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Oct
20

Guide to Breastfeeding for Career Moms

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As breastfeeding becomes more acceptable in our society, career moms are finding lots of ways to make breastfeeding while pursuing a career work for them.

Staying Healthy

Getting both good nutrition and a proper amount of sleep are critical for any breastfeeding mom. If you’re lacking in either area, your milk supply can be reduced and  while this doesn’t necessarily stop you from breastfeeding it can make breastfeeding more frustrating.

Working at a career outside the home makes it especially difficult to make your health a priority. Getting enough sleep to function well can really be a challenge if you’re working during the first few months of your baby’s life, when two or three feedings throughout the night is the norm.

One solution that many nursing moms have implemented is to hire a night nurse. The night nurse can either bring the baby to you, change diapers, etc. so that you can breastfeed and get right back to sleep, or you can express milk and  the night nanny then bottle feeds the baby with the expressed milk.

Resources

Check out these discussions from moms who’ve hired a night nanny:

Charlotte Smarty Pants

Lil Sugar

Many nursing moms find that certain foods impart a taste to their milk that the baby doesn’t like or which cause digestive upset and/or gas. If you suspect that food is a factor in your baby’s digestive problems, start a food journal to ecord what you ate and how the baby reacted. You should be able to track down the food culprit easily this way.

Pumping Breast Milk

Most moms who breastfeed and work outside the home are pumping breast milk so that they or another family member can feed the baby when breastfeeding isn’t possible or isn’t convenient. Successful expressing requires a good breast pump and a little practice. There are many features that can make pumping work much better for you. Some new moms find it helpful to talk to a lactation consultant or connect with other moms through online forums before buying a breast pump.

Resources

Breastfeeding.com

International Lactation Consultant Association

American Pregnancy Association

Berkeley Parents Network

Got Breast Pump

Practice pumping before you need to rely on it for your baby’s needs, and don’t be discouraged if these first attempts don’t give you much milk. Store any milk you express to use later on.  Using a breast pump can take some getting used to; it may take some time to get it right.

Checklist to Successful Breastfeeding at Work

  • Nurse As Much As Possible – The more you nurse, the more likely you are to be successful.
  • Find A Private Place To Pump –  a private office (either yours or a sympathetic coworkers), an empty office, a conference room, the restroom
  • Get Support From Your Coworkers – Support from your coworkers, boss and employers goes a long way toward helping to make breastfeeding work for you while working.
  • Commit to A Pumping Schedule – Try to pump at the same time every day. Your body will respond by giving you a good milk supply when you’re ready to express.
  • Have Extra Pumping Supplies – Extra pumping horns, sterile containers, nursing pads and an all purpose blouse stashed in your office or cubicle can be the difference between a disaster and a blip in your work day.
  • Storing Pumped Milk – There are lots of options for storing milk at work; the employee refrigerator, a mini fridge in your office or cubicle, or a cooler will all work just fine.

If you’ll be expressing and storing breast milk store it in the proper type of container. A mothers antibodies that reside in breast milk stick to many types of plastics and therefore cannot be passed on to the baby who needs them. Use bags designed for storing breast milk. They’re made of a type of plastic that reduces the loss of antibodies.

What If It’s Just Not Working?

If  breastfeeding while working outside the home isn’t working for you, I would encourage you to not give up. Start by talkiing to a lactation consultant. There may be a very simple fix that you’re not seeing.

If a lactation consultant isn’t an option for you then connect with a local support group or look for an online forum.

If you’re thinking about giving up you may be able to supplement your  breast milk with infant formula. Just don’t mix formula and breast milk in the same bottle. The advantage to storing your breast milk or supplementing it with formula is that other family members can be involved in feeding the new member of the family.

If you do decide that breastfeeding isn’t for you, I hope you won’t feel guilty about this. Breastfeeding isn’t for every mom. If you’re not going to be breastfeeding, you and the rest of your family will still be able to enjoy bonding with your new baby while bottle feeding.

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