Home Breast Feeding For Working Mothers
Breast feed your baby for at least the first 5-6 months of life. Most mothers may have to return to work before this period is reached. So, how do you continue to breast feed your baby? Your employer may provide a nursery where your baby and other babies can stay. In that case, by all means take your baby with you to work. If this is not possible, you can give expressed breast milk to your baby. Here’s a rough guide as to how you can do it:
When to start expressing your breast milk
Start to practise expressing your breast milk one or two weeks before resuming work. You can do this at any convenient time.
By the end of the two weeks practice, you may find that you can collect about four bottles of expressed milk with 70 – 90ml of milk per bottle daily.
How to store expressed breast milk
- After feeding, any excess milk can be expressed and stored in a clean container or bottle.
- You can also express and store milk between feeds if you find that your breasts are full or if they are leaking.
- With practice, you will get an idea of how much milk you will have to leave behind.
- It is important for you to express your milk every 3 – 4 hours once you are back to work. The expressed milk should be kept and brought home to be given to your baby on the next day.
How to use stored breast milk
- Immediately after expressing breast milk into a clean container, store it in a refrigerator or ice box. This milk should be used within 24 – 48 hours.
- If no refrigerator or ice box is available, you can store your expressed milk in a cool place for up to 8 hours.
- Never add freshly expressed milk to previously stored milk.
In order to maintain your milk supply, you must either breast feed or express milk at least every 3 hours. Therefore, continue to breast feed your baby after office, at night and the days you are not working and remember to express milk when you are at the office.
How to express
- Before use, let the breast milk return to room temperature. If necessary, place the container with the breast milk in a bowl of warm water.
- Never boil breast milk.
- In case your work takes you away from home for a few days, you can freeze your expressed milk in small quantities. To thaw this milk, hold the container under running water. Then, gradually warm the milk in a bowl of hot water till it reaches room temperature. Never refreeze or refrigerate thawed milk.
- Allow the person who will be looking after your baby to practice feeding your baby your expressed breast milk.
- Place the thumb on the areola above the nipple and the other fingers on the areola below the nipple, opposite the thumb.
- Press the thumb and finger inwards towards the chest wall.
- Now press the areola behind the nipple between finger and thumb. Press the areola from the sides to ensure that milk is expressed from all segments of the breast.