19 April 2018

BREASTFEEDING TIPS FOR WORKING MOTHERS


"It's been a month since I started working again and being a new mother who breastfeeds sure isn't an easy task. No matter how stressful it could be sometimes, its a move I'm willing to make for my son and here are some tips for you mothers who are in the same boat as me."
Well obviously if you've been following me, you've known that was ages ago. Yes, it was, I wanted to post this out while I was still working but didn't quite have the time to finish the last part of this post, so I'm continuing it now while it's still fresh in mind. So if you're a mother and going to start work soon but still want to continue breastfeeding, this post is for you.


Keep in mind that once you come back to the office, your normal routine will change and there are some sacrifices to be made. No matter how tired you get, try to think of the positive side. That's what I used to do. The first few days are going to be very uncomfortable especially if your office isn't equipped with all the necessities that you need. Just bare with it and try to adjust to what makes you comfortable, sooner or later you'll just get used to it. Before I proceed to the tips, let's get things straight because some of you might not know this.

For breastfeeding mothers that your little one doesn't latch directly, you'll need to at least pump every 2 hours to avoid swollen breasts. Which means at least 4 times during working hours, pumping once doesn't help, it'll just make you suffer from pain and causes your milk to drop. You'll need quite a number of stored milk once you start working and at that time you'll realise how precious one drop of milk is to you.


So to make it easier for you, here is something for your heads up based on my experience.

1. Discuss Pumping Sessions
This is very very very important because you'll be taking working hours to pump. Discuss with your boss and HR on your pumping sessions and work on something to fit your pumping style. Because not everyone has the same pumping style. Some may have fully engorged breast in just 1 hours so please don't compare yourself to other mothers. I was lucky as my boss and HR was very understanding, but I was still a bit uncomfortable when I had to be out of my workstation. My breast gets engorged quite quickly because when I'm at work I'll only get to see my baby on weekends so I'm unable to direct feed the whole week so pumping doesn't help to get all the milk out hence I'll need to pump frequently. If I miss a session, it'll get super uncomfortable and painful. Luckily my environment was very understanding of me missing most of the time.


2. A Good Breastpump
There are so many breast pumps to choose from which differs in sizes and shape. Some may run on direct current, batteries and there are also rechargeable ones. For me, I'm using Pigeons Breastpump Pro. Even though it runs on direct current, I prefer this better because of the easy customization which makes pumping much faster with satsifying result since. Since pumping requires you to take some time from your working hours, you wouldn't feel comfortable taking that much time off, at least I know I am.


Even if you're uncomfortable, you'll still have to let at least 10mins a pumping session for each side if you want to still provide milk to your infant. 10 mins are already long enough, but if you're on a single pump like me, I'll have to take 20 mins for a pumping session.


That's why I also use this silicon manual pump on the other side to collect milk while pumping the other side. Why do I do that? Well usually I'll take within 15 minutes each side at home to fully clear my breast every hour so it doesn't get engorged but I can't take that much time at work. So to lessen the time I try to get as much milk out as possible since I can only pump within several hours once. If you're using a double pump it'll be much easier and could lessen your pumping time, so if you haven't bought your breast pump yet, you could start looking for 2 pumps straight away.
Remember it's always important to make sure you pump at least every hour to avoid engorgement and generate enough supply for your baby. If you pump once a day, just better quit breastfeeding as you'll just be hurting and tiring yourself. Just try finding a suitable formula for your kid, cause you know, formula milk isn't something bad okay. I was fully fed by formula and I grew up well and healthy.


3. A Cooler Bag
This is necessary for breastfeeding mothers especially if your office doesn't have a fridge. Freshly pumped milk could actually last within 6 hours after pumped at room temperature but it's safer to keep your milk stored in a closed and chilled area. You may not know the conditions of your working environment, it might not be as hygienic as you think. So it's better to take extra precautions. There are so mamy types of cooler bags out there so you'll be able to choose to your preference. For me, I'm already comfortable with Pigeon's Fridge-To-Go Milk Bag. It sleek, stylish and able to carry up to 6 bottles of milk in 1 go.





Since my office doesn't have a fridge, a pantry or even a pumping area its kind of difficult to keep on washing my pump every pumping session so what I do is I store my pumping bottle in the cooler bag so I don't have to wash it every time I pump at work. It saves the time and hassle as well. Thank goodness the bag is quite big on the inside as I'm even able to put my pumping bottle along with 4 milk bottles and 4 ice bags as well. I even keep milk bags at the side pockets just in case I pumped more milk, which could then still be stored in the bag. This kinda amazes me as from the outside it looks small and compact. I even love that the strap could be detached easily as I commute to work by public transport and carrying more than one bag sometimes is a hassle. What I do is that I clip the strap to my carry on bag so I don't forget about it. LOL... Since I gave birth I became a bit forgetful at times. The only downside to this bag is that their ice cooler is not really convenient. It adds the load once I have a bag full of milk and it doesn't really stay frozen for half a day, but that was easy replaced with reusable ice packs.


