You are expecting your first child and are interested in breastfeeding your baby. You would also like to return to work relatively soon. You have to decide how valuable breastfeeding is and whether you can work and breastfeed.
I expect my first child in a week time, and I am so eager to hear her first cries and smile. My husband and I have been trying for a child for a year, and we are overjoyed as this moment approaches. We went to our last check-up last week, and the doctor gave us the green light to proceed home till the time is due. However, the joy is dampened by a gloominess regarding the bad prevailing economic situation accelerated by the coronavirus navel that has destabilized the economy leading to most companies either shutting down, laying off, or reducing salaries to the employees.
Two situations have forced me to rethink my strategy for the remainder of the year. My husband was forced to take a pay cut, and the company I was working for reduced maternity leave to three months, or else they would terminate my contract. This means I have to get back to work soon to support the already low family income. My main concern is that of maintaining a balance between breastfeeding the baby and being involved in my work thus will have to research on the best way forward.
The value of Breast Feeding
Breastfeeding provides health benefits for both of us, research scientifically proven. Breastfeeding is an effective strategy for reconnecting and relaxing at the end of the day and can also ease the change that comes with the returning work patterns (Meek, 2017). Breast milk is the natural and perfect food for the baby to get nourishment. These benefits are a clear indication that breastfeeding is a crucial part of childcare and will have to work out how to navigate work while still breastfeeding. I have decided to talk to mothers who have been successful in working out the dilemma and also a pediatrician.
The pediatrician has warned of the usage of ordinary cow’s milk as a drink before the baby reaches 12 months (Meek, 2017). The recommendation is that since I will return to work early, I should choose between three options; expressed milk or infant formula or a combination of all. Expressing at work is more accessible at my workplace as the company has built a specially designed room exclusively for breastfeeding. This is an option I will gladly explore as expressing will replace the breastfeeding, and I will have more milk available to express each day. I can utilize this to keep the expressed milk frozen to be used the next day. The biggest determiner is the work pattern, which may be busy such that the required conditions for expressing are not achieved. The second option suggested in the use of formula when at work. A combination of both can be utilized when the expressed milk is not enough to cater to the baby. However, while at home, the baby can breastfeed normally in either of the options stated.
Plan of Action
The age factor will be the constraint to the plan I have decided to pursue. I will breastfeed until the third month when I will be returning to work as I stay at home with the baby most of the time. After resuming work, that is the fourth month; I will start expressing milk from the office and packaging it for the baby to use the following workday in a continuous cycle as it will be more advantageous for the baby. I will have to talk to the human resource department to allow me breaks specifically for expressing milk to ensure my work rate is not affected. However, whenever the work schedule is tight, I will have to make use of the infant formula, which I will buy in advance. The infant formula is the best viable substitute for breastmilk.
When I get home from work, I will breastfeed the baby to make up for the bonding time lost during the day on both occasions expressing milk or preparing infant formula. I will have to employ a helper to assist me with the baby feeding while I am away, as it will ensure the baby is fed at the appropriate time. This will go on from the onset of the fourth month until the twelve months as I start introducing solid food while gradually stopping the breastfeeding. I have analyzed all my options, and this plan will be the most effective to ensure the baby grows up healthy while I continue to provide for the family.
Meek, J. Y. (2017). The American Academy of Pediatrics New Mother’s Guide to Breastfeeding (Revised Edition). Bantam.