9 Secret Tips to Help Breastfeed Baby Longer - Do's & Don't Do's
Created by Parentune Support Updated on Dec 12, 2019
As a mother, if you are planning to go back to work after pregnancy, there are a million things for you to take care of with respect to your baby and doubts, questions which make you restless. How will my baby get breastmilk when away for work? How do I ensure my baby is taken care of the way I want to and proper hygiene is maintained by a maid or family member?
Here are a few simple do's and don'ts that you should keep in mind to breastfeed your baby longer –
What to Do's to Breastfeed Baby Longer?
1. Prepare Ahead: Preparing ahead will help you in organizing things in a well-planned way. Your preparation should start at least 2 weeks before you plan to rejoin work after delivery. Make the schedule and pin it where whosoever is to handle the baby will have the idea about what to do and when.
2. Stock-up: To make sure your baby is exclusively on your feed, you need to stock up on a good quantity of breast milk (2 days before you join work) and introduce your baby to expressed milk through the Katori-chammach or bottle at least 2 weeks before you join work. You would also need a sterilizer for sterilizing your utensils. These are the following things you would need:
- Breast Pump: A manual breast pump is good if you have to express milk just once or twice a day only. For more than that you may go in for an electric pump which is faster and far more comfortable. A good electric pump should let you lean back and express (not lean forward), have fewer parts to clean, has at least a 2-year guarantee, a let-down mode to stimulate milk flow and should be a closed system. Closed system pumps have a sealing valve between the motor tube and the milk collection unit to stop any milk flow into the tube for better hygiene. An example of a high-quality breast pump that ticks all the boxes is the Philips Avent Comfort Electric Breast Pump. [Also Read: How to safely store breast milk for your baby?]
- Sterilizers: Sterilizers can sterilize baby utensils and breast pumps better and far more conveniently. You need to sterilize everything which the milk will touch. Boiling doesn’t kill all the bacteria, but sterilizers use steam which can kill all bacteria. Thus ensuring that your little one is protected from diseases like milk thrush (a common but painful fungal infection of the mouth, mostly attributed to un-sterilized milk-drinking equipment), gastroenteritis, and some other bacterial and fungal infections. [Also Read: Stop Boiling Baby Bottles]
- Breast pads: Breast pads will help you keep dry and comfortable during the day in case your milk leaks from your breast. Keep an extra stock at your workplace as well.
- Hygienic Containers: When storing breast milk to ensure that the container used is properly sterilized, capped and BPA free. Also, if you have older children in the house or domestic help, instruct them too on the correct way of handling a container that has expressed breast milk kept in it.
3. Storing Breast-milk: Knowing how to store milk is important to ensure the milk stays hygienic and healthy.
- Minimum handling: Try to store breast milk in the container in which it is expressed (mostly a bottle/cup provided by the manufacturer). This reduces the chances of contamination from transferring the milk from one container to another.
- Keep breast milk refrigerated: In an ideal situation where there are no power-cuts or fluctuations in wattage, expressed milk can be stored up to 48 hours in the freezer. It is best to place the containers in the back of the freezer, where the temperature is the coolest. In case you do not have access to a refrigerator, store the milk temporarily in an ice box. If you are in a locality with frequent power failures, then the temperature in the refrigerator also fluctuates as much. Hence ideally, expressed milk should not be stored beyond 3-4 hours. But in case you feel the need to store it for longer, ensure that your refrigerator is on a power back-up and is connected to a stabilizer.
- Re-heating: Breast milk is full of antibodies and nutrients for the baby and some of it can get destroyed while heating or defrosting the milk on the stove or in a microwave. An ideal way to re-heat the milk is either to use a bottle warmer or stand the container containing breast milk in a bowl of hot water and gently rotate it. Let it come to room temperature and then can be given to the baby. Breast milk doesn't need to be and should never be boiled.
- Label the containers: If you have expressed milk more than what will be consumed by the baby in one feed, store it in separate bottles/containers, and also put the date and time of expression, so that you know till when the milk is usable. Additionally, it can be marked as per the baby’s feeding time for eg: 4:00 PM, 6:00 PM. This will help the caretaker, to give the baby milk on time. Also, follow the rule of first expressed-first fed to ensure no confusion. Also read: How to safely store breast milk for your baby?
4. The Bond Between Baby & You: To keep the bond between you and your baby strong, try to make time and breastfeed your baby before you leave for work and once you are back. To make sure bottle feeding doesn’t cause nipple confusion, either do not use a bottle or if you have to, go for wide-neck bottles which are shaped like a mother’s breast, i.e. natural shaped. This reduces nipple confusion and switching between breast and bottle is more likely to succeed.
5. Responsible Handling: Though the entire family would want to help, let them know politely that it should be one person’s duty. In case of your absence, delegate the chore to one responsible adult who you have taken through the entire process previously.
Don't Do If Wanted to Breastfeed Longer
1. No abrupt Disappearance: You know you have to join back within one week’s time. So start leaving your baby with the caretaker so that the baby becomes accustomed to your absence. Don’t just suddenly disappear.
2. Never re-use breast milk: Before leaving for work inform all those who will be taking care of the baby in your absence that the breast milk can only be defrosted once. So if there is some amount left in the bottle, tell them to throw it and not try to refreeze or store breast milk once it has been defrosted. Remember breast milk is the most natural form of milk that has not gone through any pasteurization or other processes to increase the shelf life. Throw the remaining milk and wash and sterilize the container right away.
3. Avoid sharing the breast pump equipment: If you are one of the lucky families, blessed with two or more babies at the same time (for eg: a joint family set-up) or have an older relative who insists passing on her breast pump to you, decline the offer politely and insist on buying a new set for yourself. Recycled breast pumps may have gone through wear and tear that can prove to be not-so-healthy for your little one.
4. Storing instructions: Containers or bags should not be filled to the brim. Leave at least one inch of space to avoid spilling.
- No disposable containers: Experts advise against using disposable bottle liners as they can’t be sterilized hence can prove difficult to maintain the high-level hygiene required.
- Do not leave expressed milk unrefrigerated: In case you do not have a fridge or freezer available, e.g. in your office, use an icebox to store expressed milk. Ice-boxes are easily available in kitchen utility stores. Given the high temperatures, heat, and humidity conditions in India, it is suggested that expressed milk if not meant to be consumed immediately, should be stored right away in the refrigerator. Leaving it out exposes it to the onset of degradation. Also read: Nutrition Tips For Breastfeeding Moms
Happy breastfeeding, happy Parenting