Working moms CAN breastfeed

In the US, many mothers only get to enjoy 6-8 weeks of maternity leave before having to return to work.  This should not discourage mothers from breastfeeding! There are many ways you can still continue to nurse your baby even after you return to work.

First of all, you need to know your rights. The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows women who have given birth, adopted children, fathers, (the list goes on), additional leave up to 12 weeks. Now many employers will not pay you for this time, and many require you use vacation time first, or concurrently with the maternity leave, but those additional weeks will provide you with much more time to establish a breastfeeding routine with your baby. There are many stipulations to the FMLA, so get with your HR rep and educate yourself on the law. Use it to your advantage. That’s why lawmakers created it. The US has some of the shortest maternity leave rates of the developed world. Canadians and Europeans get up to a year off, with job protection status.

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Secondly, The Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as “Obama Care” requires employers to provide “a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from co-workers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.” Pumping moms, this one’s for you!!!! You can still breastfeed babe and pump at work to keep milk supply going. Many moms who plan on doing this will start pumping as soon as they can to build up a “stash” of breast milk for baby’s care provider to give them while mom is working. You can nurse in the morning, pump at work, and nurse baby in the evening and at night. Weekends also provide a chance to reestablish that breastfeeding connection. If you plan on pumping at work, you will need a pump, milk storage bags/bottles, and a place to clean/sanitize parts and wash your hands. It would be wise to let your employer know BEFORE returning to work so they can arrange a place for you to pump in private. If you work an 8 hour shift, be sure to pump at least twice, to keep your supply up. Many moms find it useful to bring a picture of their baby to look at to stimulate letdown/ more milk production. You can even cover up the pump,close your eyes and imagine your baby nursing.

Moms, we’ve got to realize the law is on our side. We have to know our rights and exercise them. You can still provide the best for your baby, even if you need to work. If you are committed to breastfeeding you can make it work. Reach out and contact other working moms who do the same.

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Written by MascaraMama

stay at home mama to 2 princesses!

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