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Combining breastfeeding and working: not easy but possible!

 

My maternity leave is coming to an end and I would like to continue breastfeeding my baby. Is it possible to be both a working girl and a supermum? How should I go about organising myself? What does the law say?

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017

Going back to work and continuing to breastfeed is a challenge. Double the workload, baby blues after having spent several months living in symbiosis with your baby, tiredness, stress: everything would seem to suggest that now is the time to stop breastfeeding. However, with a little determination and a lot of organisation, you can continue to breastfeed your baby. It is worth the effort, both for your baby and for yourself, and prolongs the intimate relationship between mother and child once the mother has returned to work.

A lot of work to do before going back to work!

Start by making friends with the breast pump, your key ally. About two weeks before the big day, substitute one breastfeed with a cup  of your own breast milk, every other day at first then each day.. The amount of milk you produce will naturally adapt to this change in rhythm.

One piece of advice: the week before your go back to work, express breast milk when you have too much of it (often in the morning) or in between feeds during the day. That way, you will have seven feeds in advance, which you can freeze.

A new routine

Once you have returned to work, try to express breast milk in the evenings, as you may be pushed for time in the mornings. Carry the  expressed breast milk in a cool bag or cool box. Put it in the refridgerator as soon as you arrive at the childminder's house or nursery. At work, depending on what you have arranged with your employer, express your milk somewhere quiet, away from prying eyes and if possible at regular times. This ritual will help you to relax and therefore facilitate letdown. If you are fortunate enough to work near your child, take advantage of your lunch  hour  to breastfeed your baby.
Otherwise, try to keep up the evening feed, the best anti-stress solution in the world!
The symbiosis which existed at the beginning between you and your baby will gradually evolve into a new relationship, just as intense but more open to the rest of the world.

Beware of unslightly leaks!

In order to avoid embarassing milk stains, always have a spare bra and top at work. Also invest in or disposable breast pads, which you should change regularly throughout the day and after expressing milk. This may all seem a little out of place in the context of your work, but it is important that you are fully equiped with all the breastfeeding accessories you will need!

What the law says

Kenyan members of parliament have approved a bill that will make it mandatory for employers to provide breastfeeding stations for nursing mothers in the workplace.

Companies will now set up breastfeeding stations, law: https://t.co/NjMXuo7njc #AfyaKenya

— Afya Kenya (@afya_kenya) March 30, 2016

The provision is part of a health bill that was proposed in 2015.

Under the provision, employers will be required to establish feeding stations with all the necessary facilities to ensure that breastfeeding experience for lactating mothers is comfortable.

The bill also states that employers shall grant all nursing employees break intervals in addition to the regular times off for meals to breastfeed or express milk

 

Opinion

Estelle, mother of Emile, 3 and a half months old

"I went back to work this week. I enjoyed telling my colleagues all about the last few months, during the coffee breaks and over lunch in the canteen (the birth, breastfeeding, finding childcare, etc.). I was really happy to see them all and catch up. Well, at least at first! Now, every time I leave Emile with the childminder I feel a twinge of regret. I tell myself that this is how it should be, and I admit it does me good to see people and get back into a professional role! As for Emile, he's very happy with his new friend! All in all, I think the nostalgia will soon pass ".

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