4 Ways to Make Working and Breastfeeding Easier on You and Your Baby

Working and Breastfeeding can be a challenging task, but with a little bit of preparation and careful planning, it can be done successfully. Here are some tips to help you work while breastfeeding and keep both you and your child healthy.

When preparing to return to work, be aware that you will feel ambivalent about going back. Even if you love what you do, it’s hard to leave your baby behind. Not so much because of what others may say or think, it’s the mother child connection. As long as you realize that this is a normal part of being a working mom, and avoid beating yourself up too much, you will transition.

Working and Breastfeeding

Preparing Ahead

The best way to get ready for any big event is to prepare ahead. Before you even have the baby, speak with your Human Resources representative or supervisor to find out about policies for maternity leave, time off without pay, breaks and lunch hours. Find out if there is pumping room-many companies large and small offer these to improve employee retention because of recent laws about workplace support. If not, is there a private area where you will be able to pump? A bathroom is not a good location so get creative and ask for input.

In addition, you need to choose a childcare provider before you have the baby; or at least have a plan for finding one. This can be a difficult task and you may not have many options if you wait until your maternity leave to start. Once you make your choice, make sure that your care provider is educate about supporting the breastfeeding mother. If you need resources for your caregiver, a local lactation consultant, breastfeeding coalition or LaLeche League leader can help you with resources for this.

While on Leave

There is not a perfect time for all babies to get their first bottle, but experts agree that breastfeeding should be well established first. On average, around one month of age may be a good starting point for you. There is not a perfect bottle for a breastfed baby either, regardless of what the advertising says-most of it is baloney. Most babies will transition to any type of bottle. Bottle preferences are usually from individual personality, not feeding method. You can have dad or grandma intro the bottle for you after you pump to replace a feeding, they will probably be happy to take care of this little task for you. You will want to make sure that the baby doesn’t drink from the bottle too fast-this can lead to overfeeding. Check out kellymom.com to read about bottle feeding a breastfed baby.


Although you may have already pumped to introduce a bottle, you will need to establish a pump routine before you return. The minimum amount of time that you will need is at least two weeks, but three is better. The first week, you will pump once a day, immediately following a morning feeding for about 10 min. Don’t expect to get a lot of milk, you are mostly stimulating and starting a stockpile. Do this every day for the first week, combining your milk yield into a bottle or storage bag until you get approx. 2-4 ounces (depending on how you want to store the milk. At the second week before your return, pump once in the morning, and once in the early afternoon, again 10 minutes, immediately following a feeding. If you are working longer shift, you will need to add a third pumping in the following week, otherwise, use the extra week to continue to build your routine. As your body becomes accustomed to pumping, your milk ejection reflex will respond more effectively and pumping should get easier.

Back at Work

If you can go back part time on half days, or at least for a partial work week, that may ease the transition as well. You will need to make an effort to pump at about the same time every day if possible, for about 15-20 min total. Take a baby picture and a blanket to help your body respond to the pump-it’s aromatherapy at its best. If you can leave at lunch time to go nurse your baby, that’s even better and means you can pump less in most cases.

Like parenting itself, returning work is an adjustment.  Give yourself and your baby plenty of time to adjust (it can even take several weeks), and try not to sweat the small stuff.

We hope this information helped you understand how Working and Breastfeeding can be affected by your work. As a new mother, it is your right to decide when and how to breastfeed. However, don’t forget that there may be some issues if you decide to return back to work after giving birth. So make sure you talk it out with your partner or doctor before taking any such step. One of our experts will discuss more on the topic in case you wish!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some questions to ask about breastfeeding?

There are many questions to ask about breastfeeding, and here are just a few:
-How often should I breastfeed? Breast milk is least effective when it’s been stored for more than 2 hours. So, you’ll want to feed your baby every 1-2 hours during the first 3-4 days of life while he or she is in the hospital and then once daily thereafter. If you’re working, pumping at work, or traveling with your baby, try to stagger feeding times so that both you and your child are getting the maximum amount of breast milk possible.

What is the impact of breastfeeding on a working mother?

According to the findings of numerous studies, offering a lactation programme at work helps businesses save money by reducing absenteeism and boosting employee job satisfaction. This article analyses these advantages and outlines strategies working mothers can use to successfully balance breastfeeding and employment.

How long can you breastfeed at work?

Flyer (PDF) Regarding Nursing Mothers’ Workplace Protections: For a year following the birth of the kid, employers must give qualified employees a fair amount of break time so they can pump breast milk for their nursing child in accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

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