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Breastfeeding and Working: You Can Do It
Why Breastfeed After Returning to Work?
Making It Work
- Do a trial run before you actually return to work—Put your child in daycare while you are still at home to get a feel for the schedule and how things might go after you start work.
- Talk to your employer—Work with your employer to create a workplace that is friendly toward breastfeeding. Try to find an advocate at your place of employment who is supportive of breastfeeding and can help you if any problems arise.
- Maintain privacy—Ensure that you have a private space to pump, with an electrical outlet, a place to store milk, and facilities to rinse the pump parts. In many cases, your employer is required by law to provide time and a place for you to pump.
- Buy a good pump—You need an effective pump. For women separated from their babies for a full work-day, this often means a hospital-grade pump that will provide enough pressure and speed to reproduce the baby's sucking and stimulate continued milk supply over time.
- Dress appropriately—Wear clothing that will hide any leakage and allow for easy pumping at work—avoid dresses, and clingy or transparent blouses. Use a hair clip to hold your blouse out of the way.
- Pencil it in—Schedule pumping sessions in your date book as you would a meeting.
- Fuel your body—Drink water often while at work. Remember to eat well.
- Take it easy—The first two weeks after returning to work are often the most tiring. Cut back on other activities during that time. Get as much help with household chores as possible.
- Talk to friends—Find other moms who have successfully breastfed while working and enlist their support.
- Ask the expert—Keep the telephone number of a lactation consultant handy in case problems arise.
- Nurse whenever you can—Nurse frequently when you are with your baby to maintain your milk supply.
- Remember that medication can affect your breast milk and your baby—Talk to your healthcare provider before taking prescription and over-the-counter medication, as well as herbs and supplements.
Le Leche League International http://www.lalecheleague.org
Women's Health—US Department of Health and Human Services http://www.womenshealth.gov
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada http://www.sogc.org
Women's Health Matters http://www.womenshealthmatters.ca
Breastfeeding. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated December 5, 2013. Accessed December 22, 2009.
Fact sheet #73: break time for nursing mothers under the FLSA. United States Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division website. Available at: http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs73.pdf. Updated August 2013. Accessed December 23, 2013.
7/6/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Schwarz EB, Ray RM, Stuebe AM, et al. Duration of lactation and risk factors for maternal cardiovascular disease. Obstet Gynecol. 2009;113:974-982.
10/9/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Barclay AR, Russell RK, Wilson ML, Gilmour WH, Satsangi J, Wilson DC. Systematic review: the role of breastfeeding in the development of pediatric inflammatory bowel disease. J Pediatr. 2009;155(3):421-426.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 12/2013
- Update Date: 01/09/2014