Breastfeeding as a Working mom
08 Mar 2016
by Emily Shiu, working mother at Prince Jewellery & Watch
From the very beginning of my first pregnancy, I decided to breastfeed in hopes of providing the best nourishment for my baby. Knowing the extensive benefits of breastfeeding for maternal and child health, I knew it was the right decision. Despite my confidence and commitment, returning to work as a nursing mother was a tough journey I had to face.
Three years ago, lactation policy and support was not established in my office. Although frustrated, I had to ensure my son had a consistent supply of breastmilk while I was away at work. I resorted to pump at the communal bathroom in the work building. However, the sanitation condition of the bathroom was less than ideal for expressing breastmilk. I had to spend more time sterilizing the bathroom before pumping, and I was stress inducing as I felt the pressure from being away from my work for too long. These are often the struggles nursing mothers faced when returning back to work. I have heard many sharings by mothers who have given up due to these factors. Luckily, things have taken a change for me as I entered into my second pregnancy.
Since I have returned to work at Prince Jewellery & Watch from my maternity leave three months ago, I have experienced significant changes as a working mom who wishes to breastfeed. The breastfeeding-friendly workplace initiative has been implemented and has offered tremendous support. To help us manage and balance work load and breastfeeding commitment, we can take two sessions of thirty minute lactation breaks during office hours. Nursing mothers at our office can ensure to have a private and sanitary environment for breastmilk expression as one of the interviews rooms can be altered into a breastfeeding room when needed. Supervisors and colleagues have been supportive of the implemented breastfeeding policy which makes transitioning back to work much easier.
Having experienced both the ups and downs of breastfeeding as a working mother, the implemented changes at work have only been positive. It is encouraging to know that my workplace highly values my health and my child’s health. The company’s flexibility in the provision of my needs has empowered me to better manage my identity as a working professional, as well as a nursing mother.