Women can be mothers and be part of the workforce all at the same time. This can be overwhelming at first when nursing mothers work, but with the proper priorities and the help of mother-baby friendly laws, this feat of juggling mommy time and work is highly attainable.
According to the website Women’s Health, businesses in America support nursing mothers at work due to an improvement in Return of Investment (ROI). Health care costs lowered, absenteeism dropped (since the babies are healthier), turnover rates lowered and employee productivity and loyalty improved.
In 2005, Aetna, one of the United States’ top health insurance companies, reported that a company implementing a lactation program can get a saving of $1435 per breastfed infant in medical claims during its first year. ROI is at 3:1 (total claims savings = $108377). In a 2009 report, the US Department of Labor Women’s Bureau claimed that infants who are exclusively breastfed for three months or longer had lesser health care cost of $300-$400 per year than those who were bottle-fed. Cigna Medical (Aetna‘s competitor), since its inception of lactation program way back 1995, it holds this amazing number on absenteeism – a 77% reduction in working hours loss due to infant illness, which translates to an annual savings of $60,000. An independent study in 2004 likewise revealed that the retention rate of companies with lactation program is higher (94%) than those without (59%).
Here are the tips for efficiently managing time at work, and at the same time, producing milk:
- Get a double electric pump instead of a manual pump as the former expresses milk more capably than manually pumping which eats up not just effort but time.
- Set the alarm early so that you can feed the baby before getting out of bed. Pack the baby’s bag at night and make sure the pump is clean and you are good to go. To add, nurse as soon as you pick up your little one after work and nurse the baby frequently during the night. This can be a lot but time management is still the key towards successful breastfeeding for a working mom.
- Speak up and suggest for a proper lactation room because really, the bathroom is not the best place to express milk. Encourage other breastfeeding mothers to also join your cause.
- Be on the go by, let’s say, bringing some wipes to clean the pump after using it so you can just rinse it off at home and pack it in the bag for the next workday. It does not only maximize time you can spend with your child, it also minimizes worries of a used pump and its accessories.
- Properly scheduling the pumping session helps to constantly produce enough milk for the baby. Ideally, it is recommended to take breaks in about every three hours to express milk. Please feel free to discuss it with your immediate supervisor. If this is not possible, pump at least once a day, say during lunch break.
- Purchase a hands-free nursing bra if the pump does not come with a hands-free kit. Wearing a hands-free bra means you can pump at your most convenient and comfortable time and place.
- As a working mother, breast pumps can surely take a toll on your breasts leaving them raw from that commanding suction (ouch!). With that, nursing balms come as your “savior” to relieve the pain.