According to a new survey conducted by David Burnett & Associates for Lansinoh Laboratories, maker of high quality breastfeeding products, nearly one third (29%) of new mothers who breastfeed stop prematurely due to work-related issues. These issues include:
- Having no designated place to pump (57%)
- No place to store pumped milk (27%)
- Pumping negatively affects colleague/client perceptions of them (5%)
- Their boss or other employees make it difficult (5%)
Dr. James Sears is a noted pediatrician, co-author of the best-selling Baby Book, and member of the Lansinoh Breastfeeding Advisory Board. Recently, he took the time to offer the following advice to the readers at LoveToKnow Baby.
What Are the Benefits of Breastfeeding?
- Lowering the Risk of Certain Diseases: It is becoming well documented that breastfeeding decreases a mother's chances of developing pre- or post-menopausal breast cancer, and this benefit is strongly connected with the length of time a woman breastfeeds. Any amount of breastfeeding is beneficial to mom and baby, research shows - two weeks is good, four months is even better, and more than six months is best as far as protection against breast cancer goes. While breastfeeding full-time, most mothers do not ovulate and do not have menstrual periods; less menstrual cycles overall means less estrogen exposure, which may explain the reduced cancer risk.
- De-Stress: Some studies show that breastfeeding mothers show less postpartum anxiety and depression than formula-feeding mothers.
- Shedding Pregnancy Pounds: Breastfeeding also helps the uterus to go back to its normal size and lessen the bleeding a woman may have after giving birth. Milk production burns 200 to 500 calories a day: to burn off an equivalent number of calories, a formula-feeding mother would need to swim thirty laps or ride a bicycle for more than an hour.Breastfeeding mothers only need to consume 300 to 500 additional calories a day in order to produce adequate milk. Cutting calories or dieting while nursing is not recommended as it will likely affect your milk supply.
- Save Money & Time: Today, many mothers are working outside of the home, trying to balance work and family. Because breastfed babies are less likely to be as sick as often as non-breastfed babies, mothers tend to miss less work. Many working mothers also appreciate the closeness of nursing their baby after a long day at work.
How Can Women Continue to Breastfeed Once They've Returned to Work?
While many mothers may fear returning to work will disrupt the breastfeeding routine they've worked so hard to establish, it is possible and common for women to breastfeed and return to work outside the home. It does take planning, commitment and flexibility, however.
Successful breastfeeding while working outside the home may sometimes be a challenge, but with the support of your employer, establishing a routine for nursing and pumping using a high quality electric breast pump, and finding a proper storage area for your expressed milk, it can be done. The important thing is to remember why you started breastfeeding in the first place and keep that in mind when the going gets a little tough.
What Type of Breast Pump Do You Recommend?
The new Lansinoh Double Electric Breast Pump is high quality, portable, and effective. It also can be adjusted to simulate your baby's natural sucking pattern, which is very helpful for maintaining good milk flow.
What Advice Can You Give Regarding Pumping at Work?
- Talk with Your Employer: It is important to talk to your supervisor about your pumping schedule and work out a designated area that is safe, clean, and private where you will be able to pump without being disturbed. Such accommodations for smoking breaks are often allowed, therefore resistance from your employer should be minimal. You can also point out the many benefits of breastfeeding for the employer, such as reduced absenteeism. Research shows that breastfed babies are less likely to be sick because of the protective benefits of breastmilk, which cuts down on days that mom or dad will have to miss to care for their sick child. You can have this conversation before you go out on maternity leave so it is one less thing for you to worry about when returning to work.
- Pumping at Work: Since breastfeeding works on supply and demand, it is important for mothers to pump and store their milk while they are at work if they cannot actually breastfeed their baby. If at all possible, the place you pump should be private and sanitary and would ideally have an electrical outlet. Some electric pumps, such as the Lansinoh Double Electric Breast Pump, come with a battery pack for those times you don't have access to an outlet. It is also ideal to have running water for washing pump parts after pumping, but do not let that stop you if the room you pump in does not have a sink. The most basic necessities are a comfortable chair and table for your equipment, privacy and cleanliness.
- Create a Schedule: Most moms create a pumping schedule that mimics their baby's feeding schedule. As a general rule, it is best to pump every two to three hours you will be away from your baby, if possible. It is also important not to skip pumping sessions even if you only have a few minutes to pump, as frequency, not length of pumping sessions, is what stimulates your body to produce milk.
- Store Expressed Milk Properly: While at work, it is important to store your breastmilk in a place that is sanitary and safe. Breastmilk can actually be kept at room temperature for up to ten hours, in an insulated cooler with freezer packs for up to twenty-four hours, in the refrigerator for up to eight days, or in the freezer for up to four months.
- Breastfeed as Often as Possible: As babies mature, their nursing schedules will adjust accordingly. Moms who work outside the home should try to breastfeed whenever they are with their babies, including before and after work. Whenever you are not working and can be with your baby, you should breastfeed exclusively in order to maintain and build up your milk supply.
What Advice Can You Offer to Moms Just Returning to Work?
Going back to work and being separated from your baby is difficult for many women, so it's natural that the first days or even weeks of pumping at work may be stressful. But try to keep in mind why you started breastfeeding in the first place - to give your baby the best start in life - and that should help you to continue with breastfeeding for as long as possible. Flexibility is a key word for breastfeeding mothers who are employed. If what was working well a few weeks ago isn't working for you now, then change it.
New and expecting moms can visit Lansinoh to register for a chance to win a free Lansinoh Double Electric Breast Pump and learn more about the Lansinoh line of breastfeeding products. On the Web site, moms can also sign up for the new Nurture Note, a special e-message that provides breastfeeding tips, encouragement and support.
Lansinoh Laboratories was founded by a breastfeeding mother more than 20 years ago to support families who choose to nurture and nourish their children naturally. Lansinoh offers a complete line of breastfeeding products, including the safest and purest form of lanolin designed for use by breastfeeding mothers to relieve nipple soreness, unique nursing pads, cleansing cloths and milk storage bags.