Transitioning breastfeeding mothers back to work
19 December 2018
Prior to returning to work, a lot of maternal focus is spent on preparing “baby” for a heap of unknown routines. Aside from finding clothing that will fit, many mothers struggle to get their heads around whether baby will take a bottle, whether there will be enough milk, the prospect of emotional separation, and how her colleagues will embrace the expressing of milk.
Many times, these concerns are alleviated in the transition process, and for some reason several babies I know had a sixth sense and their routine changed just a few days prior to starting to fit Mum’s plans, so everything worked out fine. It is still a stressful time for the mother though.
A good centre is one in which parents are comfortable and they feel that they can develop a good relationship with the staff. A couple of pre-visits are always important – the child needs to see their parent spending time forming a relationship with the teacher to feel safe. Ideally a sleep visit is also desirable.
For breastfeeding mothers, selecting a centre that is nearby work is often a good move. Extending a lunch break by half an hour to feed (unpaid if necessary) means that the child can be fed at lunchtime. Any feeding at the centre (including drop off, or pick up) means that the mother is exposed to the same bugs and passes on immunity through her breastmilk – less sick days for everyone. The inconvenience of lunch feeds are generally only needed for a few months until everyone is settled, or the baby is a few months older, and everything changes again.
Many young babies prefer to feed directly from Mum, and will often wait for her to arrive, so this saves a whole heap of paid work time hiding in broom closets to express. (Note that employers must provide somewhere clean to express baby-food… toilets do not constitute sanitary milk harvesting facilities.)
Should an infant not take a bottle, sippy cups mean you then don’t have to wean off a bottle later, and teaspoons and small cups are also able to be used even for very small children. Supplying expressed milk in 60ml quantities mean less is wasted if baby won’t take it, and if hungry the staff just warm another bag!
The centre staff will know lots of tricks to ensure baby settle and sleep well. Every carer finds their own way to put to sleep, and babies do accept different routines from different people. They’ll keep in touch if there are any issues too, and are often happy to share tips.
Visits during pregnancy to find one that feels right for you and your family removes stress later. You will find that Montessori pre-schools are a lot quieter than regular early childhood centres because the children are busy with their hands, so come and visit us to have an obligation-free look around! Fountain City Montessori is located in central Hamilton with available hours 7am-6pm to suit working parents.