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Breast feeding when returning to work

breast feeding maybe natural but not always easy

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Few parenting issues seem to generate such heated opinions as how you feed your baby.  Pregnant women and new parents searching the web for research are sure to come across the great breast vs bottle debate. But is it really that black and white? There are a growing number of new parents that will be breast feeding when returning to work so how do they do it?

There’s no denying that when it comes to health benefits, breast is best.  Babies who are exclusively breast-fed tend to get fewer infections and are less likely to have eczema, constipation and have a lower chance of becoming obese in later years.  Breastfeeding also lowers the mother’s risk of getting ovarian or breast cancer and helps get rid the baby weight. It can delay the return of your period as well. Added bonuses include the fact that breast milk is free and it’s always ready at the right temperature.  You don’t need to pacify a hungry baby while you prepare a bottle and you can go out for the day without having to worry about taking enough feeds with you.

Don’t be embarrassed

Feeding out and about may be a little daunting at first but once you’ve done it a couple of times you won’t think anything of it. Most people won’t realise what you’re doing and will just think you’re enjoying a nice cuddle (think about how many times you noticed a nursing mother before you were pregnant). Those who do see you’re feeding are more likely to offer a smile than a glare.  It is illegal to stop someone feeding an infant in a public place so as long as you and your child have the right to be there then rest assured you shouldn’t be disturbed.

Although breastfeeding is seen as being natural, it doesn’t always pan out that way. Just as some babies need to be born by Cesarean section, sometimes Mother Nature doesn’t make things easy when it comes to feeding a new baby.  Some women who had their hearts set on breastfeeding may find it too difficult or exhausting and make the decision to switch to formula.  Illness, poor latch, low supply or even taking medication you don’t want to pass into the baby’s system are all reasons why some mother and baby teams can’t breastfeed.

Other women know throughout their pregnancy that they will bottle feed.  From sharing feeds with a partner to feeling breastfeeding just isn’t for you, there are a million reasons why a couple might choose formula over breast milk and each one is as valid as the other.

breast feeding

Continuing to breast feed

One reason often cited for switching to formula or bottle-feeding from birth is the mother’s return to work.  Many parents think going back to work will be less stressful if they don’t have to worry about their little one’s feeding patterns being disrupted.  If you want to breastfeed but returning to your job is your main reason against it then there are things you can do to ease the transition of a carer giving milk feeds.  Bear in mind that (unless you are super-keen) you won’t be back at work until your son or daughter is around six months or even older.  This is the age it is recommended to start introducing solids and the point where milk feeds become less frequent, which makes things a bit easier.  Parents who wish to continue breastfeeding after returning to work have three options:

  1. Choose a nursery or childminder close to your place of work.  This means you can pop in and breastfeed your child during breaks and lunch hours.
  2. Express. Many nursing mothers use a breast pump to express feeds for the caregiver to feed their child.  In the UK the Health & Safety Executive recommends that employers provide nursing mothers with a private and safe place to express and store milk.
  3. Combination feeding. If you don’t have the time or are unable to express enough milk then you may wish to consider using formula during working hours and breastfeeding in the mornings and evenings.  Your supply will soon adjust to the change in feeding schedule and your child will still receive the benefits of breast milk.
  4. Whether you breastfeed long-term, short-term or not at all your choice should be based on what is right for your family.  Every mum and baby is different and what comes easily to one might prove difficult for another.  All that really matters is that you provide your child with the nutrients needed to grow up healthily, whether those come from a formula feed bottle or breast.




About Maria Brett

About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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