Create a habit to feed or pump regularly, even during busy schedules. An established routine helps maintain your milk supply and lessens your chances of getting plugged ducts and breast infections. These infections are more likely to occur when you’re not emptying your breasts. The expressed breast milk must be handled carefully in clean, sterilized containers in small, labeled portions. A strong support system from your partner will allow you to rest more as you navigate breastfeeding through your busy schedule. It’s okay to ask for help from those close to you.
Breastfeeding is a beautiful and essential aspect of motherhood. It provides numerous benefits to both mother and child.
However, it can sometimes be challenging, especially for busy moms with packed schedules.
Every drop of breast milk counts in the health and well-being of your little one, and it may require some extra effort and planning to breastfeed on a busy schedule.
While managing your other commitments, you can still nourish and bond with your baby with adequate preparations and adjustments.
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Essential tips for breastfeeding with a busy schedule
After exclusively breastfeeding for the first few weeks to establish your baby’s feeding routine, you may begin to express and store your breast milk, either by hand or with a breast pump.
If you find yourself struggling to balance breastfeeding with your busy lifestyle, here are some tips to help you make it work:
1. Establish a breastfeeding routine
Creating a consistent schedule can make breastfeeding easier to manage.
Try to nurse your baby at the same time each day, which helps both you and your baby get into a rhythm.
You can plan your activities and commitments around these feeding times.
2. Invest in a good breast pump
A breast pump can be a lifesaver for busy moms. It allows you to express breast milk and store it for later use.
Look for a high-quality pump that suits your needs and preferences.
Electric pumps are generally more efficient, but manual ones are also an option if you prefer more control and flexibility.
3. Build up a milk stash
By pumping and storing your breast milk, you can have a supply ready when you can’t breastfeed directly.
Aim to pump a few times daily, especially in the morning, when your milk supply is generally higher.
Store your milk in breast milk storage bags or containers, labeling them with the date to ensure freshness.
4. Take advantage of technology
Take advantage of breastfeeding-friendly apps and tools to stay organized and track feeding schedules, pumping sessions, and milk storage.
These apps can also provide helpful reminders and resources for breastfeeding moms.
5. Plan ahead
When you have a busy schedule, planning is key.
This way, you can quickly grab what you need and stay organized.
6. Utilize support systems
Reach out to your partner, family members, or friends for support.
They can help with tasks or care for your baby while you take some time to pump or breastfeed.
A support system can make a difference in navigating a busy schedule while breastfeeding.
7. Optimize your nursing sessions
Make the most of the time you spend breastfeeding.
Find a comfortable spot where you can relax and bond with your baby.
Use this time to unwind, read a book, listen to music, or catch up on your favorite TV shows, making it a rewarding and enjoyable experience.
8. Stay hydrated and nourished
It’s essential to take care of your well-being as a breastfeeding mom.
Remember to drink plenty of water and eat nutritious meals and snacks to maintain energy levels to ensure a higher milk supply.
9. Seek out breastfeeding-friendly spaces
When you’re out and about, try to find places accommodating breastfeeding moms.
Look for establishments with designated nursing rooms or private spaces, or feel empowered enough to breastfeed in public using a nursing cover if that’s what you’re comfortable with.
10. Ask for help
Contact lactation consultants or breastfeeding support groups if you need guidance or encounter challenges. They can offer valuable advice and reassurance.
Tips for storing breast milk after expressing
The CDC recommends following proper hygiene practices when expressing, storing, and handling breast milk to ensure the best quality and safety for your baby.
Here are some tips to help you safely store your breast milk after expressing:
a) Use clean, sterile containers
Use bottles or storage bags for breast milk. Please make sure they’re BPA-free and clean them thoroughly before use.
b) Label and date the containers
Always label each container with the date of expression. The labeling will help you use the oldest milk first and ensure freshness.
c) Store in small portions
It’s recommended to store breast milk in smaller portions, such as 2-4 ounces (60-120 ml). This portioning allows you to thaw and use only the amount needed to minimize waste.
d) Cool milk before refrigeration or freezing
Let the freshly expressed milk sit for a few minutes at room temperature before storing it.
The rest time helps it cool down and prevents a sudden temperature change that could compromise its quality.
Store the milk in the refrigerator if you intend to use it within a few days. It is safe to refrigerate breast milk for up to 4 days at temperatures below 39°F (4°C).
If you won’t be using the milk within a few days, freezing is a great option.
Place the containers in the freezer, but leave enough space for the milk to expand.
Breast milk can be safely frozen for up to 6 months, though using it within three months is recommended.
f) Thawing frozen milk
When ready to use frozen breast milk, thaw it slowly in the refrigerator overnight.
Alternatively, you can use a bottle warmer to thaw it under warm running water.
Avoid using a microwave or boiling water, as heat can destroy some of the milk’s beneficial properties.
g) Gentle mixing before use
After thawing, gently swirl the milk to mix the fat that may have separated. Avoid vigorous shaking to minimize nutrient loss.
How can I deal with the guilt of not being able to breastfeed exclusively due to a busy schedule?
Any amount of breast milk you can provide is valuable and beneficial to your baby’s health.
Stay positive and focus on the quality of time you spend with your baby when you’re together rather than dwelling on the times you can’t breastfeed.
Let your family and friends share household chores or baby care responsibilities, leaving you more time for breastfeeding.
What should an employer provide to workers who need to express breast milk in the workplace?
Employers must provide a reasonable amount of break time and a space for nursing employees to express milk as frequently as needed up to a year following the birth of an employee’s child.
The frequency and duration of each break will likely vary, but the space provided by the employer can not be a bathroom and must be shielded from view and free from intrusion by others.
As a new mom, whether you’re working or not, you’re going to experience times when you’ll need to be away from your little one. So it makes sense to plan how to keep your breast milk flowing and your baby well-fed when you’re apart.
The articles below will help you understand breastfeeding and the safe handling of breast milk:
- Breastfeeding vs Pumping: Things Every Mother Should Know
- Breastfeeding And Diabetes (Is It Okay To Breastfeed With Diabetes?)