It's a sad fact that the sooner you return to work after giving birth, the less likely you are to continue breastfeeding. But you don't have to let your work stand in the way of a nursing relationship with your baby, which we all know is the healthiest way to feed an infant. On National Breastfeeding Week, let's look at some of the ways to support working moms who want to breastfeed their babies -- despite the discouraging statistics.
Make friends with your breast pump. When my youngest daughter was a baby, her bigger sister would pretend to pump milk from her own chest. I was pumping milk to feed her when I was away so often that it became commonplace for our middle girl to see the milking operations in progress. I'm not saying I enjoyed those long pumping sessions, but I found a way to tolerate them. (And I did relish the part where I poured those precious ounces of mama's milk into bottles or freezer bags.)
Use mom-tested strategies for increasing milk supply. Maybe it's oatmeal cookies, staying hydrated or the power pumping that worked for me. One of new moms' many commonly used strategies is bound to help you boost your milk supply when you're away from your infant for work. Ask friends and relatives who nursed what helped them produce an ample amount of breast milk.
Give yourself a break. That said, it's important not to become obsessed with those ounces of liquid gold. (Or at least, not overly obsessed.) If you find that pumping milk is interfering with your ability to nurture relationships, perform your job, get adequate rest or live an anxiety-free life, for goodness sake, supplement with formula!
Have you found a way to incorporate pumping into your work day, and to prolong your breastfeeding relationship? Or is there something you would do differently if you could go back and change your past actions? Please share in honor of National Breastfeeding Week.
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