For every Mum one of the most important issues is ensuring our children are happy and healthy that’s why I write quite a few posts on children’s nutrition and parenting . There’s not point reaching the highest heights in your chosen field and having children who are not well nourished in body, spirit and soul.
When it comes to our infants most mothers choose breast milk and it makes all the sense in the world. You see, mothers milk is tailor made for your infant and is simply the best nutrition your little one can get. However despite my strong affinity for breastfeeding there’s no need to beat yourself up if you at unable to breastfeed exclusively, what’s most important is ensuring your child has the best you can offer in a loving environment.
With my four children I breastfed exclusively for about 4 to 6 months. Why the variation? well some children are ready to eat semi solids before others (so don’t be fastidious about doing exclusive for 6 months when your baby shows signs of being ready to devour amala earlier) and here are some tips that helped me successfully breastfeed while working.
Invest in a good pump
For me Avent manual pumps just worked. They work with a simple mechanism and don’t require electricity or batteries. I also found Avent pumps easy to assemble and dismantle and very to clean after use. While I have used a hospital grade electric pump once I honestly preferred my Avent (maybe I was just used to it). Whatever the case if money is an issue do not feel the need to invest in a fancy gadget as the Avent affordable and works extremely well. Apart from Avent I have tried one or two other manual pumps and they were awful so Avent is the only brand I can recommend. Another brand which I hear have good pumps and which I recommend for their breast ointments are Medela.
Invest in disposable breast pads
While you are away from your precious bundle of joy the last thing you want are milk stains on your top.
Pump while you nurse
This worked for me like magic! While your baby is nursing on one breast the “let down” reflex will make milk flow faster in the other breast as well. This may be a bit clumsy unless your partner is helping so what you can do is have your pump on standby and pump as soon as you are done nursing.
Pump more than baby needs
You may calculate that while you are away at work your baby needs two bottles of milk so rather than just leave two bottles pump an extra bottle and store in the freezer. There are actually freezer bags for milk which work great with pumps. At every point in time make sure you have at least one or two extra bags of milk in the freezer. This brings me to the next point.
Breast milk can be stored
The first time I saw a relatives storage of breast milk I was in shock! She had devoted almost a whole freezer to breast milk as she was a busy pharmacist in the U.S and stored milk for months. While I will not advise anyone to store breastmilk for months given our power situation it’s good to know that a well frozen bottle or bag of milk can stay in the freezer for a week and in the fridge for a few days. Personally I pumped for each day and left one in the freezer.It’s normal for the milk to separate while in the fridge just shake up and warm by inserting In a bag of warm water. Never use a microwave to warm baby’s milk (whether breast milk or formula) as it doesn’t heat evenly and could be dangerous. Also once you thaw breast milk and don’t use it again, just throw it away! Also if the milk has any funny smells then do not use, and always remember “if in doubt, toss out!”
If convenient then take baby to work
Thankfully many organisations now have an in-house crèche. If yours does not then all you need to do is ask and your desire may be granted . I’ve worked in places where a crèche was created just because a demand was made by one mother. A good employer will see the merit in ensuring a new mum is not distracted and able to nurse her baby on demand.
Pump at work
If your baby is at home or In a crèche far from work then you can pump at work. All you need is a discreet and clean place when your can pump and then store in a clean fridge until you go home.
Pump some more
Once you get home your first impulse is to breastfeed your baby, but if she is not hungry then start off by expressing out milk with your pump. This is really effective as your breasts are full of milk from being away from so long and once baby latches on afterwards more milk will still flow.
Have a support group
My husband and late Mum were always very supportive of exclusive breastfeeding. Well to be honest my mum wasn’t at first as in her time breastfeeding exclusively was just “not done” but once she saw my determination and knew the benefits she was my biggest cheerleader. For my last baby my BSG (breastfeeding support group) consisted of my Hubby, sister and the Nanny. They were all as devoted to breastfeeding as I was and made it so easy to continue breastfeeding when I started work.
Hope my tips help, if you have any questions on breastfeeding do send them in and let us know what tips you have.