Breastfeeding and the working mother
For working mothers, breastfeeding need not end with your maternity leave. You can still breastfeed directly when you are with you baby at night and on weekends. Your baby can still drink your milk when you are away. You can still maintain your milk supply even while working. Here’s how.
What you need
If you intend to save your expressed milk for your baby.
- You need a refrigerator where you can keep your milk. Find out if you could use the one in your office pantry (if there is one in the first place). Alternatively, see if the canteen operators allow you to use their fridge. Try to keep your milk away from raw meat or anything that could cause contamination.
- You need a bag or box that is insulated and can keep your milk cold. You need something to transport your milk home in.
- If possible, get an ice pack or something that could keep the inside or your milk bag or box cold.
- You need baby bottles and the disk that fits into the cap of the baby bottle in place of the teat.
- You also need a box tall enough to keep the bottles upright in.
- If you plan to express your milk using a pump, then you need to bring your pump, dishwashing liquid and a bottle brush to wash your pump with after each expression of your milk You also need sterilising tablets, the container used to sterilise your bottles in. You have to sterilise your pump after each expression.
If you have no refrigerator to store your milk, then you should still express your milk at regular intervals (3 hours between each expression) to maintain your milk flow. Some mothers throw that milk away as it cannot keep safely without refrigeration. Others drink it up as it contains so much nutrients.
What to do
The night before, sterilise your bottles and breast pump (if you are using one). Pack 2 or 3 sterile milk bottles (covered) in a box. Pack your breast pump. Put the ice pack in the coldest part of your freezer.
In the morning, pack your bag.
Time yourself to reach your office 20 minutes early. Once you arrive at work, go straight to a private place (or the ladies) to express your milk. Keep your ice pack in the freezer (if any). Keep your milk in the sterilised bottles in another airtight box and seal that box in an airtight plastic bag. You cannot afford to let your milk get contaminated. Put that bag in the coldest part of a refrigerator.
Lunch time, express your milk again, and store your milk in sterile bottles in the box in the fridge. Then go for a quick lunch.
around 4 pm or so, express your milk again and store your milk in the fridge.
At the end of the working day, pack your boxes of milk and the ice bag in the insulated bag and bring it home for your baby. You can either keep it in the refrigerator for the baby’s feeds the next day it can keep up to 8 days in the refrigerator). Alternatively, you can keep it in the freezer where it can keep at least a month.
Feeding the baby your expressed milk
While you are away, the caregiver can heat up the milk as such. Half fill a bowl with hot water. Immerse a bottle of expressed milk in it until it is about body temperature. Feed that to your baby.
If in doubt as to whether the milk was contaminated, personally, I feel that it is better to throw it away than to risk the baby falling sick.