The thought of having to go back to work is enough to make many women think really hard about whether the effort sometimes needed to get breastfeeding going is worth it… for those who have to go back to work in the first 3 months it can seem that as soon as things start to settle down, the whole thing has to change again to fit in with work.
For those who struggle in the first weeks of breastfeeding, it can seem that it’s just not worth the pain and turmoil.
Some mothers are lucky enough to be able to take 6 months or even a year or more off before they have to go back to work. But even then, once breastfeeding is well established and it becomes the way of mothering your baby in all situations, it can be hard to know how it’s all going to work once you have to leave your baby with someone else…
Should you give expressed milk? Can you even express enough for your baby? What if your baby won’t take a bottle? What if your baby takes a bottle but then refuses to breastfeed? What if you have to give formula – which one should you use? What if your baby doesn’t like formula?
I don’t think there is an easy answer to any of these questions – every baby and mother is unique, and even in the same family I think most mothers find that each of their babies is a little different and has their own cute personality and way of doing things.
The theme for this year’s World Breastfeeding Week is “Breastfeeding and Work – Let’s Make it Work!”
There is more information here but I’m really hoping that the theme this year will get lots of people talking about the normality of breastfeeding, and how important it is to work better to accommodate mothers who will be returning to work while still breastfeeding their baby.
Our local health and breastfeeding networks are going to be speaking to employers and mothers about how things could be improved and hope to have some great stories to share nearer the time.