Back to work and feeding
You maybe thinking it’s time to go back to work; what does this mean for you and your baby? You might be thinking this is the end of breastfeeding, but it doesn’t have to be!
You can still breastfeed and return to work. For some this maybe a feed in the morning and one at bed time, for others you may still be pumping during the day for the next day as well as breastfeeding when you are home. Whatever you’d like it’s possible.
With well established breastfeeding your body will cope with the change in routine, being able to carry on breastfeeding will continue the close bond that you have with your baby. This will help comfort and make your baby feel secure within your relationship with each other. For many mothers and babies this would have been the first time you have spent long periods of time away from each other. Being able to feed when you are together will make both of you feel happier with the new situation.
The WHO guidelines are to breastfeed up to two years old to help fight against infections such as gastro-enteritis, respirating infections, urinary tract infections and ear infections as well as long term risks such as eczema, asthma and diabetes. By carrying on feeding even if it’s just the morning and evening feeds will help lower the risk of any of these.
You may want to express during the day, if so you will need to discuss with your employer about a place to express and store the milk. Some larger companies may even have a mother/baby room available to you.
The approved code of practice which has been put in place by the Health and Safety Executives asks employers to provide a suitable facility for mothers to be able to rest and be able to express and store breast milk.
If you are expressing milk through the day here are some helpful tips on storing your milk….
For babies under six months you will need to express enough milk for up to four feeds during the day. After six months if you have introduced solid food you may find the need for breast milk will go down, your baby may just make up for it during the evening and night with an extra feed.
Make sure all equipment is sterilised before expressing, and once you have expressed you will need to store the milk at the back of the fridge to keep it at 4 degrees. When transporting the milk home or to your child’s place of care you will need to keep it chilled in a carrier.
Milk can be stored for up to five days in the fridge and six months in the freezer. When defrosting the milk make sure it slowly defrosts in the fridge and use as soon a possible, you must not re-freeze breastmilk.
Ultimately the goal is to carry on your breastfeeding journey for as long as you would like. For some this is until maternity leave is over, for others this journey is longer. Whatever you choose, we are here to help you navigate through it.