Working and breastfeeding

Some women think that going back to work means the end of breastfeeding.  Not so! It takes a little bit of effort, but it’s done all the time and is a “win win” situation for everyone.

If you are planning to return to work and have not done so already, find out if there is a lactation policy or benefit in place. Ask if your employer will give you a private place and time to express milk. Can you work from home a few days a week or ease back into work part-time? Helping you to continue breastfeeding your baby is in an employer’s best interest, as mothers of breastfed babies miss work less often because their babies are sick less often.

There are a variety of breast pumps available; one is sure to meet your specific needs. Manual pumps are often preferred by women who pump infrequently, while working women often prefer electric double pumps because they are most efficient.  A lactation consultant can help you evaluate your needs and choose wisely.  Don’t forget a good supply of bags or bottles to store the pumped breastmilk. 

You will probably need to pump two to three times in a full-time workday, for about 10 to 15 minutes each time. Your childcare provider should support your breastfeeding relationship with your baby by feeding your child the pumped breastmilk you have left for her and by welcoming you to feed your baby during the workday if you are close by.

Successful breastfeeding is a mix of love and logistics. A little planning, research and networking can ensure that you are able to give your baby and yourself its benefits while you lead the busy life of a modern mother.

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