Sister Lilian Centre’s 7 Ways To Make Life Easier For Working, Breastfeeding Moms
Every mom works 24/7, but if you have an office job outside the home too, and you still want to breastfeed your baby, life can get complicated. I hope my suggestions will help you cope!
Women often tend to feel guilty, don’t they? Mothers especially so, particularly if Mom has a day job. Even if you choose to work outside the home, it’s completely normal to have mixed feelings about this, and to worry about your baby’s care when you’re not around. This, combined with job and relationship demands and the daily stress of managing a home, could make you feel as though you simply can’t cope.
Add to all that the conflicted feelings you may have about wanting to give your baby more of what you know in your heart is the best nutrition, breast milk, but knowing that your day job won’t make it easy to do.
7 strategies to ease the burden
- Choose your baby’s daycare well, even if it costs a little more, and think of the caregiver as an ‘extra mother’, rather than someone competing for your baby’s affection.
- Use your lunch breaks wisely – get some shopping done, visit your baby if possible, express breast milk using a breast pump specially designed for gentle pumping efficiency, or ask your employer if you can have a shorter lunch break so that you can leave earlier.
- Don’t take work home with you; be fully available to your baby for the first hour at home – go for a walk or play games together to help you both relax and bond.
- Make double portions of every meal you cook, and freeze the extras so that you can free up time. These little time-saving measures can make a world of difference, allowing you to feel more in control and relaxed.
- Accept help from family, neighbours and friends – there’s no shame in admitting that it takes more than one person to raise a baby or make sure all the necessary chores are done.
- Bed-share or co-sleep with your baby! You’ll both sleep far better, and the close contact at night will make up for the separation in the day. You can also use this time to let Baby continue direct breastfeeding, which will help to keep up your supply. Remember, you can sleep while Baby suckles!
- Build up your own personal bank of breast milk, because your own milk will always be best for your baby – although expressing may seem like a tedious thing to have to do, with a good pump, you’ll soon be proficient. While direct suckling is always best, in a real world, Moms sometimes just have to come up with a realistic plan and this option can help you achieve the best you can, in your circumstances.
Worried about your employer’s reaction to expressing?
Logically, expressing is something which all companies should support. After all, a working mom is raising the future of the country and the more support she gets, the more productive she’s likely to be at work. Research has also shown that women who continue to breastfeed past their maternity leave have significantly fewer absences because their babies are healthier.
However, some employees try to take advantage of their employers and abuse any leniency they’re given. It’s important that there are rules governing things like this so that both moms and employers are protected. According to the Labour Law, South African employers should give breastfeeding women two 30 minute breaks, as well as lunch and tea, so that they can express at work. Not all employers adhere to this, but you should know that you have the right to lobby for it because it is what the Department of Health intends to be the norm.
Even if you don’t get those two extra breaks, you can still express during tea and lunch – although it might be tricky if there aren’t private or hygienic conditions available. In this case, speak to your manager and offer to take work home with you or work out an arrangement of flexi-hours in return for a more flexible approach to, and better facilities for, expressing at work.
Hang in there, Working Mom, life will get easier and giving it your all now, will pay handsome dividends in the long run.