Breastfeeding for Working Moms

Returning to work can be a difficult challenge for moms who would like to continue breastfeeding their baby. In addition to fitting work and family time into your busy schedule, you must now add pumping and cleaning of bottles and pump parts. But if you can manage to find a way, continuing to breastfeed your baby after returning to work is a healthy choice for your little one.

Continued Health Benefits and Immunity

Unless you are one of the lucky few who have a family member able to watch your baby, or can afford a nanny in your home, odds are your baby will be going to daycare when you go back to work. This means baby will be exposed to a lot more germs than at home with you. The antibodies and nutrients a baby receives from breast milk mean a stronger immune system, which could keep your baby from getting sick. While it does take extra time to pump and provide breast milk for your baby, it’s nothing compared to the time you will lose from work if you have to be at home with a sick infant.

In addition to keeping baby’s immune system strong, the longer you breastfeed, the more of the other health benefits your baby will receive. Especially if you are going back to work fairly soon after baby is born, continued breastfeeding until at least 4 months of age will give your baby a good start on the path to health.

Pumping at Work

One of the biggest challenges working moms face is finding both a time and place to pump at work. If you don’t have a private office and don’t want to use the restroom, ask your boss if there is a meeting room or other private space where you can close the door and pump. Some moms also use their car to pump, which might be difficult depending on what your parking space is like.

If you don’t have access to a refrigerator at work in which to store the pumped milk, keep a cooler filled with ice in the trunk of your car. You can safely store your milk there until you get it home. A small cooler bag with an ice pack or two kept near your desk works great too. Cleaning up the pump parts after use can be difficult if all you have access to is a restroom sink. There are convenient wipes you can use to clean the parts quickly, and give them a wash at home – or, keep the parts cold along with the milk until you get home.

Compromises are Ok

If you are really struggling to provide enough breast milk for your baby while working, don’t let it become a source of major stress for you. It’s ok to supplement with formula. Breastfeeding isn’t an all or nothing proposition. Whatever amount of breast milk your baby receives will help. If you choose to use formula during the day and nurse in the evenings, that is ok! You have a lot to deal with, so don’t feel bad if you have to make compromises.

Every bit of breast milk your baby receives will help, so do your best to continue some level of breastfeeding when you return to work, if you can. There is no doubt that it is a challenge that requires some effort and ingenuity, but the benefits to your baby are well worth it.

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