A survey of working mothers conducted by HealthyWomen about breastfeeding in the workplace found the top three reasons why working moms decide to continue breastfeeding are: Health benefits for the baby; the emotional bond between mom and baby; and because it is the most natural way to feed a baby.
These are all excellent reasons to breastfeed your baby. While there will be challenges if you're going back to work, you can make it work. Here are some guidelines:
Plan in advance. Before returning to work, talk with your employer/human resources department about their corporate policies and your needs to continue breastfeeding.
Know what to ask for. Ask for a private, clean room where you can pump.
Discuss scheduling. Discuss how pumping breaks (20 minutes every 3-4 hours) will fit into your schedule.
Educate your employer. Review the benefits of breastfeeding (fewer missed work days, shorter absences, etc.).
Buy or rent a breast pump. This will give you the flexibility to maintain your milk supply and also feel connected to your baby even when you're away.
Store your milk safely. You can pump into the same bottles throughout the day as long as the milk is kept chilled.
Connect with other moms. Seek out other working mothers who can offer you support.
Start right away. Breastfeed your baby as soon as you get home.
What You'll Need
- An insulated bag with cold packs (most pumps come with a cooler pack)
- Bottles/bags to collect/store your milk
- Labels to note the date
- Breast pads to protect your clothes and conceal any leakage
- Picture of your baby