RETURNING TO WORK TIPS
Transitioning from the time at home with your baby to going back to work can be stressful and overwhelming. Mothers Milk for Michigan Infants has created tips for parents returning to work and hopefully continuing to breastfeed.
Consider all options for returning to work, including taking the longest maternity leave possible that works for you and your work. Below are questions to prompt conversation to prepare you before heading back to work.
Can you work part of the time from home?
Is it possible to work with another employee?
Is it possible to go part-time?
Can you come back to work gradually?
Do you know if your employer is required to give you breaks for you to pump?
Have you made plans with your employer for work breaks?
What flexibility does your work give you as a parent returning to work?
Is daycare a possible option for your baby when you return to work?
MAKING THE WORKPLACE FRIENDLY
Questions to think about for making your workplace breastfeeding ready.
Can you pump in your own office?
Is there a private area where with a door that can be locked for you to breastfeed or pump in? How can you access that room if it is available?
Is there a refridgerator or refrigeration available?
Does your workplace have a policy in place for pump breaks?
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU PUMP AT WORK?
Pumping during the times you would normally feed your baby if you were at home is a way to stay on schedule with providing enough milk for your baby.
Pumping can take 10-15 minutes once you are used to your breast pump. It may be best to practice manually expressing milk or using a breast pump before returning to work to get familiar with how to best pump milk and how long it may take for you.
See if you could "practice run" a pumping session at your work before you start work
If your workplace is erratic, take a pump break whenever you see a 10-15 minute window, even if you just pumped an hour or two ago
Figure out where it works best for you to clean your pump accessories and store them for drying at your workplace
FIRST DAYS BACK TO WORK
Returning back to being an employee and now balancing being a full-time parent is an adjustment.
You will miss your baby, and your baby will miss you too!
Bring your baby's picture or a video on your phone to look at while pumping at work
Check-in with your caregiver of your baby often
If possible, visit your baby during your lunch break for quick snuggles and to reconnect
Loose fitting tops are very convenient for pumping at your place of work
Consider hands-free bras to allow you to pump and also eat lunch, work on your computer or tasks, or even video chat with your caregiver and baby
Wear a printed top in case your pumping is delayed and leakage occurs.
POLICIES IN THE UNITED STATES
Check Section 4207 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) for governmental policy related to pumping at work
gov/breastfeeding provides tips, suggestions, and important information/resources for breastfeeding women.
Business Case for Breastfeeding: A comprehensive program developed to educate employers about the value of supporting breastfeeding employees in the workplace