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Posted on Apr 19, 2022

Back To Work Issues for a Working Mom

The WHO,The American Academy of Paediatrics, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists endorse breastfeeding as the gold standard of infant feeding.

In 2009,according to the centers for disease control(CDC), about 50% of women in the workplace have a child at home less than 12 months old.One third returned to work within 3 months of birth and 2/3rds within 6 months.More than half are supplementing the feedings with formula and the duration of breastfeeding is well below the recommended duration.As a consequence,CDC has formulated guidelines for workplace safety for working mothers who wish to express breastfeeding milk In March 2011,federal law amended Section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act to require employer to provide”reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for 1 year after the child’s birth”. But the gaps such as this are moving at a fast pace in the indian scenario. The given 3 months maternity leave is just not enough for the young one. Moreover very few work places have creches and breast feeding rooms. Above all our public places also dont have rooms for the young mothers, to feed their young ones. Please note the absence at the metro stations, railway stations, airports and most importantly the malls and the restaurants.

Breastfeeding During Employment

The Separation

The separation adversely affects the psychology and physiology of lactation. Following are the aspects to elaborate the adverse effects:

  • A decrease in the frequency of nursing
  • Breastfeeding engorgement
  • Unsatisfied needs of the baby
  • The anxiety and fatigue inhibits the let-down reflex
  • The infant must adapt to another caregiver

New suckling techniques and an unfamiliar infectious agents found in day care settings.Therefore,it is not surprising that formula feeding is viewed as an improvement in mothers’ lives, but it does create feelings of inadequacy and quilt in some women.

Breastfeeding During Employment 

Preparation,milk storage and choice of childcare are the cornerstones to easy adaptation to employment.

Preparation :-

Pre employmemt changes in lifestyle to accommodate the increased stresses.Lactation should be well established with frequent nursing(10 to
14 times per day)and no supplementation prior to return to work. About 2 weeks prior to work, mother should change her nursing schedule at home.During the workday,she should express or pump her breasts 2 to 3 times a day,while increasing her nursing with short,frequent feeds before and after work times.The infant is fed bottles of stored breast milk by a different person in different place to allow it to adapt more easily.

Day Care Arrangements :-

Important points to be taken into consideration are:

  • Is the sitter a mother herself?
  • Does the sitter have experience with nursing babies?
  • Is the mother welcome to use the childcare site for a midday nursing?
  • Does the day -care center provide in arm feeding,or does it use high chairs and propped bottle-feedings?
  • Is the time and activity of center  flexible to mother or infant needs and requests or is highly structured and rigid?

Before you finalise on the baby sitter or a creche, please follow and ask the above mentioned questions.

Some Helpful Suggestions :-

  • Use labor saving devices,division of domestic chores
  • Take naps and frequent rest periods to conserve energy
  • Pumping…manual and/or mechanical should be performed more frequently(2 to 3 times) in the first 6 months postpartum.
  • Cyclic electric pumps produce the most milk with least amount of nipple trauma.6.Water -driven pumps are both cheap and relatively effective.
  • Bringing the infant’s bed into the parent’s room

Storage :-

The contamination does not increase significantly for up to 6 hours after expression,when milk is stored at room temperature  or stored under refrigeration for 10 hours.FRESHLY REFRIGERATED MILK SHOULD BE USED WITH IN 2 DAYS. Four to six Oz of human milk can be frozen in partially filled resealable plastic bags.Milk will keep for 2 to 4 weeks in the refrigerator freezer and upto 6 months in a freezer set at 0 degree F.The milk should be thawed quickly in warm tap water.Frozen milk shouldn’t be thawed in the microwave,as the heating is uneven and severe oral burns have been reported.After it is thawed it should be used within 6 to 8 hours. Formula feed lacks components including defences against infection,hormones and enzymes to aid digestion,polyunsaturated fatty acids,which are necessary for optimum brain growth,and adequate composition for efficient digestion.Breastfeeding assures more health benefits  for mother,including improved postpartum weight loss,less premenopausal breast cancer,lower rate of diabetes mellitus,lower rate of cardiovascular disease and better mother-infant bonding.