In this page, I will discuss my experiences in the Philippines and in Canada as a working Mom. I do hope my journey will be a learning experience for you so that you can anticipate what things to expect when you go back to work after your maternity leave.
IN THE PHILIPPINES
I used to work for one of the multinational banks in the country, and I must say that I am very lucky with our management team and with the breastfeeding amenities of the Company. My manager is a female and she even lent me a mini portable freezer that I can use to store my pumped milk.
My seatmate and team is very considerate that they do not mind if I pump in my desk (of course I use a nursing cover) whenever there is a conference call that I need to attend. Also, they allow you to pump milk every 2-3 hours while working and pumping stations with a large freezer is available for breastfeeding Moms.
If we did not have to move to Canada, I will still stay with the Company. The support system is phenomenal and everyone is just understanding of your breastfeeding journey.
When I started working, my little one is a little over 2 years old so I did not find the need to pump. Most of my little one’s nutrition is coming from solid foods. Hence, I will base my experience on a breastfeeding toddler and on my observations in my current workplace.
Not pumping while I am working in a building in Mississauga is a great relief already because the Company that I am working for only has a Wellness room.
There is no privacy in the wellness room, and there is no dedicated freezer for breastmilk storage for the day. The freezer that is available for use is in the pantry.
Another factor is the support coming from the management. The manager that I worked for in this Company is not as supportive because even with requests for a few days to go home at 4PM in order to get my little one from Daycare is taken against me. It is not as if I am doing it everyday of the week, and I also come to office at 8:30AM and work at night to make-up with the 30 minutes that I missed. Of course we do not have a support system here in Canada and there were days that my little one’s daycare is closed, so I requested for work from home or unpaid absence options during these days but both are rejected. It was just so unfair with how I was treated because there are employees who comes to the office at 10AM and goes home at 5PM, or some are taking work from home option more than once a week, and he himself drank with his minions on a Friday afternoon during office hours. So, this has led me to the decision to leave the workforce and go back to being a stay-at-home Mom. With this situation, it would have been so hard for me to breastfeed if I have this type of work environment and manager.
I have talked to other managers, and I guess, I was just not lucky to have a manager such as him. But if you are in a situation almost similar as mine, my advice is to stand on your ground and pump during your break time like lunch. And then immediately once you meet with your little one whether in a daycare or in your home, immediately breastfeed your little one. Breastfeed right at the moment you touch your little one because this will immediately establish the bond between the two of you and the production of milk will go on. However because you’ve been away from your little one for a long period, it is normal that he/she will breastfeed more at night. Your little one will demand more night time feeding than usual. But do not give up, not for long your little one will wean and you will miss breastfeeding. So just take your time and don’t give up.