Breastfeeding is hard when you have a new baby. For working mums in Singapore, you are entitled to four months paid maternity leave before you have to head back to the office and then a whole other set of breastfeeding problems kick in like where to pump your breastmilk at work, boob leaks, engorged breasts, storing and handling breastmilk and even a drop in milk supply. But don’t despair mummy! These are the benefits of continuing to breastfeed after you return to work:
- Provide the best nutrition for your baby
- Make it possible to keep breastfeeding when you are together
- Keep a special closeness to your baby even when you must be apart
- Save money
- Avoid the health risks associated with formula feeding
- Miss less work, because breastfed babies are sick less
So what exactly is the problem with breastfeeding at work? Why not just give your baby the bottle? Ah, if only it were that simple…
Breastfeeding Struggles For First Time Mums
Charlotte* is a first time Mum who is facing a huge dilemma as she prepares to head back to work at the end of the month; she is exclusively breastfeeding her newborn daughter.
“My daughter is 5-months-old, and financially I have to go back to work,” says Charlotte.
“After trying for months to get my daughter to prepared for drinking my expressed milk in a bottle… she just will not take a bottle. My boob is, therefore, her only source of nutrient and I feel insanely guilty leaving her to go back to work.”
Charlotte is a teacher, and her strict breastfeeding breaks will take place over recesses and lunch.
“I am gutted that I have to go back to work, a process which is stressful enough on its own, and now my entire days will be structured around pumping breast milk for a child who refuses the bottle,” Charlotte finishes.
Common Concerns When Breastfeeding At Work
Amelia* is a nurse and agrees that time frames add to the pressure of young mums going back to work. “I went back to work while breastfeeding and had to express in a cubicle on a time limit, was hard work,” she says.
The best way to get around this is to simply talk to your employer and come up with solutions together. You may think there is nothing in the world more mortifying than saying the word “breast” in front of your boss, but if this is going to work for you, you’ll have to do it at least once.
It may be that many women have pumped at work before you, and all you need to do is arrange your break times with your boss. Or, you may be the one paving the way, and you’ll have to convince your boss that allowing you time to pump is a wise economic decision for his or her bottom line.
Truthfully, breastfeeding at work and away from you baby is never going to be an easy process, but with the right information and support it can certainly be less painful. Here are some tips that may help some of you: