Many mothers assume they’ll need to stop breastfeeding when they return to paid work. And while it can be challenging to manage the logistics of feeding as well as working, the two are not mutually exclusive.
For generations mothers have returned to work and continued to breastfeed their babies. With a bit of planning, you can too.
Is it worth it?
The benefits of extending breastfeeding for as long as possible are very clear. Research states that ideally, babies are fully breastfed for their first six months of life until additional solid foods are introduced. Thereafter, there are benefits for extending breastfeeding for as long as both a mother and her baby are happy.
What is important is that you are motivated to continue breastfeeding and have a breastfeeding and expressing plan which works for you, your baby and your employer.
What are my rights?
According to the Australian Human Rights Commission and Equal Opportunity laws, including the Sex Discrimination Act, breastfeeding mothers are protected against any discrimination. Each State and Territory of Australia has its own legislation; however all are similar in terms of their degree of protection, entitlements and support for breastfeeding mothers. These same laws apply to mothers who need to express their breastmilk and take “lactation breaks”.
Your line manager and Human Resource Department will be able to advise you on individual workplace arrangements.
How to combine breastfeeding and expressing?
Philips Avent has a range of breast pumps and milk storage solutions which make the home/work/home transition easy for breastfeeding mothers. Depending on your individual needs, the Comfort Breast Pump range includes a manual or electric option. Both are designed to gently massage the areola and facilitate a “let down” response which makes expressing both comfortable and easy. This means that in the workplace, expressing can be done efficiently and with a minimum of fuss.
Before returning to work
- Make sure your baby will accept a bottle with your expressed breast milk (EBM). Philips Avent has a range of bottles and teats which are designed to support a smooth transition from breast to bottle feeding.
- Where possible, breastfeed your baby just before leaving for work and back home.
- Allowing for travel times and an average eight hour day, you are likely to need to express at least 1-2 times.
- Become familiar with your Philips AVENT breast pump. Practice at home for a week or two so that you know what’s involved.
- Ask your line manager where you can express and can have privacy.
- Work out how you will store your breastmilk at work. Check fridge storage and insulated bag options for travel.
Expressing can feel awkward at first, but with practice it will become easier. Make sure you are comfortable and make a conscious effort to relax and think about your baby.
For more information about Philips Avent, please visit the Philips AVENT website.