Monday, February 08, 2010

Breastfeeding and returning to work.

I've recently trained as a breastfeeding helper with the Breastfeeding Network, and they are looking to produce a leaflet for mums who are returning to work, full of mum's experiences and tips. The trouble is, although we get asked about this a lot, once the women have returned to work, we often don't hear anything more from them, so we don't really know what worked, what didn't work, and how the story worked out. So I'm putting out a plea on the internet for mum's tips and expriences around the subject of returning to work and breastfeeding.

How did you broach the subject with your employer? Were they accomodating?
How did your baby react/cope?
Did you have any issues with other colleagues?
Were nursery/childminders keen to help?
Did you hand express/use a breastpump? (for comfort? for baby?)
How long did you breastfeed while working?
What happens at weekends?
Does mixed feeding work for you?
Why did you want to keep breastfeeding? (health benefits, keep close with baby etc)

Or anything else you can think of! Too long for the comments box? Drop me an email;

Here is one mum's experience to get you going:

“I was really worried about going back to work fulltime and the prospect of still being able to breastfeed was a serious concern. I had originally thought that I would keep up breastfeeding at night and when I was at home but introduce formula for a feed during the day when I was at work. But things never go to plan! C was found to be allergic to milk but can tolerate my milk. I returned to work when she was five and a half months, and was advised to start weaning her although I really wanted to do the baby led weaning approach as we had discussed at the group. We started weaning her on purees which she really liked.

On returning to work I had to make sure I had the provision to express, which in my busy job as a primary school teacher would be hard. I thought I would have to lock myself in my stock cupboard!! No nice first aid rooms in our school with fridges and so on, my deputy was great and let me use her office she got me a key so I could lock myself in there.

Breastfeeding really does have its advantages... I can stay in bed a little longer I have to get up at 7 to get ready for work so we set our alarm for 6:15 when my husband goes and gets C and brings her into bed for her feed until 7 when the alarm goes off again, if I was bottle feeding then I would have to get up!

I now only express at lunch time it takes me about 10-15 mins to express about 2-3 ozs, I keep all my equipment in a cool bag with an ice pack which I just take home everyday I use a hand pump. The milk is given to C next day around lunchtime.

Initially I was very engorged so wore loose tops where you couldn't tell, I needed to express at playime (about 10:30) then at lunchtime and at the end of the school day (3:30) if I wasn’t going straight home to feed her. This lasted for about 3 weeks. I now find at 8 months my body seems to know when it is weekend I feed on demand which is much more than during the week. During the week I feed her first thing, express at lunchtime, when I get home about 5ish, then any number of times until bedtime which ranges from 8-10 O'Clock so she is getting at least 4 good feeds a day from me and perhaps a 2oz bottle of expressed milk.

School holidays I feed her on demand as at weekends but have found that when I return to work I am engorged for the first day but its really not that bad and I still only need to express at lunchtime. C's has only had one cold in her 9 months!!! which is quite an achievement as I bring home all sorts of bugs from the children at school. I really didn't think I would still be breastfeeding now 9 months down the line.”

Please be aware that we will need your permission to use the tips/info you provide for the leaflet. Thanks for your help!



At 9:17 am , Blogger Mother of Innovation said...

I breastfed until DD was about 1. I had a little insulated sandwich box that I would take to work with a little battery breast pump and some ice packs. I had my own office at the time so I would lock the door and get on with my emails with my pump resting on the desk I would pump and work quite comfortably (I was lucky!). The icepacks kept the milk cold until home time so that I did not need to put it into a communal fridge. Alternatively I would work from home and just take a lunch break at DD's nursery.

At 4:42 pm , Blogger CraftyCreative said...

I didn't return to work inhouse. I started working from home. The NHS has a leaflet about it and the Leche League International has great tips. I think it depends when the mum wants to go back, if the child is young, building up a supply in the freezer is feasable.
A little breast milk is better than none and there are mums who breastfeed in the morning/evening and at weekends.


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