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Bfing info at work

(16 Posts)
Bumperlicioso Tue 30-Jun-09 19:31:39

I have just started an informal (i.e. non-HR) page at work about going on maternity leave. I found the whole experience so stressful and my company is pretty unique in several aspects which I won't go into which make it all so much harder. There are also certain things that HR just can't advise on like how to manage coming back part-time, how to fit a nursery run in your day, etc.

Anyway, in addition I thought I might add a bit about breastfeeding, after all some women might still be bfing when they return to work. I just wanted opinions on how this sounded. I don't want to be wanky or patronising, but want to be humorous, all of which go against my natural instincts! This is what I was thinking:

'Breastfeeding

Yep, I said it. Breastfeeding. There, I said it again. Contrary to what some people think breastfeeding is a normal, natural process and there is no more reason why you can't mention it than you would say to a colleague 'I'm just popping to the loo'. Chances are that breastfeeding is a big part of your life for a while, in the same way that golf is to some people. Or World of Warcraft. It needn't be a taboo.

If you do a bit of research into the subject you might get the impression that breastfeeding isn't as simple as it should be and you might come across certain challenges. For the most part it should be easy and natural, but the reality is nowadays we try and fit breastfeeding into a different lifestyle, one with routines and structure and technology, and one where we usually have less people, most importantly, older woman around to help us and guide us than we once would. Often it is the case that our mothers and aunts didn't breastfeed and don't know how to help us.

Fortunately there are people and groups around who can help and support us. [My county] has a breastfeeding support network [website] and holds groups across the area dedicated to breastfeeding support. They are also a great place to socialise even when you no longer need support. The local group in [my town] is held at [children's centre] on [day, time] where you get the advice of a breastfeeding counsellor [sp?], support from peer supporters (other mums, given a little training) and a cup of tea and a biscuit. There are also helplines you can call [should be on local website]. Another extremely good resource is Kellymom.com.

Breastfeeding and returning to work

So you may be planning on coming back to work after 6 months or longer so how is this relevant to work? Well guess what? You can breastfeed beyond 6 months! And it isn't weird, or unnatural. It's the most natural thing in the world, as well as an excellent (and free!) source of nutrients and immunity for your baby. And you can still do it when you come back to work. Occupational Health have a room where you can go to express breast milk and a fridge in which to store it. Breast milk lasts in the fridge for much longer than you would think (see Kellymom for details) and you can freeze it, to ensure your baby has a good supply while you are at work. Invest in a decent pump and a cool bag and you are ready. Your line management will allow you time to express during the working day. Take a magazine and a picture of your baby. Sounds strange? Well the magazine is because it can be a boring 20 minutes and last time I was down there they only had ancient copies of Hello! And the picture is to help you encourage a 'let down' (don't know what that is yet? Give it time and your ears will be open to a whole new world of baby-related idioms like 'Bumbo', 'baby-led weaning' [I had to get a plug in there!] and 'doidy cups'). Woman have managed to breastfeed and work successfully for many months. Hopefully, should you chose to do so, you can continue for as long as you want, even once you have returned to work.'

What do you think? It isn't wholly work related, but hopefully work won't mind me adding it to the maternity page with a view to supporting colleagues. It is going to potentially be part of people's work lives if they are still feeding when they return to work. Tell me if it is a bit crap.

Thanks

choufleur Tue 30-Jun-09 19:35:36

It sounds a bit patronising to me.

Some people may come back to work much sooner than 6 months and not everyone thinks feeding beyond 6 months is weird.

spicemonster Tue 30-Jun-09 19:37:57

Do you know what - I'd put my company forward for an award for supporting mothers in work if they put that on their maternity pages - good on you!

I have never read anything that encourages women to breastfeed once they return to work so if your company do, then that's great and you should shout about it. And I can see from the POV of someone who has already been there, done it, it might come across as slightly patronising but I think that's a good tone to take when you're talking to mums to be because you make it sound pretty easy.

<sends round of applause>

Bumperlicioso Tue 30-Jun-09 19:45:05

'Some people may come back to work much sooner than 6 months and not everyone thinks feeding beyond 6 months is weird.' I thought someone might say that choufleur, I meant to say that it would be highly unlikely in our place as you get full pay for six months.

If you think it is really patronising how could I change it?

