Working

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Q. What about work and breastfeeding? How can I work and breastfeed too?

A. That’s an excellent question. Working is often the reason that women give for saying they need to stop breastfeeding, or that they can only feed their babies breastmilk, but that they can’t breastfeed anymore because now their baby prefers the bottle and refuses to breastfeed.

In the olden days in the modern world, women worked while CONTINUING to breastfeed. They brought their babies to work, or they took breastfeeding breaks or they found other ways to continue breastfeeding while combining that with working. In the developing world, that is often what women still do, sometimes soon after giving birth, and so this provides a seamless opportunity to continue to take care of tasks while also taking care of baby.

Modern moms are now also finding ways to do all these too — and pressing workplaces for better working conditions that provide breastfeeding opportunities, such as split shifts, flextime, working from home, on-site childcare with breastfeeding breaks, longer maternity leave, and so on.

Measures to continue breastfeeding while working can also include expressing your breastmilk by hand or pump and then having caregivers give it by cup so that there is no chance your baby can start to prefer artificial nipples. Or if your baby is about six months old or so, then she can eat solids and drink liquids from a cup when you are gone and you can breastfeed once you get home. Simple!

And when you are home, if you can enlist the help of others, why not encourage them to prepare food, wash dishes and laundry, and take care of other household tasks so YOU are free to look after the baby? That way you can nap and breastfeed, go for a walk with the baby, and do whatever it takes to give baby the quality AND quantity time s/he needs with MOM! Getting others to help with chores is a great way they can help support your mothering and help make baby happy in those early months.

If you want to read more about breastfeeding and work in the workplace, why not check out this call for strong protections for women workers and their breastfeeding children, which should be implemented worldwide: IBFAN Statement: Maternity Protection at Work