The reincorporation of women into the labor market after becoming a mother is a difficult process, due to the separation of mother and child, especially when breastfeeding has been chosen. We have always heard that it is best to wean the baby when working life is resumed. However, every day there is more research that is committed to prolonging natural breastfeeding as long as possible, since there are many benefits that it brings to the mother and the baby.
Although the mother chooses to continue breastfeeding her baby, she has to take into account several factors that can become an added stress to the fact of “catching up” at work. These questions to decide range from how to organize tasks, decide who will take care of the baby, how to express milk, etc.
Although it is true that, according to data from the Breastfeeding Committee, unlike other European countries, in Spain, only 7.8% of mothers maintain exclusive breastfeeding (without a bottle or complementary feeding) after their return to the Laboral life. It is not a simple matter and it depends a lot on the type of working day and the rights that the labor agreement has.
Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended at least until six months of age, but, when returning to work after 16 weeks off, 23% of the women surveyed have to start mixed breastfeeding , 9.5% start with complementary feeding (cereals and fruit) and more than 55% completely stop breastfeeding.
On many occasions, the work modality does not allow to extend natural breastfeeding (lack of time, incompatibility of schedules, demands of the baby …), but some research shows that favoring breastfeeding is closely linked to higher labor productivity in women. women . Therefore, at work, this type of breastfeeding should be valued and facilitated in the face of short and long-term benefits in business performance.
Some measures in this line could be: enabling spaces in the workplace for breastfeeding, flexibility in working hours, allowing work from home, increasing the period of maternity leave … Although it is true that in many cases the Mothers decide to interrupt breastfeeding when entering working life due to ease or especially due to lack of knowledge of alternatives and information in this regard.
IF I CANNOT CONTINUE BREASTFEEDING, WHAT ALTERNATIVES ARE THERE?
We have several options that we can implement if we have to work but we are breastfeeding the baby:
– Extract the milk: either manually or with the breast pump . Reserve it in containers and refrigerate it to be able to use it later or the next day. In the refrigerator it can be up to 48 hours, but it can also be frozen, in which case it lasts up to six months. Try to always have reserves of frozen milk. How much milk do I need? Soon you will measure your little one. At the beginning it is recommended to leave extra milk but stored in small quantities (from 50 to 100 cc). The frequency of the baby’s feedings should also be taken into account(every 2 hours, every 3 hours …) when calculating the amount of milk to be expressed. How to express milk at work? If the workplace does not have a room equipped for it, find a quiet, clean and reserved place. You need a good breast pump (a mini electric one for its greater speed and convenience), a beach cooler with a block of ice or similar, and containers to transport the expressed milk.
– Get the little one accustomed to the bottle : days before reintegration, try to get him to drink your own milk through the bottle. This way someone else can breastfeed the baby with your own milk.
– Even if you have to choose mixed breastfeeding, try to breastfeed the baby before going to work and when you return. Try that breastfeeding is not completely lost and with it its benefits, such as the bond that is established between mother and child while breastfeeding.
– Breastfeeding leave: it is very important that you know your rights as a worker, established in the Workers’ Statute and in the different agreements that link your job. It is important that you know that, until the baby is nine months old, you have the right to take an hour off from work (or two half hours) a day to breastfeed the baby, without affecting your salary. This is an advantage especially if you live close to the workplace because it will allow you a little escape to breastfeed your baby.
– You can also request a reduction in working hours, which in that case will be deducted from your salary in proportion to the hours that are reduced.
WHAT IF YOU DON’T WANT TO EAT?
It is common for the child not to adapt to the bottle. We propose some recommendations to achieve it:
1. Be patient and insist: it is important to be aware that it is not an easy task, but we must persist. Do not despair or show anger because the baby does not want to take a bottle, many times it is a matter of time or lack of hunger.
2. Try to identify when you want the breast for comfort or relaxation or hunger. It is very likely that if the baby is hungry he will end up accepting the bottle as the only option.
3. Try multiple nipples. There are babies whose suction adapts to some nipples and not to others , and, surprisingly, they do not always adapt to the most expensive ones. It is also important to take into account the age, the outflow and the type of food when choosing the nipple.
4. Try someone else to give him the bottle. If the mother does it, it is very likely that she expects him to breastfeed and not the bottle, since the little ones associate the mother with the breast, because of the smell, the way she takes it …
5. It may help to balance the breast with the bottle or spoon.
6. Above all, do not force the baby to eat if he does not want, we will only get a tantrum. They may not be hungry or eventually give in to the bottle.
7. Hug him affectionately, accompanying your gestures with calm words.