Mother is a mother whether she is a working woman or a housewife and breast milk remains the most powerful tool for baby’s growth irrespective of the professional status of the mother. Besides the benefit of strong emotional bond and health benefits to both mother and newborn, it also has many hidden advantages. For example, it is far easier to put a baby to sleep while on mother’s breast than with a lullaby. In fact, the tiredness of a working woman is relieved by breastfeeding and dozing off with the baby. Whereas if like the day long chores, she has to wake up every night to prepare bottle milk, it really takes a toll on the maternal health. Here are few tips to help you continue breastfeeding even if you are working mother.
- AVAIL YOUR MATERNITY LEAVES:
Plan your maternity /casual leaves in such a way that you are available for the first 6 months. You should be free and at home with your baby to ensure exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months. Exclusive breastfeeding means no supplemental feeds, even water is not to be given in the first 6 months, only breastfeeding is needed. This has long-term health implications on the health of both the mother and baby. Alternative professional arrangements like work from home can be sorted out.
- PREPARE IN ADVANCE:
When you actually have to join back, prepare in advance like extend your maternity leave by one month and utilize this in establishing weaning i.e starting oral supplements like daila, khichri, banana, kheer, soup and develop the baby’s taste for these.
- Alternate breast feeds with these weaning substitutes even while at home.
- Take domestic help to feed these weaning foods so that the baby learns to accept them even in your absence.
- You need not start bottle feeding, especially with powder, cow or buffalo milk. In fact mixed feeding is more deleterious that only feeding with top milk. It is not only a source of infection but the basis of childhood and adult allergies like food allergies and asthma.
- Buy a milk pump and at least 3-4 steel boxes for storage and start using it even while at home. Accustom your baby to accept breast milk with palada or spoon and bowl. Never give EBM (expressed breast milk) in bottles. Bottle feeding whether EBM or top feed has a direct impact on baby’s IQ (Intelligence Quotient) development.
- Ensure the presence of refrigerator or buy cool packs for EBM storage when you join back.
- Buy breast pads for feed overflow.
- FINALLY WHEN YOU JOIN BACK:
- Try shift duties so that lunch break can be utilized in direct breastfeeding and handling over the stored milk.
- Oblige colleagues by staying back half an hour so that they support you when you take 20 minutes break twice a day to express milk.
- Ensure yours have access to a clean, private compartment to express breast milk.
- To ensure good production even when direct latchment is not possible to take plenty of fluids and desi preparations like panjeeri or ayurvedic supplements which contain jeera, sounf etc that are helpful in increasing milk production.
- To ensure you are not run down, ensure adequate rest and distressing measures listening to light music, meditation etc..Take calcium and multivitamin supplements regularly so that calcium in breast milk does not primarily come from your bones.
Last but the most important be confident, never feel embarrassed, be a trendsetter, an example for other moms, take lead, the others will follow. After all, it’s about your baby’s rights and your love and not just about your responsibilities.