear that there are a few things you’ll need, though:
First of all, you’ll need a private area in which you can breastfeed your child. This does not mean a bathroom; it means a private, clean area in which the mother can express her milk. You’ll need about three 15-minute breaks to do your pumping, a cool place—preferably a refrigerator—to store the milk, and a place to wash up if you choose to use a breast pump.
You can also let your boss know that breastfed babies are generally much healthier than those who aren’t breastfed. This will lead to fewer missed days of work, and savings for the company.
Breast Pumps Are an Option
If you can’t have your baby at work with you, there is still the possibility of using a breast pump. Breast pumps are devices—either manual or battery-powered—that allow mothers to pump and store breast milk in clean baby bottles for feeding at a later time. They are usually very discreet, and many working mothers are choosing to go this route.
If you are interested in the option of using a breast pump, you can read our full guide here.
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention says breast milk can be safely stored in an insulated cooler bag for up to 24 hours, a refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in a freezer for up to a year. This gives you an opportunity to pump the milk while at home and store it in bottles for a caretaker to feed to your baby while you’re away from home.
If I Want To Use a Breast Pump at Work, What Do I Need?
If you choose to go this route, there are a few things you’ll need. These include:
- A breast pump — Electric models are by far the most efficient. If you can fit it into your budget, a double-electric model is your best bet.
- Some baby bottles — You’ll need a place to store the milk as you pump it. Most breast pumps come with bottles, but you can always purchase extra if you need more.
- Access to a refrigerator or an insulated cooler/cooler bag. You’ll need a cool place to store the milk before you can bring it home. Some breast pumps come with an insulated bag.
- Breast pads — These protect your clothes from stains in the case of a leak.
- A clean and private place to pump — As mentioned, many employers are required to make provisions to allow breastfeeding mothers to either breastfeed or pump at work. You’ll have to check with your particular state’s laws as well as the regulations of your workplace, but generally they must supply you with a clean and private area to pump in.
Baby Formula as an Alternative or Supplement
While breastfeeding has many benefits over formula, baby formula does make for a possible alternative for mothers that are unable to breastfeed due to conflicts with work schedules. Even though you might be able to breastfeed or pump at work, you might not be able to do it as often as you need. In these cases, supplementing with baby formula is a good option.
If you choose to start using formula, be sure to slowly replace your daytime feedings with formula. Continue to breastfeed at night, because if a mother stops breastfeeding or pumping, her milk supply will gradually diminish.
Just because you’re a working mom, it doesn’t mean you can’t still breastfeed your baby! Explore all of the available options; I’m sure you will find something that works for both you and your baby! There are so many great benefits to breastfeeding your baby, and it’s well worth putting in the effort to come up with a solution that allows you to do so while you keep your day job.