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Going Back to Work and Breastfeeding


Whether you're going back to work out of necessity or because you love your job, there are some things that need to be done in order to make breastfeeding and work mesh together. Use these tips and you won't need to stop breastfeeding baby just because you're re-entering the workforce. Breastfeeding might just provide you with the opportunity to reconnect with your baby once the workday is over.

Breastfeeding and Work

If you're going back to work and breastfeeding baby, you have a few options. These include:

  • Express milk. This enables a child care provider to give bottles of breastmilk while you're at work.
  • Arrange for childcare near your workplace. This is a great situation if your office has an on-site daycare since you'll be able to walk over and feed your baby during breaks.
  • Ask your employer for flexible working hours, or even a telecommute position. While you won't be able to take care of your child full-time while working, you could hire a nanny to come to your home and take breaks to feed your baby.

If you are planning on breastfeeding, you should inform your employer that you will need time to pump milk at work. Federal law requires employers to provide a reasonable break time to express milk, in a private location that is not a bathroom. However, it's not required that this time is “on the clock” and employers with fewer than 50 employees are also not required to follow the law.

How to Deliver Breast Milk When Going Back to Work and Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding at work takes a little practice, but it's possible. You'll need to pump milk using a breast pump or hand express. Make sure that your hands and equipment are clean and sterilized before you begin.

Milk should be stored in the refrigerator. If you don't have a refrigerator available, milk can be kept cool in a cooler bag with a couple of ice packs. Make sure to take the ice packs home every night so they are always ready to go the next day.

Milk can be stored for up to three months in a regular freezer and up to six months in a chest freezer. If you're storing the milk in the refrigerator, it should be used within 24 hours. Sometimes the fat will separate from the other parts of the milk. If this happens, a good shake can redistribute the fat.

Milk can be thawed in warm water, but it should be used immediately. If you defrost the milk slowly, it should be used within 24 hours.

Never microwave breastmilk. The microwave can create hot spots, which can burn your baby. Also, do not refreeze breastmilk.

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