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19 August 2003

Working moms who want to continue breastfeeding

Here are step-by-step instructions of what to do if you wish to continue breastfeeding even though you are returning to work.

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Expressing milk
Expressing milk is an answer for working mothers who still want to breastfeed.

  • She would need to express twice during her working day e.g. at morning tea time and during her lunch time. If she works full-time, she would also need to express mid-afternoon. Whatever was expressed on Monday at work would be offered to the baby on Tuesday.
  • She would need to hand express or to have a breast pump at her disposal. The breast pump should be sterilised at home and kept in a closed container at work when she is not using it. Note that breast pumps should never be re-used, shared, hired or sold.
  • It is not necessary to refrigerate the breast pump or the expressed milk until she gets home. However, breastmilk for preterm babies need to be refrigerated within six to eight hours – take a cooler bag with an ice block to work.

Using this method, mom will be able to fully breastfeed her infant over weekends and holidays, and mornings and evenings of the working week because she has had adequate stimulation and is still producing milk regularly.

Substituting daytime breast feeds with formula feeds

  • The baby would need to be weaned from at least two feeds a day in the week.
  • She should start weaning ten days before returning to work.
  • She would replace a breast feed with a formula every five to seven days. E.g. offer a formula bottle midmorning for five to seven days then offer a formula bottle midmorning and mid-afternoon.
  • She would need to continue in this pattern of mixed feeding over weekends and holidays.

The mother should consult a lactation consultant or her clinic sister for advice on the formula and the quantities to be offered.

 
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