Breastfeeding and Working: You Can Do It
by Amy Scholten, MPH
Breast milk is the perfect nutrition source for babies. Breastfeeding has many health benefits for the baby and mother. To get the most benefits, breastfeeding is advised for the first year. However, many breastfeeding moms return to work during this time. Sometimes this creates barriers that cause moms to stop breastfeeding.
Why Breastfeed After Returning to Work?
Benefits for Breastfed Babies
Breastfeeding provides health benefits to babies. It helps reduce the baby's risk of many health problems, such as:
Breastfed babies tend to be sick less often than babies who drink formula. This means that breastfeeding moms miss less time from work.
Benefits for Breastfeeding Moms
Breastfeeding also benefits moms. It can help moms return to their pre-pregnancy weight sooner. It may also lower the risk of:
Breastfeeding also strengthens the mother-infant bond.
Finally, moms may find breastfeeding convenient. They do not have to deal with the cost and preparation of formula.
Breastfeeding can be challenging when returning to work. Working moms often worry about producing enough milk for their babies. Long work hours and stress can lower their milk supply. In addition, working moms who breastfeed may be more tired. They need to plan their time more carefully than bottle-feeding moms.
Other challenges are finding the time and space to breastfeed (or pump breastmilk) at work. There may also be lack of support at the workplace. How can you overcome these challenges?
Making It Work
Here are some tips to transition back to work while breastfeeding:
It will take a while to adjust to working and breastfeeding. Be patient with yourself. With careful planning, you can do a good job at work and be a nursing mom.
Le Leche League International
Office on Women's Health
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
Women's Health Matters
Breastfeeding. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/management/breastfeeding. Accessed October 28, 2021.
Breastfeeding and going back to work. Office on Women's Health website. Available at: https://www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding/breastfeeding-home-work-and-public/breastfeeding-and-going-back-work. Accessed October 28, 2021.
Fact sheet #73: break time for nursing mothers under the FLSA. United States Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division website. Available at:https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/WHD/legacy/files/whdfs73.pdf . Accessed October 28, 2021.
Support for breastfeeding in the workplace. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/pdf/BF_guide_2.pdf. Accessed October 28, 2021.
Last reviewed October 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board
Last Updated: 10/28/2021
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