Breastfeeding When Returning to Work
With a little planning, you will be able to keep breastfeeding when you go back to work. Many mothers find they maintain milk production more easily if they breastfeed before showering or getting ready for work. Then they breastfeed again just before leaving the baby with the care provider. Read on for some more helpful tips below.
A new routine
If possible, create a pumping routine based on when your baby would normally breastfeed, especially when first returning to work. But you, your baby, and your milk production will adjust to a new routine if you are able to pump often enough. Many mothers do find pumping sessions go more quickly when they are able to pump at about the same time each day.
Most mothers prefer to pump both breasts at once with a double collection kit about every 3 hours, for 10 to 15 minutes. Double pumping reduces pumping time. But frequent sessions are needed to empty the breasts for continued milk production. Pumping frequently can also help you to not have any breast discomfort. Pumping less often, even for longer than 15 minutes, doesn't help maintain milk production for the long term. It may be hard for you to keep a regular pumping schedule at work. If that’s the case, then try expressing small amounts of milk during quick bathroom breaks. This can help maintain your milk production better than going for longer periods without expressing any milk.
Making time to breastfeed
Plan to breastfeed your baby as soon as you are back together. Ask your care provider to try not to feed your baby for 1 to 2 hours before you arrive. It may help to call the care provider when you are ready to leave work, so they know when you are on your way.
You may need to arrange your evening schedule so you can spend more time with your baby when you get home. Breastfeeding more often in the evenings and on weekends can help you better maintain milk production. You and your baby will also enjoy the time together after having been apart.
As solid foods are added to your baby's diet, you may find you don’t have to pump as often. Slowly lessen your pumping sessions. You may want the care provider to offer the solid foods, so your baby keeps breastfeeding more when they are with you. This also may allow you to begin slowly extending the time between your pumping sessions.
Adjusting to change
The first few days or weeks after you return to work may be difficult until you and your baby develop a new routine. You can expect a period of adjustment as your body and your baby respond to the change. Some mothers produce less milk the first week they return to work, due to the stress and changes in schedule. If this does occur, your milk production should increase with frequent pumping sessions. Keep breastfeeding your baby as often as possible when not at work.
Contact your healthcare provider or a certified lactation consultant for information, advice, and help about breastfeeding.
Online Medical Reviewer: Donna Freeborn PhD CNM FNPHeather M Trevino BSN RNCMary Terrell MD
Date Last Reviewed: 2/1/2021
© 2000-2021 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
- Adding to Mother's Milk
- Breast Milk Collection and Storage
- Breast Milk Expression
- Breastfeeding and Delayed Milk Production
- Breastfeeding and Returning To Work
- Breastfeeding at Work
- Breastfeeding Difficulties - Baby
- Breastfeeding Difficulties - Mother
- Breastfeeding: Getting Started
- Breastfeeding: Returning to Work
- Breastfeeding the High-Risk Newborn
- Breastfeeding When Returning to Work
- Breastfeeding Your Baby
- Breastfeeding Your High-Risk Baby
- Breastfeeding Your Premature Baby
- Breastmilk: Pumping, Collecting, Storing
- Difficulty with Latching On or Sucking
- Effective Sucking
- Expressing Milk for Your High-Risk Baby
- Expressing Your Milk - Helpful Equipment
- Flat or Inverted Nipples
- How Breastmilk Is Made
- Low Milk Production
- Managing Poor Weight Gain in Your Breastfed Baby
- Maternal Nutrition and Breastfeeding
- Maternity Leave
- Milk Production and Your High-Risk Baby
- Newborn Multiples
- Overactive Let-Down
- Plugged Milk Ducts
- Sore Nipples
- Storing Your Breastmilk
- Surgery and the Breastfeeding Infant
- Taking Care of Your Breast Pump and Collection Kit
- Thawing Breast Milk
- The Benefits of Mother's Own Milk
- Using a Breast Pump
- Your Baby and Breastfeeding
- Your High-Risk Baby and Expressing Milk
- Breastfeeding Best Bet Against Baby Allergies
- Breastfeeding May Keep Babies from Inheriting Food Allergies
- Breastfeeding Quiz
- Breastfeeding Your Premature Infant at Home
- High-Risk Newborns and Low Milk Production
- How Long Should You Breastfeed?
- Is Your Baby Getting Enough Milk?
- When Your Baby Has Trouble Latching on or Sucking
- Your Baby’s Nutrition in the First Few Days