Breast Pumps – a Balancing Scale for Managing Motherhood and Work
Breastfeeding as a practice is very important for a lactating mother. But new age lactating mothers are generally in a fix while managing office and motherhood hand in hand. However, medical technology has given a sigh of relief to working mothers with the innovation of breast pumps.
According to World Health Organization (WHO) mothers should breastfeed their baby for a period of 6 months and above for their healthy growth. Breast milk certainly is a mother and baby’s protective shield of immunity. Nonetheless the pattern observed these days is that mothers generally practice breastfeeding for the first six months and later adapt to formula feeding or begin weaning their babies to be back at work. The professional side takes a toll on the motherly instinct.
A recent survey by Medela, a research based company that provides breastfeeding solutions to mothers around the world has shown that, 35% of corporates offer their female employees a maternity leave of 3-6 months. 59% of the corporates surveyed admitted to having an attrition rate in their female employees, with “having to breastfeed the baby” being one of the top reasons for women quitting their jobs. Results showed that about 42% of women had to quit their jobs to take care of their newborn.
Breast pumps are medical devices used by lactating mothers to express and retain milk supply. The market is now filled with breast pumps which mimic the child’s breastfeeding style and stimulate breasts effectively thus aiding in generating milk and thereby reducing post-pregnancy weight.
Electric or manual, battery powered, single or double pumps – a mother has choices galore while opting for the right device. These wonder pumps are designed in a way to mimic nursing habits of babies and fit in the shape of the breast properly. A breast pump works much in the same way as a baby’s mouth, drawing the milk out of the mother’s breast. In the case of a pump, the milk is drawn into a bottle for storage. They can be adjusted as per required speed and suction levels to suit the needs of the mother. They are light weighted and compact therefore cleaning is not a problem.
Double electric pump uses double pumping technology to yield breast milk with a higher energy content which is beneficial for preterm baby’s growth. This double pumping technology also helps in increased drainage of excess milk and regulating lactation.
A survey by Medela also reports that 49% of mothers surveyed take the help of a breast pump to provide round the clock milk to their child. Moreover, 43% of the working women who used breast pumps were able to join back work within three to six months of their child being born.
According to a report on “Global breast pump market” by Transparency Market Research, which is a global market intelligence company, the breast pump market is expected to boom with a growth rate of 8.8% from present to 2020. This growth is resultant of increasing women workforce across globe who are in a need of extracting milk several times a day and also looking to store it for a longer duration.
Medical technology has aided in changing the work dimensions for women making them more self-reliant and resourceful when it comes to the need of their babies. Also, increase in number of working women and their growing incomes have pushed the demand for breast pumps and breastfeeding solutions.
The writer is Mr. Amit Raj Gogia, Country Head, Medela India.