Many new mothers face a big decision. Although they are guaranteed leave from their jobs by law (for up to one year), income from employment insurance is less than regular pay amounts. So do they stay home or return to work prior to the end of maternity leave? It’s a challenge for mothers who breastfeed and would like to continue to breastfeed, especially since very few employers provide daycare services.
If you must return to work, but would like to continue to give your baby breast milk, here are things you need to consider:
• How far you travel to and from work.
• How long you will be away from the home on workdays.
• The level of support you have from your employer if you decide to express your milk at work.
• Making sure your child’s caregiver knows how to thaw and feed your baby breast milk from a bottle.
• How your baby’s father and other family members can support you, emotionally and physically, in giving your baby a head start with the advantages only breast milk can provide.
• Shopping, cooking and otherwise helping to run the home are some ways they can help.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
• Frequent feedings are not needed in order to maintain milk supply.
• Even when breastfeeding is cut back to once or twice per day, breasts will keep making milk for several more months.
• When a mother returns to work, the baby can be fed breast milk from a bottle by another caregiver. Then the mother can breastfeed the baby when she returns home from work.
• Breast milk can be frozen. It can be stored for up to three weeks in the freezer – up to six months in a deep freeze. Ask your doctor or public health nurse how to safely thaw and warm the frozen breast milk.