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Tips for Breastfeeding When Returning to Work

If you’re one of the many moms who work outside the home, you may be feeling some anxiety about going back to work after the birth of your baby. Add questions about how you’ll feed your baby while you’re in the workplace, and it may be overwhelming. Although some moms choose to wean their baby before they go back to work, more and more moms are choosing to continue to breastfeed after they return to work. Whether you’re going back to work in a few weeks, or in a few months, here are some tips to help you set yourself up for breastfeeding success.

1. Learn how to express and safely store your breastmilk. Breastmilk can be expressed by hand or with a breast pump. Pumping will help maintain your milk supply. Take time to practice expressing and storing your breastmilk a few weeks before you plan to return to work. It’s important to safely store and prepare your breastmilk. You can find information on how to pump and store breastmilk by visiting healthyparentshealthychildren.ca

2. Set time aside to breastfeed your baby before and after work. Before work: Sometimes the biggest challenge is realizing how much longer it takes to get ready in the morning now that you have a baby. Consider breastfeeding your baby at home or at the caregiver’s before leaving for work as this maximizes your baby’s feedings at the breast and minimizes the amount of pumping you’ll have to do. After work: Some mothers find it hard to be separated from their babies and breastfeeding can be a way to reconnect after a long day apart.

3. Talk to your caregivers. With your caregiver, discuss your plans to continue breastfeeding. Share information on how to safely store and prepare your breastmilk. Also, talk to them about your baby’s feeding patterns and possibly about you breastfeeding your baby when you arrive at the caregiver’s at the end of the day. 

4. Talk to your employer. One of the most important strategies for success is to talk to your employer about your plan to continue breastfeeding.

Here are some things you may want to talk about:

  • Any existing workplace breastfeeding policies

  • When and where you can express breastmilk

  • Where your breastmilk can be stored

  • Visiting your baby and breastfeeding during your lunch hour

These four tips are the first steps to consider when creating a return-to-work breastfeeding plan. Overall, ask for help when you need it and be flexible as you and your baby’s needs change over time. If you know other women who have expressed milk or breastfed at work, ask them about their successes, challenges, and how they solved them. But most importantly, be confident in your decision and do what you think is best for you and your baby. 

This information contains excerpts from Alberta Health Services’ Healthy Parents, Healthy Children resources. For more information about pregnancy and being a parent, visit healthyparentshealthychildren.ca

The Healthy Parents, Healthy Children team is a part of the larger Healthy Children and Families’ team at Alberta Health Services. Find them on Facebook at Healthy Parents, Healthy Children or follow on Twitter @AHS_HPHC. For questions or comments, contact hphc@ahs.ca.

 

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