4. Reusable Ice Packs

Honestly, I didn't know at first that there are reusable ice packs for breastmilk. I went on Shopee to look if there was anyone selling gel ice bags. Before that, I used to buy packs of ice to put in my cooler bag but it's not very convenient as the ice is heavy, leaks once melted and don't keep the milk cool long enough. Once I discovered ice packs it was like a holy grail. Its lighter than ice and could last up to 8 hours. I use 4 of them in my cooler bag so and it lasts from morning until I get home in the evening. Sometimes is still chilled even if I arrive home quite late.


5. Nursing Cloth + Nursing Bras
One of the things milking mothers have to bear with is pumping in an open area as not all places provide milking rooms. This is actually kinda sad since our country encourages breastfeeding but there are not many facilities for milking mothers, you can only use these facilities in big shopping malls or hypermarkets. I only noticed this problem when I started to become a working mother and finding a place to pump was so hard. That's why I needed to make pumping easy but still able to get my body parts covered. Nursing bras are a must since you can open your cup easily from the front while a nursing cloth helps you to cover up easily when you want to put your pump in place. I carry a nursing cloth everywhere now, with or without a baby as I find that pumping also requires you to lift your shirt up. With a nursing cloth, you won't have to worry about anyone seeing your body as its big enough to cover it up.


6. Milk Collector / Breast pads
I first knew about breast pads when Pigeon sent me their breast pads and I only started to use them when I started working. Leaking is nothing strange for breastfeeding mothers already and I usually get that if I don't pump in time. Once it does start to leak, it gets very uncomfortable because you're now wearing a wet bra. I forgot to wear breast pads on my first day of work and I couldn't really focus the whole day, I just felt like taking off my bra. ;/ With breast pads, it does keep the bra dry but I noticed it's painful when I wear my bra for too long, not because it's too tight but because of my nipples. I don't know how to name it but my nipples couldn't be pressed for too long. That's when I had to look for another solution so I could keep dry and ease the pain. I then found about Milk Collector through Shopee. It has a hole in the middle which is meant for your nipples, and since the shell is quite hard, it doesn't press down your nipples once you wear your bar. The first time I used it I was surprised at how much milk I wasted. Combined it could reach up to 1oz but be prepared for a wet bra as well if you leak a lot of milk and don't discard it as soon as you feel your milk leaking. I experienced that most of the time but I still have to use it because of my nipples. It helps soothes the nipples and its comfortable enough for me to wear the shell, the only thing I couldn't stand was the wet bra. After a while, I changed back to breast pads once my nipples were okay. I just couldn't stand wet bras especially if it's because of milk. Once you sweat, you'll smell like sour milk all day.

7. Milk Storage Bottles & Bags
I think I mentioned these a couple of times in this post already. Milk storage bottles and bags are a must for breastfeeding. Even if you don't work it's better if you have these items so you could store your milk just in case something happens to you. If you're pumping, it's easy to have milk storage bottle that goes with your pump. So once you finished pumping, you could avoid the hassle of transferring the milk into another bottle by simply adding a lid on. Milk storage bags are not really convenient to bring to work as it may tend to leak easily but it's an option if you suddenly produce more milk than expected and don't have enough bottles to store it in. The bright side of it, you'll eventually have to transfer the milk in milk bottles to bags anyways, so once you reach home you can instantly store it in your freezer.

8. Baby Bag as Working Bag
I'm not sure about you but I find this a big help. Thank goodness I don't have to carry a laptop to work so basically I can just come to work with my purse only. I'm using a baby bag which is also a stroller bag to work which eventually I made it into my everyday bag now. 


I'm using Doona's Stroller bag and if you haven't heard about it, I'm planning to do a blog post on this soon because this stroller is one of a kind and super duper helpful. Anyways, I chose to use my stroller bag as my baby bag because it's not too big and not too small, it has all the compartments I need and I could put all the baby stuff inside and find it with ease. Even though my baby is not with me, I have all the things I need to breastfeed inside the bag as well, so rather than having the hassle of switching bags, I prefer to just use only 1 bag. Sometimes we tend to forget stuff we need to use in another bag and that really spoils the mood.

That's pretty much it, again I remind you that these are only suggestions from my experience. Your experience might be different than mine. Feel free to share your experience as well as it'll be helpful to other mothers who will be stepping back to work again.

Till then peeps

2 comments:

  1. Nice sharing... But I can pump two times during working because my day full schedule class with my students...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At least you're trying your best so that's good enough. Sometimes we can't really avoid our schedule, totally understand that.

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