I want to make a firm stand that working moms can continue with their aim to exclusively breastfeed their little ones. Some people have this misconception that once a mom decides to go back to work they have to discontinue giving liquid gold to their precious little ones. Some go as far as telling moms to pick between their career and breastfeeding (believe me I have read some comments like these). That is where I want to jump in and say that it is possible to do both.
I would be lying if I say that it is a walk in the park. That doing both is as simple as typing words in your laptop. No, it is hard work and it needs dedication. Let’s emphasize the word DEDICATION. That is what you need to be able to accomplish this goal of breastfeeding and working at the same time. Again, not impossible but not easy.
You might ask me, what makes me qualified to share that statement. I am a working mom who is still breastfeeding my little one for almost 15 months now. She is not showing any signs of weaning and I am not stopping her any time soon. I will allow her to wean on her own time. Now back to working and breastfeeding.
It is hard, and you would have a lot of things to consider when you do continue providing your little one. You would have to answer questions such as:
- Will you still direct latch?
- Will you be an exclusive pumper or would you switch between cupfeeding or bottles and then direct latch when you are at home?
- Will you hand express or use a pump?
- Will you buy a manual pump or an electric pump?
- Will you build your stash using bottles or breastmilk bags?
- If you choose breastmilk bags, which specific bag will guarantee you no spills of your liquid gold?
- When should you start building your stash before you go home?
- How can you keep your supply up?
- How often do you need to pump per day?
- How do you plan to bring home your milk? Especially if you are living far away or you have attend a business out of town trip?
That’s a lot right? I personally can answer each for you but at the end of the day it will have to be your choice. But believe me it is possible. I have heard of other moms who have survived breastfeeding and working for more than 2 years. But believe me it takes dedication.
There will be times when your supply will go down, because of stress or self-doubt. This happened to me just yesterday when I doubted my capacity to produce milk for Bunny. My output from the usual 4 – 5 oz dropped to 2 oz.
There will be times when you would forget to pump. I am guilty of this whenever I get too absorbed in what I do that I forget to check what time it is. Sometimes my boob will hurt but I would put it off because I am stuck in a meeting.
There will be times when my milk stash will be not enough for her daily needs. This is a nightmare, because you would have to rush home (think of Manila traffic) and time yourself. That or you would have to stay up at midnight or set an alarm to pump extra even if you have a sleeping baby latched to one of your boobies.
There will be times when you just want to quit, because let’s just be honest, sometimes it gets tiring. Physically and emotionally you would feel tired from providing and pressured to take home 3 to 4 bags per day to cover for her needs.
But it will all be worth it, because you know in your heart that you are providing what you think is best for your little one. I still breastfeed because I know that it is what she needs and the bond we have is stronger. Even if I am away for 10-12 hours per day, going home and being welcomed by a tiny human who only wants to latch on reminds me that it is all worth it. All of my efforts are not wasted because she smiles back when she’s latching or when she’s drinking milk from her bottle. She smiles with satisfaction as if saying that she knows I am there with her because she has my liquid gold.
It is possible to do both, believe me, but you need to want to provide. You need to put in all of your effort for this goal that you have. Never compare yourself to other moms who also do the same. Never compare your stash or your output because her little one’s needs are different from that of yours.
It is possible, because you are protected by the law. Republic Act 10028 or the Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act states that:
- Your workplace should establish lactation stations
- This lactation station should have
- Area for hand washing
- Plug for electric pumps
- Comfy chairs
- Refrigiration for storing of your expressed milk
- You as a breastfeeding mother are entitled to break periods when you can pump and store your milk
- This is aside from your normal break periods
- Should not be less than 40 mins per 8 working hours
- This lactation station should have
It is possible if you believe in yourself and if you keep a positive attitude. Push through and just think of the positive effects it has for your baby. No matter how long you choose to breastfeed your baby, whether 6 months, a year, 2 years, or beyond know that you have the capacity to do so.