One thing I know I certainly didn’t comprehend before becoming a parent was just how time consuming breast feeding – or pumping – is on your life. Whether you choose to breast feed, formula feed or mix feed is a personal choice, and doesn’t come down to a single factor (for most of us!).
For me, the juggle is real when it comes to mum life, work life and getting the kids to daycare/grand parent care. Add pumping breast milk to the mix, and one can see why for so many Mum’s, continuing to pump through the day once they return to work can be such a challenge. I still remember when my older daughter was 5 months old, after having a relatively smooth feeding journey until then, having to suddenly include formula due to some feeding issues we were having, and then needing to cease feeding her at all at 14 months as I was pregnant with number two, as trying to feed whilst pregnant (and working) got too much.
How fortunate are we that there are quality formulas on the market that allow us to make a choice that works best for us – regardless of all the reasons behind that choice.
Breast milk is often also referred to as ‘liquid gold’, and you can understand why this is, when we use science to investigate the incredible health properties. Breast milk is a dynamic fluid that changes through the course of the day, to match your infant needs. Incredibly, certain nucleotides are present at higher levels through the day to help with optimising energy expenditure, and focus, whilst other compounds are present in larger amounts through the evening to promote sleep. You can read more about these incredible changes in my two previous articles on this topic, hereand here.
Returning to work
For many Mum’s, returning to work is the time when breast feeding significantly lessens, or stops entirely due to practicality measures. For some women, spending half an hour once or more times a day, through the work day means pumping is simply not feasible. Particularly if working from an open plan office.
I know for me, needing to pump at the same time my daughter would be having a feed if she is not around can be particularly challenging, and disruptive, if it is a work day (which lets be fair, IS when she is not with me!). Whilst yes, milk pumped from a different time of day can easily be used (and, lets be fair, sometimes is!), this is not optimal due to the time of day changes seen in breast milk, discussed here.
If you are a Mum in the throws of deciding what to do with feeding your little one once you have returned to work, below are my tips to help you make the right choice, for YOU:
Making feeding easier
- Implement practice sessions with the bottle, with someone else feeding your little one to help get them used to this (I would encourage to do this earlier than later to help with success).
- If choosing to pump, invest in a good quality breast pump, that has a hands free bra so you aren’t tied to the couch holding the pump with your hands.
- If you choose to include formula, spend some time researching the different ones on the market, and choose one that most closely mirrors breast milk, and the changes seen in breast milk as you can.
- If you choose to mix feed, make a flexible plan of when breast milk is likely to be used, and when formula is likely to be used so you aren’t having to figure it out on the spot. For example, if you choose to mix feed, the first ‘daycare day’ of the week may be either frozen milk or formula, with any following days fresh milk that has been pumped that week.
- Remember, whatever you choose, it is up to you – you know what is best for your family better than anyone else.
- If you are struggling, seek help GP, lactation consultant, psychologist, dietitian… your health care team is there to help and support you.
From time to time I write sponsored posts such as this, however views are entirely my own, and I only ever collaborate with companies and brands who resonate with me.