(This post has been sitting, gathering dust in my draft folder for a month now. I meant to post this last August just in time for Breastfeeding Awareness Month but life happened and I only got to finish it now.)
In a week, my son is turning 1.
YES! Pat on the back for me and hubby to have survived a year of nursing and diaper changing without any nanny. 😀
It’s also a huge milestone for me as this also meant that I have been exclusively breastfeeding Raven for almost 12 whole months now! This is the longest that I’ve been able to breastfeed any of my kids, a legit achievement for me.
Our breastfeeding journey got off a rocky start with Raven not latching correctly but once we got over that, it was surprisingly smooth sailing and easy. Having read other mommy’s breastfeeding stories at Breastfeeding Pinays (on FB), I realized that I am extremely lucky.
That is why I wanted to share some breastfeeding tips that I learned along the way, particularly for full time working mothers like myself.
- READ UP/ ASK AND BE PREPARED.
As with anything, it’s best to be informed of what you can expect once you commit to continue breastfeeding while at work.
I cannot stress enough how helpful the FB group, Breastfeeding Pinays, is in educating me with what I needed to know and to have once I return back to work.
- It’s best to check your office’s policy in breastfeeding. Though it is in the law and is mandated that lactating mothers be granted additional breaks to express milk, not all workplaces observe this. Not all have access to a designated breastfeeding room as well. So it is best to get in touch with your HR and discuss your intention to continue breastfeeding with them so they can provide you options.
I am again extremely fortunate that I no longer work in CS so I kind of have a more flexible schedule which allowed me to express milk on time. We also have our own breastfeeding room so I’m able to do it in private.
- You’ll need to have an insulated bag with ice packs, bottles or milk bags to store your milk and breast pads. You can also consider your wardrobe at work so you can pump comfortably/conveniently (if you don’t have a uniform).
- You’ll also need to learn the guidelines in properly storing your expressed milk. Rule of thumb, always label your bottle of expressed milk with the date and time before storing and SANITIZE!
- INVEST IN QUALITY BREAST PUMP. OR LEARN HOW TO HAND EXPRESS.
It’s advisable to do some research on what breast pump will be best suited for your needs. You have the option for a manual or electric one depending on your budget, allotted expression time and preference.
If you have extra funds, it’s highly recommended to buy a double electric pump since it will save you time because it can pump both breast at the same time. However, a manual pump will do the job too. It’s really what’s more convenient or suited for you.
For me though, since I managed to learn how to hand express while I was on maternity leave and actually got the hang of it, I no longer purchased one. Saved me a couple of thousand pesos J
- SET A PUMPING SCHEDULE AND STICK TO IT.
When I asked friends about their schedule, most followed a 3 hour rule. Breastfeeding works on a supply and demand basis, so consistent pumping can help you maintain your supply.
On my first couple of weeks back, I followed this religiously but after a while I can no longer keep up especially when the workload for the day is OA.
- CONTINUE BREASTFEEDING FULLTIME WHEN YOU’RE AT HOME.
To ensure that you’ll still have steady milk supply, breastfeed on demand whenever you’re not at work. When you’re at home and if possible, stay close to your baby.
What I do is I nurse Raven as soon as I get home and as much as I can at night or during my days off.
I also continue hand expressing even when I’m on off since I no longer have a milk stash at home. What I express during my off will what he’ll have once I go back to work.
- TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF, MOMMIES!
You are making a commitment but you don’t have to be too hard on yourself. Just remember to keep yourself hydrated and relaxed, physically and mentally.
If you noticed that your milk output is dipping, don’t put yourself down. Just continue eating healthily and keep on pumping/nursing. You may also try adding more galactagogues to your diet like malunggay.
It also helps heaps to have a support system. It may be a Facebook group, your co-worker, your mom or even your husband.
There may be some days when you rather have an extended lunch and make kwento with your colleagues or you’ll only have very little milk to bring home. I’ve had my fair share of those and not once did I skipped a pumping session just so I can have a nap. And that’s okay.
Just remember that patience and perseverance are the key to make breastfeeding while working full time work. Happy Breastfeeding, wonder moms!
Do you have any other tips you’d like to add? Do share!