It has been close to a month since I returned to work and I can’t say it’s been easy. Trying to focus at work while being sleep deprived is hard! But I’ve had to come up with coping mechanisms to help me thrive both at home and in the office. Here are my top five tips for fellow working mums who are still nursing young ones:
Don’t let the guilt get to you
It’s easy to feel bad about leaving your child every morning (or evening – depending on your shift). However, you know why you chose to be a working mum so don’t let the guilt get to you – focus on being a great employee/employer as well as a great mum. First day back to work was hard for me since I missed being at home with my son, but after a few days, I chose to change my mindset. I now enjoy working and look forward to going home to see his cute little face. It all starts in the mind – keep a positive outlook and you’ll see how easy the days go by.
Talk to your supervisor
Many working mums I’ve talked to fear having a conversation with their boss on working hours and pumping sessions at work. It is important to have these conversations before you go on maternity leave but just in case you didn’t, have the conversation now! Have a conversation with the Human Resource department at your organization on what your rights are as a nursing mother. You’ll be amazed at the opportunities you have but were not aware of. It all depends on an organization’s policies, so don’t be timid about fighting for your rights – explore what works for you and how you can contribute to the success of the company/organization.
Develop a routine
Map out your day and plan ahead – this helps in warding off any anxiety as you go along your day. Once I put baby down at night, I like to prep for the next day down to the last detail – what I will wear, my work lunch and snacks, sterilize my bottles (for pumping), instructions for the house help etc. This way I don’t have to run around like a headless chicken in the morning. I also have alarms for my pumping sessions at work since mummy brain is real! 🙂 This way, I go about my daily tasks with less stress which helps a great deal in milk supply.
Formula is not a bad thing
Speaking of milk supply, pumping at work helps with increasing or maintaining your milk supply. There are some good and bad days – times when you can pump up to 400ml and others where you only 100ml – this is normal so don’t stress about it. There are times when you pump less than what your baby consumes a day, which is what happened to me. I opted to have formula as a back up for my bad days, and I don’t feel an inch of guilt for doing so. Don’t get it twisted, I’m a huge advocate of exclusive breastfeeding but do what’s best for your baby. By giving your baby formula, you’re not letting him/her down. With my daughter, I didn’t pump at work and she was on formula for her day feeds yet she still thrived. So dear mummy, don’t beat yourself up, you’re doing a great job! *virtual high five*
Take care of yourself
You may feel outstretched at this point – being an employee/employer, a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend – it’s work, I know. But God gives a grace that cannot be explained so take time to appreciate how you’re being it all. When you get to work, interact with colleagues, be the best you can be. When you get home, bond with your baby (and other children if any), nurse your baby in the mornings and evenings, spend time with your spouse/partner – relish the moments since time flies by so fast.