Going Back To Work as a Breastfeeding Mother

By Janeva Babbel

Yes you can work and breastfeed – all it takes is a little planning.​​

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Preparing to go back to work after breastfeeding can seem daunting, but here are some steps to make the transition as smooth as possible.​

  • Prepare with your employer. Before you go back to work tell your employer that you’re breastfeeding and you’ll need to pump throughout the day. Arrange for a clean, private place to pump and a place where you can store your milk. Make sure your employer knows that studies show that breastfeeding mothers miss less work. If your supervisor can’t meet your needs, check with your Human Resources Department.
  • Practice pumping 2-3 weeks before you go back to work, if possible. This way you can build up a supply of frozen milk. Also make sure your baby has some practice taking your milk from a bottle.
  • When you are at work, pump about every 3-4 hours. If you don’t pump often enough you may have trouble with a poor milk supply, leaking or plugged ducts
  • Try to get a pump that pumps both breasts at the same time. This saves pumping time.
  • Breastfeed as soon as you get home from work and frequently when at home with the baby. This will help maintain your milk supply
What may happen when you are separated from your baby?
  • Some babies have a normal period of adjustment that may include lack of appetite and an increase in fussiness. They will soon make the adjustment.
  • Some mothers choose to give formula to their baby while at work and breastfeed while at home. Although breast milk is best, if you choose to give your baby formula, consider also breastfeeding – any amount of breast milk is beneficial for your baby.
  • Many mothers find that returning to work is stressful. This may causes a temporary decrease in your milk supply. Frequent pumping or feeding will bring your supply back. Having a supply of frozen milk will help you through this period.
For more information on breastfeeding, going back to work, or newborn information visit our newborn care site.