Returning to work

If you know you will have to return to work early once your baby is born, remember any amount of breast milk is beneficial to baby.

It is advisable to speak to your midwife or health visitor so that you can have a plan in place which will help to make the transition easier for both you and your baby.

It is also important to speak to your employer as soon as possible so that they can ensure that they are able to fulfil their obligation to you.

Many women return to work when their baby is about 6 months old so complementary foods will be introduced and you may find baby needs a little less breast milk.

Expressing – you may find that you can express and store your milk for someone else to feed you baby while you are at work. Then when you return home you can sit down, relax and feed baby from the breast.

Flexible working – are you able to work flexi hours to fit in around your breastfeeding? There is legislation in place which means that your employer must make it possible for you to continue breastfeeding when you go back to work. You must let them know in writing that you intend to continue breastfeeding. If you are planning to express milk at work, you will need to arrange with your employer how you are going to manage this. There are health and safety guidelines covering breastfeeding mothers at work. Ideally, you should have access to a clean, warm room with a low, comfortable chair. If the door can't be locked, you can put a sign on it to ensure privacy. The toilet is not a suitable place. Check that if you are using an eletric pump an electric point is available, hand washing facilities nearby and

  • a hygienic area where you can clean your pump and store your sterilising equipment.
  • You will also need to ensure there is a fridge for storing breast milk. If this is difficult, a well-insulated cool-bag is an alternative.

If your baby will be with a child minder or at a nursery always ensure that they are aware of the correct storage of breast milk.

Myth:

It would be best if I stopped breastfeeding before I returned to work or study.

Exploding the Myth:

Not true!

Many mums find that if they express and store breast milk, and provide the care givers with this milk, they can continue breastfeeding.

Mum can also perhaps breastfeed before and after work if she wants to.

Breastfeeding information for parents