Dr Sapna Lulla, Lead Consultant, Obstetrics & Gynecology
Notwithstanding the irrefutable benefits of breastfeeding, working mothers face significant barriers in continuing to practise this practice. Restricted maternity leaves and inadequate workplace amenities make it difficult for women to continue breastfeeding after going back to work. Furthermore, social norms and high expectations may force working mothers to discontinue breastfeeding too soon, affecting both their physical and mental health. In such a scenario, work-life balance plays a critical role in breastfeeding working mothers’ physical and mental health. Listing out a few easy-to-adopt tips for breastfeeding moms who are getting back to work.
• Set up a breastfeeding schedule.
• Feed your baby right before leaving for work and immediately after coming from work. You can instruct your support system to not feed the baby around the time you get back from work.
• Get your baby acquainted with taking breast milk from the bottle. It is recommended to feed one or two sessions while at home before getting back to work.
• Educate yourself on safe medicines, milk storage, and balancing work and breastfeeding.
• Ask your employer in advance if they have a dedicated place to express milk and if there is a flexible work policy in the organization or if they offer a lactation support policy. Talk to your employer about lactation breaks during working hours.
• Look for a childcare/crèche near the workplace, and take breaks in between work to feed your baby.
• Use wearable pumps instead of usual pumps. These are user-friendly and can be used at work with less hassle.
• Build a strong support network that can help you with much-needed encouragement and assistance.
• Stay well hydrated throughout the day.
Breastfeeding is the most gratifying experience and helps to create a bond between mother and child for life. Though it looks challenging initially, with little patience and practice, breastfeeding and work can be coped well.