How can I keep breastfeeding as I go back to work? Having a plan can make it easier
When you first start thinking about it, you'll probably have many questions.
Can I even continue to breastfeed when I'm back at work?
Will my workplace make it possible for me?
What about all that expressing?
Where do I even start in planning to return?
We make it a little easier for you with our plans.
ABA has Breastfeeding Plans to get your breastfeeding journey off to a great start. And Return to Work Plans for when you reach that stage. These plans also help to you to inform others about your needs and your intent to maintain your breastfeeding relationship while returning to work.
While you're still pregnant
Prepare to breastfeed by attending classes and educating yourself and your partner about how breastfeeding works and where to find support.
Talk with your partner about how important breastfeeding is for you and your baby and how his/her support is vital to getting breastfeeding started and keeping on with it.
If you know you'll be returning to work within the first year of your baby's life, put things in place now.
Discuss your plans with your employer before you take maternity leave.
Investigate your Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) options.
During your maternity leave
Think about your breastfeeding options for when you return to work. Combining breastfeeding and work can be done in a number of ways. Whether you will express and / or breastfeed your baby during your workday, or even spend some days working from home will depend on your work situation and childcare arrangements.
Different mums combine breastfeeding and working in different ways. You might:
- express at work
- breastfeed your baby at work if they are close enough to your work place and can be brought to you
- go to your baby for breastfeeds if you have childcare onsite
- combine breastfeeding and formula feeding.
Several months before you return to work
Let your manager or HR department know about your return to work, discuss your needs and find out what support is available.
Think about the day-to-day organisation you'll need for expressing, storing and transporting your milk home. Will you need to purchase or hire a breast pump?
Prepare your baby - How will they receive your breastmilk? Does your baby need to get used to feeding from a bottle?
Discuss your baby's needs with your Early Childhood Education and Care provider. Provide them with information about caring for a breastfed baby if needed.
Just before you start back
- Plan your work clothes if you'll be expressing at work.
- Think about what you'll need to carry to and from work - pumping equipment, bottles, cooler bag. etc
- Check in with your baby's carer and update them with your breastfeeding situation.
When considering the day-to-day routine, it may help to have a few practise runs. Getting ready for work and having baby ready for care can be a bit of a juggle. You might like to feed baby just before leaving for work and prepare for a re-connecting feed as soon as you are reunited.
Read more about returning to work and breastfeeding
Breastfeeding: women and work
30+ pages of evidence-led info and practical tips from our Breastfeeding Information Series