Spicemonster I am debating whether or not they'll agree as it's not really work related. I hope they do. I have also just set up a maternity buddy scheme where by experienced mothers can support mothers due to go off on mat leave, maybe drop them a line while they are off, help them when they come back. It is a very large organisation, and you often come back into a new role/team which is really hard, and things move on when you have been out of work for a year. When I was pg all I wanted was for one of my colleagues to say 'so, you're having a baby, how's that going?'. This is what I hope this scheme will do. I'm doing this outside of my normal work remit, I don't work in HR or anything.

choufleur Tue 30-Jun-09 19:51:27

I don't like the chatty bit "'let down' (don't know what that is yet? Give it time and your ears will be open to a whole new world of baby-related idioms like 'Bumbo', 'baby-led weaning' [I had to get a plug in there!] and 'doidy cups')." and the bit were you say that people may not know how long breast milk keeps. To me (and it may just be me - I think it's great that you're trying to support people) it sounds like you assume people don't know or haven't read stuff about babies in baby book, magazines etc or talked to other parents.

choufleur Tue 30-Jun-09 19:51:45

wish i had 6months full pay btw.

Bumperlicioso Tue 30-Jun-09 19:59:05

I take your point Choufleur but I was jest speaking from experience. I didn't know what a let down was till about a month into breastfeeding, and the stuff about how long milk keeps for I got from Kellymom and I have never met anyone in real life who realises that you can keep milk for as long as it says you can.

CMOTdibbler Tue 30-Jun-09 19:59:10

In the returning to work bit, I'd just say that you can combine bfing and work sucessfully - that some women express at work (and enjoy the break), and some choose to bf at home and give formula or water during the day. Whatever, it's a nice way to relax with your baby or toddler

Good on you for doing this - theres so little support for women who bf at work. I remember talking to a bfing counsellor before I went back (4.5 months) and all she said was 'you know you don't have to go back yet'. Which wasn't what I wanted to talk about. I expressed at work for a year and bf until DS was nearly 2

lisad123 Tue 30-Jun-09 19:59:20

I was given a leaflet about rights and bfing when going back to work, had loads of good wording and helpful hints. Not sure who made it though. Will see if i can dig it out.

Bumperlicioso Tue 30-Jun-09 20:06:18

Thanks for the replies, and if you could find anything lisa that would be great.

How can I sell it as important for work?

I suppose it might encourage more people to return to work sooner (not great for mums necessarily but good for work), make mums happier while at work knowing they can continue breastfeeding and maintain that bond with their child when they go back, this is aside from all the facts about rights and entitlements, and the justifications for those (but they benefit the mother and child, I'm trying to see how it can benefit work).

choufleur Tue 30-Jun-09 20:09:16

it may make some mums come back or like you say sooner. your company will have invested in its employees so them returning should help the company.

spicemonster Tue 30-Jun-09 20:44:48

It also might make some mums feel they can come back full stop! If you're breastfeeding and really really don't want to stop, you may decide it's just not worth going back because it means you have to make a choice (I did - there was no support or facilities for me to express at work so I had to stop when I went back).

Also I don't know what sector you work in but there is huge kudos, ability to recruit the best graduates and attract new clients if your organisation is seen as a good place to work and has the awards to prove it. Having a really refreshing and positive approach to encouraging new mothers to continue bfing would tick a lot of boxes in lots of the recruitment/retention/women/family friendly awards

xandrarama Tue 30-Jun-09 20:50:17

This NHS leaflet might be helpful - it provides further links, one to rights of breastfeeding employees: http://www.breastfeeding.nhs.uk/en/materialforclients/downloads/leaflet_4.pdf

It also talks about the benefits for employers of supporting employees who want to continue breastfeeding after they return to work.

maygirl Tue 30-Jun-09 22:26:54

Selling it as important for work: Less illness in babies therefore less time off for mums.
I only needed to have 1 day off with my DS being ill during his first 9 months at nursery while I expressed (he started going at just under 8 months old). I was really surprised, thought he'd catch loads of bugs. I'm convinced having a drink of EBM whilst there gave him extra protection against any illnesses doing the rounds in the baby room.

maygirl Tue 30-Jun-09 22:27:23

Selling it as important for work: Less illness in babies therefore less time off for mums.
I only needed to have 1 day off with my DS being ill during his first 9 months at nursery while I expressed (he started going at just under 8 months old). I was really surprised, thought he'd catch loads of bugs. I'm convinced having a drink of EBM whilst there gave him extra protection against any illnesses doing the rounds in the baby room.

DontCallMeBaby Tue 30-Jun-09 22:33:58

<pedant>fewer people, Bumper, not less</pedant>

Last para is bit over-egged, bit TOO chatty, but otherwise it's great.

BTW, one of my colleagues told me the other day that 'I'm just popping to the loo' was TMI. hmm

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