The Top 10 Breastfeeding Do's and Don'ts for Working Moms
To be focused at work and give your 100% when delivering your daily tasks is one thing, but to be a breastfeeding mom at the same time, is a whole other thing!
As a woman, we have to be proud because we're given the ability and capability to do or to be more than one thing at a time. One of them is to be a fully committed career woman, and mother! If you decide to be a breastfeeding mom, I suggest you pay attention until the end of this article, I promise it will be encouraging!
Breastfeeding is more than just merely feeding your child to keep them alive because you always have other options for that! Breastfeeding is also about bonding, understanding your child better, understanding yourself better, and also understanding what motherhood is all about. As a breastfeeding mom myself, I don't want to sugarcoat anything, because it is not always pretty, the journey is full of ups and downs, and it fully depends on us whether we want to be positive or not.
So without any further due, here are the top 10 breastfeeding do's and don'ts for working moms.
1. Read more from the beginning of your pregnancy
If you are still or haven't got pregnant but already reading this article, then congratulations! You already one step ahead. Reading about breastfeeding how-to(s) is essential for us so we don't get overwhelmed easily when the child is already born, because if we are reading it when we already have the child (especially your firstborn) we don't have much time to digest the material because we will be so caught up with the daily task. Many breastfeeding moms (including myself) got too caught up about labor that we forgot what comes after that, which is the breastfeeding itself. So it is better that you join classes or simply read a lot of information from the beginning of your pregnancy.
2. Consume breastfeeding vitamins
Either in a form of tablets or breastfeeding milk, I strongly suggest you consume it during the final trimester of your pregnancy. We can never know if we can produce a sufficient amount of breastmilk or not and neither we know how much milk our baby will consume. So, preparations are key, one of them is to consume vitamins that can boost your breastmilk production. The most common misconception is to consume breastfeeding vitamins and booster after you gave labor, while this is a little bit too late after we give labor, there is so much thing to do with our baby so we might not have the time to browse the right vitamins for us or try several delicious breastfeeding milk supplement. So I strongly suggest doing your research way before your due date.
3. Get the best breast pump
Whether you are a full stay-at-home mother or a working mom, a breast pump is very important for breastfeeding moms. It is a way for you to measure your milk production so you know if you produce a sufficient amount of milk for your baby. Also, we can't always direct-breastfeed our baby, I can guarantee there will be many occasions where you can't just be near to your baby, for example: going to a relative's wedding ceremony, you got sick, you have to be somewhere instantly, among others. When this happens, your milk supply is what will help you part with your baby for a while. Get yourself the best breast pump! It will be a good investment for your 2 years breastfeeding journey as the better breast pump you have, the more comfortable you are and the more efficient time you will spend.
4. Plan your pumping schedule and tell your boss ahead of time
When you came back from your maternity leave, the first thing that you have to make it straight with your boss is no matter what, you are not the same person like it used to be. Not in terms of professionality of course, but in terms of how you would spend your daily job at work. You might come early, leave early, you might be excused for not attending a couple of office gatherings, and the most obvious one is you will be not at your desk for 1-2 hours per day because you have a pumping time that you need to do. To make everything comfortable between you and your boss, make sure you prepared your pumping schedule ahead of time and discuss it with your boss in advance. That way, you both already have the same expectations and no side will be disappointed.
5. Don't compromise your pumping time
When you already a pumping schedule, I strongly suggest not compromise it in any circumstances. There are many reasons why you shouldn't, one of them is to maintain your milk supply and it is for your own health too! Once you break the schedule and even worse, skipping your pumping time, it will ruin how your body produces the milk. Milk is all about supply and demand, the more demand you make (baby feeding time, pumping time) the more your body will supply the milk. So if you don't want to experience milk production shrinkage, don't ever compromise your pumping time.
6. Don't worry about that excessive fat
You might notice that your belly is different, your thigh is bigger, your cheek is puffier after you give labor. But you shouldn't worry about that, the more you breastfeed, the more calories you burn and the more fat you will lose. Don't force yourself into a non-healthy diet that will be a risk for your breast milk quality, instead, follow a breastfeeding diet that is tailored specifically for breastfeeding moms. Plus, if you do your own house chores without any help or nanny, I'm pretty sure that fat will be gone in no time.
7. Direct breastfeed whenever you can
I know giving your baby your breastmilk inventory even though you are at home can be tempting since you will be able to do me time and binge-watch all your watchlist. But since half of your time to do bonding with your baby is missing because you have to kick-ass at the office, you somehow need to make it up to it. Don't you want to have that special bond with your baby? To look at them close up and personal and just have that precious quality time? If you do want it, direct breastfeeding is one of the ways to achieve that level of bonding. So, use your time wisely.
8. Plan your breast milk storage management
The other management stuff that you have to do is how you will store your breast milk and how much you will need to express your milk daily. This is correlating with knowing how much milk intake that your baby needs. Being aware of your baby feeding schedule and feeding amount helps you to know how much milk you should produce and how many bags you should leave in the fridge daily. The other thing that you need to consider is how you are going to store the breast milk, is it using a plastic bag? glass bottle? or you have another way to do it.
9. Let everyone close to you know that you are a breastfeeding mom
Let me tell you this, breastfeeding moms should not be ashamed of who they are. Let us walk in pride and let everyone know that you are a breastfeeding mom. We should not be ashamed to carry those extra nursery bags and be seen in front of a lot of people, we shouldn't be worry if we decide to wear something that is more comfortable for breastfeeding mom, you will know if you are in the right environment (the environment that supports working mom) when you show your true self. The right environment will not reject you but will welcome you will open arms.
10. Be Happy
The magic formula for all breastfeeding moms, happiness. Without it, not only we will lose our minds, but we will also lose our milk production. No kidding, you can check many scientific articles that pointing to the facts that happiness can lead to the amount of breast milk production. This why working in a supporting environment while doing what you love is very important to keep both roles fulfilled. Unhappiness can lead to many downturns for a breastfeeding mom, even a slight grudge or hate can affect both the physical and mental health of breastfeeding moms.
That's a list of breastfeeding dos and don'ts that I managed to gather based on my personal experience as a full-time mom and career woman. I know it is not always rainbows and butterflies, but it is how we make peace with ourselves and our surroundings. Talk to your partner as much as you can, let them involved in your process of becoming a mother, and also help to make a process to becoming a better father. You can go fast if you are alone, but you can go far when you are together.