August 01, 2023 3 min read
Have you found yourself pondering over questions like, "How do I maintain my milk supply when I return to work?" or "Should I continue pumping?"
Perhaps you are also wondering if you can count on the support of your colleagues when it comes to expressing milk for your baby. These thoughts are likely to have crossed your mind since the anticipation of welcoming your little one.
Mummy Shermaine wearing Skye Pump Bra.
Rest assured, while it may not be an easy journey, it is certainly achievable.
In collaboration with Breastfeeding Mothers Support Group, Singapore (BMSG), we have sought their expertise to shed light on five common breastfeeding and pumping challenges faced by working mums, along with practical strategies to overcome them.
Challenge #1: My employer and colleagues do not understand why I need to express milk.
Breastfeeding is a personal choice as a parent. It is important to share with your employers and colleagues why breastfeeding is important to you.
Research has shown that employees who have supportive environments at work tend to be more productive and loyal to their employers (resource). Educate them about the benefits and reassure them that your pumping breaks will not hinder your productivity, just like how colleagues take smoke or tea breaks.
Challenge #2: Nature of my work does not allow me to pump regularly.
Consider using hands-free pumps, especially during your maternity leave.
Learn the art of hand expression if setting up pumps takes too much time. It can be done anywhere with clean hands and a bottle to collect your milk. Adjust your pumping schedule to fit in freer times, such as before work, during breaks, and before heading home. If necessary, pump a few more times at home to ensure an optimal milk supply for your baby.
Challenge #3: I travel all the time.
Breastfeeding mums can travel for work!
The key is to maintain a consistent pumping schedule. Ensure you have access to freezing facilities and invest in a good quality cooler bag to transport your breast milk. Properly wrap and insulate frozen breast milk when checking it in during travels.
Check out our video '6 tips for pumping on the go' for additional tips.
Challenge #4: I feel like I am losing sleep.
Feeling overwhelmed with breastfeeding and expressing milk after work is normal. Remember that breastfeeding is not just about nutrition but also a time to reconnect with your baby and rest.
Prioritize your sleep by going to bed early to get a few hours of good rest before the baby wakes up for feeds or if you need to express milk at night.
Enlist the help of your partner or family members for middle-of-the-night chores, allowing you to catch up on sleep. Use weekends to catch up on sleep with longer naps and sleep-ins.
Challenge #5: I can't keep up with my baby's intake.
Struggling to produce enough milk can be distressing. Check if your baby is being fed using paced bottle feeding by caregivers to avoid overfeeding. Ensure you're not delaying or missing pumping sessions as consistency is key.
Stress, fatigue, and worries can affect milk letdown, so prioritize self-care. Regularly check your pump and replace worn-out parts to maintain optimal efficiency.
As babies grow and rely more on solids, they may drink less milk, which is normal. Remember that breast milk remains nutritious, and when babies are eating regularly, they can depend on food and water when you are at work.
Remember, pumping while working may have its challenges, but with perseverance and the right strategies, you can overcome them.
Stay strong, seek support from your loved ones, and don't hesitate to reach out to communities like the Breastfeeding Mothers Support Group or lactation consultants for help.
You got this, and we at Lovemère are here to support you every step of the way on your breastfeeding and pumping journey.
Thank you BMSG for sharing these common challenges that mums are experiencing.
BMSG will be collaborating with the Association for Breastfeeding Advocacy Singapore - ABAS this 26th August 2023 @ KK Women's and Children's Hospital to celebrate #WorldBreastfeedingWeek!
Join them for a day of educational talks on breastfeeding by doctors and IBCLCs, shopping from partner vendors, babywearing demo and fitness, baby- and child-friendly activities, as well as goodie bags and lucky draws.
FREE SIGN UP: bit.ly/ABAS_WBW2023
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