Returning To Work When You’re Breastfeeding – Part 1

This is Part 1 of a series of posts about how to manage breastfeeding while returning to (paid) work.  Returning to work can present some challenges, but with the right information and support, these challenges (like other breastfeeding challenges) can be negotiated and overcome.  Part 1 focuses on what you can do before the baby arrives to help the transition when you do go back to work.

It CAN work.  You CAN continue to breastfeed your baby.  A few things can be done to make the transition easier for both of you.

  1. Before you leave work to have your baby, look into your options for returning.  Look into your leave entitlements, government support, job flexibility and ability to work some of your time from home.  Discuss what flexibility is available if you decide to take more leave than you initially anticipated.  Explore what breastfeeding facilities are available at your workplace.  Can your baby’s caregiver bring your baby to your workplace when they need a feed?  Is there a room where you would feel comfortable expressing milk?  Does your workplace have a child-care facility or family-friendly policy?  Do they have a specific breastfeeding policy?  Are they an accredited Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace?
  2. The Age-Old Question…. Do I REALLY have to go back to work?  Sometimes the answer is a resounding yes – for various reasons.  Whether for financial, career or personal reasons some people do have to go back to work.  Others decide to make some life changes in order to delay returning to work.
  3. Set A Date.  When you know your return to work date, it will be easier to put a plan together to make the transition easier.  For example mothers returning to work when baby is a few weeks old, will have a very different time than those returning when their baby is nearly one year old.  If your date changes, your plan may just need a little adjustment.
  4. Look into your child-care options.  Some people are happy with the local child-care centre, sometimes dad will be the stay-at-home carer.  Maybe nana is happy to look after her grandchild and often it’s a mix of formal and non-formal arrangements that can make going back to work, work.  Look into all your options and choose the one that is the best fit for you and your baby.  Some carers will need information on caring for a breastfed baby.  There is a good booklet produced by the ABA for this purpose (http://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/bf-info/breastfeeding-and-work/caregivers-guide-breastfed-baby)

When you’ve looked into these issues, it’s time to sit back, relax and look forward to holding your little one in your arms.

Part 2 of this series will focus on what you can do once baby has arrived to help the transition back to work.  If you’ve got any suggestions or comments I’d love for you to add a comment below.

Image by David Castillo Dominici


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