Are you eagerly awaiting the arrival of your little one? Maybe you are already experiencing the joys and challenges of life with a new baby. You made an important decision when you chose to breastfeed your baby.
A recent study at Forsyth Memorial Hospital in Winston-Salem, N.C., asked 150 mothers who had just given birth whether they planned to breast-feed or bottle-feed their infants. Sixty- one percent of the women expecting to work full time in the next few months intended to breast-feed, compared with 50 percent of those returning part time and 54 percent of those staying home.
Extensive research has shown that human milk contains the best mix of proteins, lipids and other nutrients for developing infants. This research has proven that breast-fed infants have lower mortality rates, fewer ear infections and allergies and less gastro-intestinal illness than formula-fed babies.
Employers are becoming more and more accepting of breast-feeding moms who need to take time off to pump during the work day. Hundreds of companies provide “lactation programs” that include rooms to breast-feed or pump and break time in which to do it.
Nursing your baby once meant having your baby at your side twenty-four/seven, particularly during the first six to twelve months of life.
This is no longer true. Among today’s working moms, breast pumps allow many women to give their baby the benefits of mother’s milk even when they can’t be together all the time.
Breast pumps are devices designed to help you package your nurturing mother’s milk by expressing your milk, then storing it in the refrigerator to use for bottle feedings later.
The benefits of the modern breast pumps are amazing. They work remarkably well and in the case of the double pumps — which express milk from both breasts simultaneously — the whole process is very quick and easy. Most important, it is making breastfeeding possible for almost every mother and baby.
Several states have legislation in place that requires employers to provide accommodations for breast-pumping or -feeding women. In some areas, that means employers must give women unpaid breaks every 2-3 hours, and some have to provide some type of location — other than a bathroom stall — in which women can pump their breasts.
Some health insurance and medical assistance will pay for a breast-pump purchase — or for a rental. And some community health organizations will lend pumps to low-income moms.
Before you return to work, following maternity leave, follow these tips.
- Talk to your employer or human resources representative about a time and place to pump. Look into your state’s current breast-feeding laws to know your rights.
- If your employer is proving difficult to work with, contact a lactation consultant through your local hospital. He or she will be able to help you find a workable solution.
Women who return to the workplace after having babies are just as likely to breast-feed as their counterparts who stay home, a new University of Florida study finds
You already know that breast milk is the finest nourishment you can offer your baby. Now ease your mind, knowing that there are many options and resources to assist you, once you return to the work place.