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Breastfeeding for Working Mothers

Breastfeeding need not necessarily be stopped when you return to work. However you need extra planning and preparation to combine working and breastfeeding. The most crucial thing is learning to express breast milk, practicing it and teach your baby to feed on it.

Time to start expressing breast milk

Start practice expressing and storing expressed breast milk one to two weeks before going back to work. You can express milk for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Technique of hand expression

  • Wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Gently massage your breast towards the nipple and / or apply a warm moist cloth a few minutes before expressing, to help milk flow.

Put your thumb on the areola above the nipple and your other fingers below the breast.

Squeeze your thumb and fingers on your breast at the same time, inward, towards the chest wall.

Rotate and express from all directions of your breast.

Switch on to the other breast and when you are ready repeat on both breasts again.

Caution: Do not slide fingers or massage from the top of the breasts.

Storing expressed breast milk

  • Keep your expressed breast milk in small containers, enough for one feed.
  • Let it cool down and label it before putting in the refrigerator or freezer.
  • Expressed breast milk can be stored at room temperature of 26°C for 4 hours, in the refrigerator for 2 – 3 days and in the freezer section of two doors refrigerator for 3 months.
  • The freezer section of a single door refrigerator is not suitable for storing expressed breast milk for 3 months.

Preparing expressed breast milk for your baby

  • Expressed breast milk should be warmed before being given to your baby.
  • Frozen breast milk should be thawed, either by putting in the refrigerator for 6 – 8 hours, or by putting the container under running water.
  • Put the expressed breast milk container in a bowl filled with warm water. Do not use boiling water, as the milk will curd.
  • Avoid cooking expressed breast milk or using microwave to thaw or warm it.
  • Test the heat by dropping a small amount on your wrist.
  • Use the milk within 1 hour. The leftover milk should not be disposed and not frozen again.

Training your baby to feed on expressed breast milk

  • You are advised to train your baby to feed on expressed breast milk 2 weeks before going back to work.
  • Use the table below as a guide :
Feeding time
Day 1 – 3
Day 4 – 6
Day 7 – 9
Day 10 – 13
Breakfast 7.30-9.00 am Expressed breast milk Expressed breast milk Expressed breast milk Expressed breast milk
Mid morning 10.00-11.30 am Breastfeed Expressed breast milk Expressed breast milk Expressed breast milk
Lunch time 12.00-1.30 pm Breastfeed Breastfeed Expressed breast milk Expressed breast milk
Mid afternoon 2.00-4.00 pm Breastfeed Breastfeed Breastfeed Expressed breast milk

Source : Malaysian Breastfeeding Advisory Association

Day 1 – 3: Let the care giver feed your baby with expressed breast milk only during breakfast and breastfeed your baby at all other feeding times.

Day 4 – 6: Let the care giver feed your baby with expressed breast milk during breakfast and mid morning, and breastfeed your baby at other feeding times.

Day 7 – 9: Let the care giver feed your baby with expressed breast milk during breakfast, mid morning and lunch time, and breastfeed your baby at mid afternoon and at night.

Day 10 – 13: Let the care giver feed your baby with expressed breast milk during day time and continue breastfeeding at night.

Last reviewed : 02 October 2009
Writer : Zalma Bt. Abdul Razak
Zuhaida Bt. Harun
Nazli Suhardi B. Ibrahim

 

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