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Breastfeeding and Working Mothers.

ADVICE TO A WORKING MOTHER REGARDING INFANT FEEDING

  1. Breastfeeding your baby exclusively for six months will ensure his optimal growth, and protection against most common infectious illnesses, and allergies. Be prepared for your child. Adjust your leave schedule to have maximum leave after you deliver. If possible, arrange for a caretaker at home, like a close relative or friend, or a trusted maid. If you must leave your baby in a crèche, ensure that the crèche facilities are satisfactory. Click here to know what an ideal crèche should offer.

  2. You are advised to give your baby exclusive breastfeeding for six months, for optimum nutritional, immunological, and psychological benefits. Take a maternity leave certificate from your doctor and try to get all leave due to you, from your employer. Consider the financial requirements of your household, when you avail of unpaid leave.

  3. Attend the educational talks given in the maternity home, where you go for pre-delivery checks. Learn the technique of breastmilk expression, which will help you when you resume working.

  4. If you must resume working before your child is six months old, then follow these guidelines:

    (a) Feed your baby before you leave for work, and feed him frequently after you return home.

    (b) Feed him frequently through the night, as and when he demands. Night feeding keeps up your milk supply, while taking care of the baby's nutritional and emotional needs.

    (c) Before you leave for work, empty both your breasts manually, and store the milk in a sterile container. The container (wati/katori) should be boiled for 10 minutes the previous day, and sun-dried. You can easily remove between 200 - 250 ml of milk form both breasts. Cover the container. This milk can be stored at room temperature for six hours ordinarily, and for four hours in summer. If refrigerated, expressed breastmilk can be stored for 24 hours. The milk is reheated before feeding. This can be done, by keeping the milk container in another (larger) container, containing warm water. Contact your mother support group leader, family physician or pediatrician in case of difficulty.

(d) While at work, empty your breasts in the ladies room whenever you have a feeling of fullness (every 3-4 hours). This is important to maintain the milk supply. You are advised to store this milk in a container, or multiple containers, that could be kept in a refrigerator at your place of work. This milk could be carried home, to be fed to your baby the next day, when you are out at work. If you do not have storage facility at your workplace, discard the expressed milk, but do not forget to express. Press your employer to arrange for a refrigerator and a ladies room.

(e) DO NOT USE a bottle to feed your baby at any stage. This will invite trouble in the form of infections. This can also confuse the child because the mechanism of getting milk from the breast is different than that form a bottle. A confused baby may refuse the breast.

(f) If your baby is more than four months old, you could start him on appropriate weaning foods after consulting your pediatrician or family physician. You could avoid using animal or powder milk by starting weaning foods. This offsets the temptation of giving bottle feeds to the baby.

  1. Remember that breastfeeding your baby is your right, as much as it your babies right to be breastfed. If you have the facility of a crèche at you workplace, and you work close to your house, carry your baby with you, and breastfeed him whenever he wants. Insist on crèche facility at your workplace. A movement is on, to convince employers to provide crèche facility for working mothers.

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Disclaimer: All material provided at Breastfeedingindia.org is provided for educational and informational purposes only. Consult with your doctor regarding the advisability of any opinions or recommendations with respect to your individual situation.