Thanks for hopping over from #PositiveAboutBF and welcome to my post for the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt Day 4 Working and Breastfeeding sponsors today include Feed Me Mummy with a black and white vest combo, Thrupenny Bits who are offering a cute cord in blue breastfeeding cushion and Kids Bee Happy who are offering your choice of sand art picture for our Grand Prize winner. Over £700 worth of goodies are up for grabs entries via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.
Breastfeeding is great, until you have to go back to work, does working and breastfeeding work? It did for me but I am lucky.
Today most Mums work, it is rare that a family can survive on just one income which means Mum usually has to go back to work. The usual maternity leave is 12 months, but you are very lucky if your maternity pay will pay you a living income for the full 12 months. Statutory maternity pay is very low and if you have a mortgaged linked to two incomes you may have to go back to work sooner than you feel ready for.
Breastfeeding after a year off work
The 12 month maternity leave means that you are well past the minimum 6 months recommended breastfeeding period and most children will be getting most of their nutrients from food by this time. This makes breastfeeding when going back after a year a lot easier, your child will have naturally cut down on how much they feed and will not be relying on you as much. You can leave the with a nursery or childminder either with expressed milk or even cows milk after a year. I found I was only breastfeeding morning, afternoon and night by a year so going back to work was quite easy, leaving expressed milk or cows milk for the afternoon feed, and some days I’d be back for the afternoon feed.
Going back to work early
With both my children I had to to back to work by 6 months, this is because I have my own business so I was needed to help run things with my husband and make money.
I found continuing breastfeeding very hard, luckily (I suppose) neither of my children were naturals at breastfeeding from the start so they needed help learning to latch on. This meant they got used to a bottle and a boob from an early age and happily went from one to the other. Although my daughter would not take a bottle if I was in the room.
By 5 months neither child was weaned so they were fully reliant on milk and were at the stage where they needed a lot. This meant expressing in the toilet at work to keep my supply up. I did find I had to supplement with formula when I went back to work so when that happened they were not exclusively breastfed but I did keep it up and expressed when possible.
It could be a bit embarrassing when at work as my boobs did tend to leak a bit and I work in an office full of men so they really didn’t know what to make of it. I had to have extra pads to stop my tops getting soaked through – the things we do for our babies!
Breastfeeding friendly workplaces
Me and my husband have our own business so our workplace is whatever we want it to be, I could bring my pump into work and take multiple breaks to express. I could also use flexitime and worked from home where possible, this meant being around for more feeds.
At first I only went back to work part time, this meant I only had 2 days of being uncomfortable and this didn’t affect my milk much at all. However as time goes on I had to do more hours.
Society puts pressures on mums to breastfeed and work but as yet their is little in place to help them do this. Some mums have to commute long hours to get to work, extending the days meaning back to work is often the end of breastfeeding.
I’d like to hear more about working Mums breastfeeding, did you continue to breastfeed after going back to work? Was your employer supportive? Have you any tips?
For more positive feeding in public experiences please hop on over to Musings From A Northern Village where you can gain further entries into the grand prize draw. Full terms and conditions can be found on the Keeping Britain Breastfeeding website. UK residents only.