By Heidi Chavers
Breastmilk is more than food.
Ideally, planning for how you will continue to breastfeed your baby when you return to work starts before your baby is born. It is important to have specific practical information and resources for meeting your needs, such as ideas for easing back into work, selecting and using a breast pump, how to store and handle milk, suggested pumping schedules and tips for your baby’s care provider.
Breastfeeding is so important that the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Association of Family Physicians recommend only breast milk for babies for the first six months and continued breastfeeding or breast milk feedings with the introduction of complementary foods through the first year and
Breastmilk is more than food. Mothers and babies gain the benefit of a well documented decrease in health risks when mothers breastfeed. This has led to the Business Case for Breastfeeding, from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration. This toolkit provides
guidance for both breastfeeding mothers returning to work and for employers who may not know how to provide for the needs of their breastfeeding employees.
The 2015 World Breastfeeding Week theme was “Breastfeeding and Work, Let’s Make it Work!” In response to that, the Florida Breastfeeding Coalition, Inc. website has provided a few useful links:
- Breastfeeding employees and the federal lawH
- Helpful working mother websites
- Is your childcare facility breastfeeding friendly?
- Supporting nursing moms at work: employer solutions
- Breastfeeding support: industry solutions
- Breastfeeding support: time and space solutions
- Breastfeeding support FAQs for employers
- “A Business Case for Breastfeeding”
- For nursing moms: breastfeeding at work
- Laws protecting nursing moms
- Breastfeeding policies at work
- Partner resources
What you can do now:
- Attend a prenatal breastfeeding class with your support person. A class will help you meet your goals, and attending with an informed and supportive partner, family member or friend can be a real boost to your success.
- Identify breastfeeding resources in your community: Hospital International Board CertiWed Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs); CertiWed Lactation Counselors (CLCs); WIC IBCLCs, CLC’s or peer counselors; local breastfeeding support groups; La Leche League leaders and meetings; and Healthy Start programs.
- Check out the websites listed.
- Share with your employer the resource kit, “A Business Case for Breastfeeding: Easy Steps to Supporting Breastfeeding Employees.” To access the toolkit, visit womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding/business-case-for-breastfeeding.html.
Heidi Chavers, BSN, RNC, IBCLC, LCCE, LMT, CIMI, is a lactation consultant and mother who returned to work and expressed milk for each of her three sons. Providing for their nutritional needs, even in her absence, allowed her to feel that a little part of her was with them providing something no one else could.