Baby Your Baby: Breastfeeding as a working mom

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A big concern for many new moms when it comes time to return to work is if they’re be able to continue breastfeeding. (Photo: KUTV)
(KUTV) A big concern for many new moms when it comes time to return to work is if they’ll be able to continue breastfeeding. The answer is, yes, but it does require a lot of planning ahead. The first step is having a conversation with your employer and letting them know of your plans to breastfeed.

“They’re very willing to work with me and kind of letting me spend the time,” says Rikki Farnsworth, new mom.

This conversation can take place before baby is even born.

“Utah law requires that employers have a private place where women can pump that is outside of the restroom,” says Susan Stacey, RN, Lactation Consultant at Intermountain Medical Center.

Stacey recommends asking for some flexibility such as a flexible lunch time, flexible hours, or even doing part of their work from home.

The next step is building up your milk supply. As soon as a new mom gets home from the hospital, Stacey encourages pumping AFTER feedings. This will help build an excess amount of milk supply and storage early on. When purchasing a breast pump, check with your insurance because many insurances will cover it.

Another thing to think about is storage.

Will there be a fridge available to store milk or will you need to bring your own cooler?

“Breastmilk is pretty stable. It will last for six hours at room temperature, 24 hours in a cooler, and 6 days in the fridge,” says Stacey.

If it’s kept frozen, it’s good for six months. Remember to date the milk and use the oldest, first.

“We’ve got all of our bags ready at home and then we’ve got storage space in the freezer and then we’ll just pull it out as we need it,” says Rikki.

When using frozen milk, run the bag under warm water, pour it in a bottle, and you’re good to go. Do NOT put it in the microwave.

“Breastmilk is a living substance. It has living cells in it, and if you put it in the microwave, it basically kills it,” says Stacey.

Breastmilk has several immune benefits. Research shows, children who are breastfed for 4-6 months are 75% less likely to get respiratory and ear infections during the first year. It also has some factors that reduce the risk of childhood cancers like leukemia. For mom, breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast cancer by 30%, ovarian, and uterine cancers are also reduced.

For new moms, returning to work and leaving your baby can be really difficult and breastfeeding is one way to maintain that close relationship.

“You can still breastfeed while you’re at home and with the baby and just pump during the hours that you’re away,” says Stacey.

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