For many mothers, giving their child only breast milk for the first six months can feel like a full-time job. Many mothers need to return to work or school soon after giving birth.
For women who can’t be with their babies for the whole day, but want to continue breastfeeding, there are ways to do this.
The most important first step is for a new mother to decide what is most likely to work in her unique situation. Would she like to find a way to bring her baby to work for breastfeeding, or would she like to express milk that a family member or trusted caregiver can feed her baby while she’s away?
Health care professionals can support new mothers who need to return to work, by teaching them how to express breast milk into a clean container? This precious milk can then be safely stored for later use in a cool, clean place.
Some workplaces will even have privte spaces where working mothers can express their milk and storage during the day or feed their babies, if they’re being brought to the workplace.
But I do think that it’s important that companies also put in a framework so that moms can express themselves at work and so that they can breastfeed.
Whatever a mother decides it’s important for her to begin speaking with her employer, even before her baby is born so that they can have time to help come up with a plan that will work for everyone.
She can also offer her employer access to resources and information that may help them to help her continue breastfeeding. A happy mother with a healthy breastfed baby is more likely to be relaxed and succeed in everything she does at work and home.