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World Breastfeeding Week!

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~Breast is best~

August 1-4 is World Breastfeeding Awareness Week. The year's theme is "Breastfeeding and Work: Let's make it Work!"

World Breastfeeding Week calls for concerted global action to support women to combine breastfeeding and work. Whether a woman is working in the formal, non-formal or home setting, it is necessary that she is empowered in claiming her and her baby's right to breastfeed.

St. Maarten Medical Centre (SMMC) Breastfeeding Committee shared some tips for mothers who choose to continue breastfeeding after returning to work by expressing their milk with a breast pump. The committee says there are several reasons why a mother may need to pump breast milk for her baby. The mom could be going back to work after giving birth or may want or need to have a time period of greater than three hours away from her baby. The baby could also be having difficulty latching or the mom may prefer not to breastfeed, but want the baby to reap the benefits of breast milk.

 

Start early

"When you first bring your small, cuddly, sleepy bundle of joy home from the hospital, the last thing you want to even think about is pumping." But according to SMMC's Breastfeeding Committee, it's worth it to start early. There are several benefits why. "By pumping early, you will increase your supply. You can begin creating a "stash" of milk that you will be able to use when you go out or head back to work so you don't have to worry as much about producing enough every day for the next day. "You are training your body how to respond to the pump and hopefully by beginning early, you will eventually be able to produce better for the pump."

Stay hydrated

Breastfeeding mothers can dehydrate much faster than non-breastfeeding mothers, so proper hydration when breastfeeding is very important. Keep a water bottle with you so you can easily monitor your intake.

Pay attention to your diet

Make sure you have an adequate intake of veggies, fruits and proteins. Also, make sure you are eating enough. Many mothers may want to cut back on calories in order to lose the weight gained during pregnancy. But do not cut back too much. Limit the amount of sweetened beverages and watch the calorie counts in your food rather than skipping meals or cutting back on the portions of food recommended for your body. Maintain a routine Before you head back to work, you may be concerned about not being able to pump long-term because you would not be able to get away every two to three hours at work. You may want to try to pump three times per day: once in the morning, once at lunch, and once at night. However, this may not work for everyone. Find what works for you and your schedule and stick as closely to it as you can.

Get comfortable

Make sure you wear clothing that isn't going to make it difficult to get the flanges of the pump into the appropriate position. Some people like to use a hands-free pumping bra. Whichever method you choose, be sure you are comfortable and when you are expressing, try to stay relaxed.

Keep everything clean

When you do get home, use a bottlebrush and soap to get into all the nooks and crannies of the flanges. You should not need to clean the tubing unless milk gets in there. It is good to have a sterilizer for your breast pump. If you do not have one, after washing, let it soak in hot water for 10 minutes.

Get organized

It is important to create a system that works for you and your freezer situation. You can use breast milk storage bags because you can lay them fl at to save room in your freezer. Always make sure to label the bag with the date you expressed the milk.

Have an extra set of parts (flanges, membranes, tubes) or a manual pump

One of the worst things that can happen is that you get somewhere (i.e., work) and realize that you do not have all of your parts (or even worse your pump). You can buy an inexpensive manual pump or an extra set of flanges, membranes and tubes to keep in the car or at work. Chances are you will forget something at some point in your pumping career, so it's best to be prepared.

"Pumping takes time, energy, and dedication. You have to keep in mind that if you are pumping at work, you will need to be sure your employer and co-workers understand that this is something you are committed to and that you need the time to make it work. Recognize ahead of time that pumping will require sacrifices. Some days can be hard; some days you might feel like an expert and other days you may barely be able to produce a couple of ounces. Do not give up after just a couple of bad days. Take it one day at a time. Stay positive and think about the benefits for you and your baby."

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