Breastfeeding and Returning to Work

April 3, 2012

You’re not alone – new mothers are returning to work in large numbers. It’s normal to feel sad when it’s time to go back to work after having a baby. However, try to look at returning to work with a positive attitude and seek support from other moms that have been through the same thing, maybe even in the same office. This support and positive attitude can help make pumping easier and make the transition back to work smoother.

Talk to other breastfeeding moms in your office. They will be a great support system as you adjust to pumping at work. They may even have some tips to share that worked well in your office environment. Pumping isn’t always easy when you’re balancing the demands of your job with the needs of your baby. It also may be reassuring to know that the government supports a working mother’s need to provide breast milk to her baby. Employers are required to provide a reasonable break for mothers to breastfeed or pump, in a space other than a bathroom.  Support from other moms will help keep you calm and comfortable, allowing you to relax and pump as efficiently as possible. Remember, your supply often depends on your general health and stress level.

Keep photos and videos of your baby at work. Also, consider bringing an item of clothing or cloth that smells like your baby. These sensory experiences will help remind you of cuddling and caring for your little one and may make pumping at work easier. Those pleasant images and smells can also act as motivation to keep pumping, even on those busy days at work.

Support breastfeeding at home. Talk to your baby’s caregivers about your commitment to breastfeeding and how they can help support your hard work, even when you’re not there. Try Calma, a unique breast milk bottle that mimics your baby’s natural feeding behavior, making it easier to transition from bottle to breast. With this bottle, milk will only flow when your baby creates a vacuum, similar to breastfeeding. Knowing your little one is getting the best care, while supporting breastfeeding will help to comfort you. Also, ask caregivers to feed your baby no later than an hour before you return home to pick him up. That way your baby will be ready to breastfeed right when you get home. Besides, who doesn’t love cuddling with their little one right when they walk in the door?

How did you stay positive while pumping at work? Share your advice in the comments below.

7 thoughts on “Breastfeeding and Returning to Work

  1. I took videos of my baby with my iPhone and of course pictures too. I created a file for just the photos and videos of her and I set it up to play on loop when I pump. I returned to work when she was 3 months old. She’s just turned 10 months and I still watch it from time to time. The videos helped with separation and encouraged me to pump. I’m only pumping one or two times a day at work now, but I still get about 5oz for her to have while she’s at daycare. It’s getting harder to motivate to pump though. I’d love to have lunch hours for myself again!

  2. Thearry Loun says:

    I didn’t realize that when pumping at work that a picture or the scent of my baby can ease pumping and help with milk flow. Awesome!

  3. hello, I am a working mother and I express during the day. to what age would you recommend that I express till. My little one is 9.5 months and I have been expressing for her at work since 4months. I still breastfeed morning, evenings during the week and then during the day at weekends. Please can I have your advise as some people say I should offer formula during the day – instead of expressed milk – what are the health benefits to prolong to continue with expressing.

    • Hi Sarah,

      First off – great job breastfeeding for over 9 months! You should feel very proud of yourself. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be exclusively breastfed for about the first 6 months of life. This means your baby needs no additional foods or fluids unless medically indicated. Babies should then continue to breastfeed for 1 year and for as long as is mutually desired by the mother and baby. Breastfeeding provides wonderful health benefits for your baby (and for you, too!) – learn about the various benefits here:

      Hope this helps, keep up the great work!

  4. My little one is 2months old and I’ll be returning to work next week and she doesn’t take a bottle, what do I do? I’ve tried dr.brown adiri and Tommie tippie…..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment validation by @