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Parents  >  Returning to Work  >  Nursing and Working

Nursing and Working

Breastfeeding and working is possible! You can prepare yourself and your baby to make the transition to working and child care as smooth as possible.


How to Prepare Yourself

  • Rent or purchase an electric breast pump with attachments. Give yourself time to practice using it and be sure it works for you.
  • Purchase a bag and bottles for transporting milk to child care.
  • Read or talk with lactation consultants or support groups like La Leche League to educate yourself on what to do.
  • Begin your baby on a bottle once a day at 4 or 5 weeks old, and pump while he or she takes the bottle.
  • Be persistent when first trying to accustom your baby to bottle feeding. Your baby may not take readily to a bottle. You may have to try various nipples.
  • Store extra breast milk in the freezer for unexpected situations. Label bags with your baby's name and the date. You can keep breast milk at home for times when you are away, and store the rest with your child care provider. Breast milk can be stored safely in the freezer for several weeks.
  • Find out if your employer has a nursing room or even a pump you can use. Breast milk should be refrigerated after you have expressed it into a storage container.
  • Remember that you can supplement with formula as well.
  • Discuss nutrition questions with your pediatrician.

When You Return to Work:

  • If possible, discuss with your supervisor when you will need to pump during the day and how it will fit in with your work day.
  • Talk to your caregiver about how you will be bringing the breast milk to her, and how to store it. Discuss how often to feed your baby, every baby's needs are different. Breast milk, being the most digestible food for infants, means that breast milk-fed infants usually feed more frequently than formula-fed ones.
  • Drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious meals during the day.
  • Bring in a photo of your child to help you let down your milk flow to pump.
  • Expect that your milk supply may decrease after being at work a while.
  • Get all the support you can from sympathetic co-workers and friends.
  • At first you may be pumping three times a day. Eventually this will decrease to twice and then once per day.
  • Set yourself a goal of how long you want to continue to breastfeed your child. Discuss this with your pediatrician. You should consider your own needs also. You may decide to switch to formula or stop breastfeeding except at home if:
    • You have a job that requires frequent travel
    • You have a workplace without a private room for pumping
    • There is no safe place to refrigerate your breast milk after pumping
Breast milk can be stored safely in the freezer for several weeks