Breastfeeding brings a lot to a woman and her baby. In addition to giving the healthiest food there is for several months, breastfeeding is free and gives the mother and child a very strong feeling of closeness. Although the recommended breastfeeding period is six months, 7.5% of all Canadian mothers still breastfeed after 28 weeks of breastfeeding. If this is your case and if you have to work soon, you probably wonder how you will manage to do so without taking your milk away from your child. There are many things you can do.
Depending on the age of your baby when your maternity leave will be over, his needs will be different. If you start working after 6 months, you will have to deal with the fact that your child cannot drink cow’s milk yet and he will also be trying solid foods. What will he drink for lunch while you work? You can use a breast pump and leave a bottle with him every morning or give him a preparation. If you decide to give him formula milk for the first time, it would be wise to avoid giving him any other new food for the first three days to easily notice an eventual allergy.
After the age of 9 months, you can replace his noon drink by cow’s milk, in a bottle or a cup. This new milk could slightly change your baby’s behaviour at first but do not worry, this situation is rare and often temporary. If the problems last and if you want to keep breastfeeding, contact a lactation specialist who will assess your specific situation and give you tips accordingly.
If your child begins full-time daycare after the age of 9 moths, his diet will already be varied and will provide him with many of the nutrients that are necessary to his growth. This allows him to drink water for lunch and when until you come back. You will feed him in the morning, before leaving for work, after dinner and before sleep time.
Weaning your baby
If you intend to wean your baby at this time, you will still have to stop breastfeeding one drink at a time. If your baby is between 8-10 months, he may be in a phase of fear of abandonment that will be worsen if you stop feeding him and go back to work at the same time. You will naturally stop breastfeeding et noon and gradually remove the other feedings without causing additional stress to your baby and without changing your emotional bond.
Our daily schedules take a beating when we go back to work. We must leave our child with a new guardian, get ready quickly in the morning, change the pace of meals and readjust to work as we had almost forgotten the ins and outs of our job. This transitional period will probably be hard on you. Your values change when you have a child and it is normal to feel disoriented when going back to your desk as if nothing had happened. Catch your breath and give yourself a little time to gradually get used to all these changes. After a few weeks you will get used to your "new" way of life and insert your breastfeeding into your schedule.
However, if your stress has an impact on your ability to breastfeed and if you do not want to wean your baby yet, there are several resources at your disposal. For example, La Leche League or your clinic can answer many of your questions, give you good tips and reassure you.