The life of a working professional no longer strictly follows the old nine-to-five pattern. Uncertain work schedules have made things harder for the working mothers to handle and restricts the time they get to spend with their baby.
In the erstwhile joint family system, a mother could entrust her baby to the care of other family members and not worry. Nuclear families do not offer such loving support systems for baby care.
Moreover, these days only about 40 to 60 percent of working mothers spend quality time with their children, according to Divya, a practising child psychologist from Chennai, India. A mother’s bonding and quality time with her baby are extremely important for the baby's physical and mental growth. This is also an important factor in preventing diseases, boosting immunity and enhancing the IQ of the baby. Research, in fact, states that the character of a child is built by the time the child turns five-years-old.
So how can the modern working mother with her erratic work schedules spend quality time with her baby? It depends on the way in which they plan and prioritize. Divya, a practicing child psychologist from Chennai, India, says that 40% - 60% of the working mothers spend quality with the children. It depends upon the way in which they plan and prioritize. Research states that the character of a child is built by the time the child turns five-years-old.
Below are a three ways by which working mothers can help strengthen bond with their babies:
- Set aside a fixed set of hours before going to and returning from the office
The baby awaits your return eagerly, once you are off to work. Make sure you sit down with the baby for some time, talk to her, and cuddle her before starting your regular chores. Make sure you do the same before bidding bye to the baby in the morning every day.
- Mini Massage
A massage helps your baby feel relaxed and calm. The soothing, physical touch creates a closer bond between the two of you.
- The Vocal Engagement:
The voice of the mother greatly engages the baby. Singing songs, talking and reading stories are the best ways to create the connection.
Problems Faced by Working Mothers
Women are natural multi-taskers. Working mothers are prone to juggling between many tasks. Meeting deadlines at work, completing household chores and taking care of the little one is taxing.
One of the most challenging aspects of a working mother is striking a balance between work and tending to her child’s needs. This includes breast-feeding the child as well.
This often compels mothers to resort to early weaning of breast milk, expressed milk or formula feeds. Bottle feeds are also an option considered by many working mothers .
Despite provisions such as work from home or even flexible working hours, women do find it difficult to pay ample attention to both tasks. Jency, who is currently a medical business partner at WSR, United Kingdom said, “Child care is a full-time job. Likewise, working at an organization requires the same amount of hard work and dedication. Hence, it would not be wise to juggle both.”
While, work from home is a good option for the young mothers but many organizations do not provide this. Moreover, most offices are located in areas that do not have access to child care facilities. Most women, today, belong to nuclear families. Although the members of their family are supportive of their career decisions, they are unable seek the help of relatives or even their parents to take of their child in their absence.
Daycare facilities within the organization or its premises
More organizations should have a daycare within their premises. This would be a boon to the firm’s working mothers. Tripti Mittal, an IT professional, said that she would be delighted if her company provided her an option such as a day care centre. “That way, I could take a quick look at my son’s activities and ensure that he is safe,” she explains.
Breastfeed at ease
Ramzie, a highways engineer, said that she was compelled to consider early weaning off breast milk as she had to head to work. “This was a choice that I had taken, without consulting a pediatrician. There weren’t any alternatives in this case. My baby was allergic to cow’s milk (hence, no formula feeds for my baby) and she was uncomfortable with bottle feeds,” she explained.
Every firm should have a facility that enables the mother to breastfeed her baby without too many distractions. As mentioned by the Breastmilk Promotion Network of India (BPNI), it is crucial to breast-feed the baby until the she turns one-year-old.
Health schemes for mothers
Organizations should provide healthcare schemes like vaccination and regular health checkups which would be beneficial for the well-being of mothers. While health insurance schemes are available in plenty, schemes such as Short-Term Disability and Child Care could help may working women.
The Maternity Act of India 2017
Recently, the Indian Government has introduced an amendment of “The Maternity Act” which is likely to benefit a large section of working women.
The changes proposed are:
- Maternity leave available to the working women should be increased from 12 weeks to 26 weeks for the first two children, beyond which it continues to be 12 weeks.
- Every organization with more than 50 employees should provide crèche facilities to the working mothers. They should be allowed to make four visits during the working hours to look after and feed the child.