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Working and Breastfeeding

Tips to help working moms make the transition smoothly

Working and breastfeeding is a challenge for many moms and babies. Just as breastfeeding starts feeling natural and easy, it’s time for you to return to work and develop a whole new normal. Here are a few tips to make the transition between working and breastfeeding smooth.


Breastfeeding mothers working together in office

Talk to your boss before having your baby

Speaking to your employer about your plans before you have your baby makes the return to work a little easier. Let your boss know you’ll be providing breast milk to your baby once you’re back at work. Become familiar with your pumping facilities and how to access them.

Know the breastfeeding policy at your workplace

Federal law now protects non-exempt employees who are pumping at work. Many states also have pump at work laws that extend the federal law to all employees. Speaking to your company’s human resources department is a great place to start if you aren’t sure how the law applies to you — as is talking with other women who recently had babies on the job.

Breast pumps take time and patience. Get some practice!

Make sure you’re familiar with your pump before it’s time for work. You want to be comfortable attaching it, using it, and keeping to a regular schedule. The general guidance is to pump when your baby is eating — so, if baby eats every three hours, you should pump every three hours. The more consistent you are, the more consistent your milk supply will be — so consider blocking your calendar for 20-30 minute pump breaks every three hours, and don’t ignore those calendar reminders when the time comes. Find local or online breastfeeding support groups

Pumping at work can be very lonely, especially if you don’t know other pumping mothers who can support and encourage you. Finding support at in-person lactation groups or even online breastfeeding support groups can keep you going on tough days. We also love the free Pumpspotting app for this reason!

Keep breast pump spare parts at your workplace

Inevitably, you will forget a power cord or valve at home one day. Keeping spare parts in a desk drawer alleviates some of the stress for when a part is left behind. We recommend also having extra milk storage bags or containers, snacks, and a spare water bottle (plus a spare shirt for the inevitable day when you miss a pump session and spring a leak!)

There are so many pumping strategies for working mothers. Feel free to make your own rules and pumping schedule that fits your needs best.

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