If you’re a breastfeeding mother, going back to work means so much more than just a daily commute to and from the office. Not to mention the stress and separation anxiety that Mum and baby will be going through at the same time!
Some questions that will come into play: Is there a proper place to express milk? Is it sanitary? Will there be a chiller made available?
As always, it’s much easier to approach changes with a plan in mind, as well as some coping strategies. Here are some of our tips on what you can do to make going back to work easier for everyone involved:
Get the support you need
Depending on the Mummy, going back to work after being at home for months can be either a total drag or a welcome change! Either way, make sure that you have the support you need both at home and also in the office.
If you have a domestic helper, prep her at least two weeks before you go back to work about what’s needed. This could be many things: from learning how to give baby a bottle (if baby has been direct latching all this while) to getting your breastpump and bottles ready for you to bring to the office. If your partner and, or baby’s grandparents are the one’s chipping in, make sure you brief them properly too.
Prepare your workplace
Do find out in advance what kind of nursing facilities is available at your workplace. Some organisations that are progressive and pro-family will have dedicated nursing rooms, while others might expect you to book a meeting room on your own. Unfortunately, there may still be some companies that don’t cater for nursing Mums at all, or worse expect Mums to use bathroom facilities.
If your case is the latter, sound out your HR in advance to see what can be done. The Ministry of Health has helpful literature on workplace environment for working mothers and the Singapore National Employers Federation gives funding to companies under their WorkPro Work-Life grant to build lactation facilities.
Don’t forget to make your supervisor aware that you’ll need to excuse yourself once to three times daily during office hours to express milk.
Make sure you have the right equipment
As you’ll be commuting to and from the office, make sure that your nursing equipment is fit, lightweight and durable enough to take on the road.
Hegen multifunction containers are especially useful as they do double duty as both milk storage and feeding bottles as well – no transfer needed. Use them with our PCTO Double Electric Breast Pump, a handy sized device that also promotes relaxation with its nifty kneading feature.
Some nursing Mums have the luxury of having two breast pumps and leave one at work and one at home. Or perhaps you only need your pump at work and direct latch when home. Either way, make sure the arrangement works for you.
Do consider always having some spare containers at work. Many mothers have shared with us how they accidentally forget to bring storage containers to the office and then get stuck when it’s time to express!
Maintain a routine for pumping
It’s easy to get swept away by work demands at the office, but do try your best to keep to regular timings for expression. If you work long hours, you may have to express a few times a day. Many mothers take some time out during lunch to express and add another session in the afternoon or just before heading home, as needed.
Be open to changes
Not everybody can make pumping at work, work! Some do find the whole circus of carting equipment back and forth a chore, while others find it hard to keep up their supply. It could even be the case that you no longer wish to forego post-work social sessions or movie nights because you have to get the milk home.
Of course, there are some Mummies who persevere through it all and see through a year or two of pumping at work.
The point is, everybody is different. Try not to compare yourself with your colleague who is dominating the office freezer with her storage bottles. Make decisions to continue or stop based on what you really want.
PHOTO: Unsplash/Paige Cody