It’s easy to make plans while you are still pregnant, isn’t it? Like breastfeeding for example. A lot of moms-to-be will have an idea of how long they want to breastfeed for – that is if they want to breastfeed at all of course.
But you know what they say, life is what happens when you are busy making plans. Sometimes life just ‘happens’ to us and not in the way we first imagined it. Your best laid plans may feel impossible once baby arrives, because babies are simply unpredictable bundles of awesomeness.
Breastfeeding is hard work, long hours and can be determined by so many variables –from a mother’s physical discomfort or baby’s tongue tie, to the level of emotional support. Going the distance just isn’t always that easy. Education and preparation can certainly be key for establishing successful breastfeeding in the early days. In fact, one of our most popular classes is the Breastfeeding 101 at our Boutique. This class teaches techniques to help new moms get off to a good start and avoid common problems – latching difficulties, positioning, pain, plus those endless worries about baby ‘getting enough’ milk, are some of the most common reasons for new moms to quit breastfeeding.
But what if you have survived and triumphed the exhausting early days and now have to face a return to work?
What happens beyond maternity leave?
To many working moms, continuing to breastfeed sounds like mission impossible! In fact, research just out this week suggests a direct impact of work on breastfeeding.
An Australian study of over 2,000 mothers showed that breastfeeding after returning to work may depend on how many hours a mother works. The research shows that working mothers are MORE likely to breastfeed their babies for the recommended minimum of at least six months if they can work less than 20 hours a week.
The findings add to a substantial body of evidence linking more time at home with longer periods of breastfeeding, “Breastfeeding is time consuming, often cumbersome for some employed women, and still not intentionally supported in many work sites,” said Melanie Lutenbacher, a researcher at the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing in Nashville.
60% of mothers in this study, who were working no more than 19 hours a week, were still breastfeeding at six months, where as 39% of women who returned full time were still breastfeeding.
A lot of the reports in the news say ‘just 39%’. JUST!
Well, we say A BIG HATS OFF to that 39% of full time working mothers! Go mamas! You are living proof it CAN be done. Your success will inspire others and see that percentage climb.
Yes, there is a lot to think about, from where and when to pump at work, to transporting and storing breast milk and employer support. Add general work stress to the mix and it can look and sound utterly overwhelming. But it IS possible with the right planning, preparation, determination and support.
In addition to our twice weekly Lactation Lounge support class, we also run Breastfeeding for Working Mothers workshops. It’s a great place to gain confidence and meet likeminded, determined mothers who want to continue breastfeeding beyond maternity. Just keep in mind that 39%, stay positive and check out our event calendar for future dates.