I am a full-time working and breastfeeding mom. I must admit that it has been a very
challenging journey. With my firstborn, I went back to work when she was just under 3 months. My milk supply was excellent for the first 4 months but once she started eating, it took quite a dip. I remember being very stressed at not being able to express the amount of milk she was used to receiving and needed. I tried to pump milk, but the type of work I did made this difficult. I am sure most mothers would share the same feeling.
I decided to push for as long as I could with expressing at work, which was about 1
year, and then decided to let her eat and drink tea/water bottles during the day until we would
reunite at night for her feeds. It went well and the transition was easily received by her but
my mommy guilt at not being able to express milk for her to take to crèche was heart
breaking for me. I would watch my colleague express bottles (her baby was the same age) and then realised my milk supply was so low because I was expecting my second child. This did not stop my first born from drinking her milk at night!
(The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, pg 277: “Your baby won’t starve while you’re at work.
Your baby can get those daytime feedings in during the evening and nighttime hours instead
if he prefers, in a pattern called “reverse cycling.” Night nursings (breastfeeds) are a big help to every working mother’s milk supply, especially if your baby doesn’t eat much while
you’re at work.”)
With my second born, I changed jobs and went back to work when she was 2.5 months old. This job and breastfeeding was and is still so challenging for me. I remember scrolling through posts on social media while on maternity leave, where moms were asking about traveling and breastfeeding and I did not pay much attention because I was not there yet. However, when my daughter was 5 months, I needed to go to Durban (from Cape Town) for a day meeting and I thought it would be easy (little did I know). I had to pump nights (midnights) in advance when my milk supply was at its peak to get enough milk to make sure my daughter had enough milk for when I was gone. It was no joke and I take
my hat off to mothers who do it frequently. And now I find myself in the same situation, but my nerves are wearing thin because I need to go away for 6 days in August and 6 days in September. My second born is now 7.5 months. I have enough freezer stash to last her for the 6 days that I am away, but now I am stressed about how to transport breastmilk.
(LLLSA comment: Expressed breastmilk can be kept in a fridge for a week or a freezer for 6 months. Cooler boxes can be used when fridges are not available with frequent changing of the ice bricks/blocks. https://laleche.org.uk/taking-expressed-milk-on-airline/#:~:text=It%20must%20be%20in%20liquid,accompanied%20by%20the%20breastfeeding%20infant .)
I was told by the pharmacist that I am not allowed to breastfeed when I come back as I need
to continue my malaria tablets; however with the amazing support and reliable assistance of our La Leche League breastfeeding community, I can rest assured that I can feed her upon my arrival because the meds are safe to take while breastfeeding. But now my stress starts because I will need to go away again in September, which means a lot of midnights. My manager has been very accommodating with regards to shortening my travel time as much as is possible, which I am so thankful for.
(LLLSA comment: for medication safety and compatibility with breastfeeding, have a look at
I am a proud believer and advocate of breastfeeding and its natural properties. Everytime I
feel like giving up, I remember how blessed we are to be able to give our children milk they
need at any given moment.
Thank you to the Parow LLL Whatsapp group for always being available. We are truly appreciative of all the support. Without you all, I would have given up long ago.
Written by Saajidah Lagkar, physiotherapist, and breastfeeding mother - July 2017