How to Continue Breastfeeding at Workby Laura Driver
There are a few options to make breastfeeding at work as easy as possible:
- Find childcare close to work – if you're lucky enough to be able to have your baby close to you in the daytime, you can breastfeed during your breaks.
- Negotiate a flexible working pattern – see if there's an option for you to work flexibly. This could include working part-time, working from home, breaking up the working week, having shorter workdays or working fewer but longer days.
- Experiment with partial breastfeeding – this involves breastfeeding while you're at home and expressing milk while you're at work so that your baby can drink your breast milk the next day, even when they're away from you.
- Whatever you decide, it might be worth doing a trial run before you return to work, so you can see if the new breastfeeding pattern works for you and your baby. If it doesn't, there'll be plenty of time to try something different.
- Chat to other moms about how they managed breastfeeding and going back to work – other women who've been through the same thing will be an invaluable source of knowledge, experience and advice.
How do I express milk at work?
Your workplace is legally required to provide suitable facilities for you to rest while you're pregnant or breastfeeding. This might be:
- A mother and baby room
- A first aid room
- A spare office
- A private room
You can use this space to express milk throughout the day.
It shouldn't be a toilet – you wouldn't prepare your own food in a public restroom, so you shouldn't have to prepare your baby's there either.
You'll probably need to express milk at least every 3 hours when you're first away from your baby. It's a good idea to practice expressing milk before you go back to work, so that you're used to it.
What are my legal rights?
Let your employer know in writing that you'll still be breastfeeding when you return. They're required to provide somewhere for you to rest during the day, including somewhere for you to lie down. For more on the legal side of breastfeeding while you're at work, you can refer to the US Department of Labor website, or the posters that are required to be posted in all workplaces in easily accessible locations. Also know that you are protected by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), which covers you through pregnancy, childbirth, and related issues (like breastfeeding).