About AOA

The joys of motherhood are never fully experienced until all the children are in bed.
- Unknown

 

Breastfeeding and the Return to Work

Breastfeeding and the Return to WorkBreastfeeding is the healthiest way to feed infants during their first year of life and facilitates a quicker, often easier recovery for mothers after childbirth. Breast milk is full of valuable ingredients that boost an infant’s immune system and reduce the risk of many common childhood illnesses and infections, including ear infections, asthma, allergies, dermatitis, and many other diseases.

If you plan to breastfeed, talk with your AOA physician about the resources available to you. While completely natural, it can be a bit trickier than it looks to get started. There are some helpful hints that can make the process go more smoothly, and many hospitals or birth centers will have lactation consultants to help you with the basics, such as positioning, latching on, avoiding sore breasts, and getting the proper nutrition.

There are many factors that will determine whether you choose to breastfeed or not, but you do not have to choose between continuing to provide breast milk for your baby and returning to work. It simply takes a bit of planning ahead.

Once you’ve gotten the hang of breastfeeding at home, you can begin to plan ahead for expressing milk for your baby when you return to work. Expressing breast milk that your baby can drink when you’re not around is an excellent way to continue providing your baby with the benefits of breast milk. There are many different breast pumps that help you express milk efficiently, and often machines can be borrowed or rented.

Since working mothers are one of the fastest growing segments of the workforce, more and more employers are accommodating women who choose to breastfeed after they’ve returned to work. Additionally, the Affordable Care Act recently amended workplace law to include requirements of most employers to provide a break and private space other than a bathroom for working mothers to express breast milk.

Before you go on maternity leave, find out if your company provides a lactation support program for employees. If not, ask about private areas where you can comfortably and safely express milk.

Check with your company’s insurance carrier to explore policies and benefits for breastfeeding employees. Insurance companies may cover breastfeeding resources and services such as visits with a lactation consultant, breast pumps, or a home visiting nurse.

Before you return to work, talk with your supervisor about your needs and work out a plan that you can both agree on. Consideration might be given to temporary part time work, split shifts or other flexible schedules.

And perhaps most importantly, ask your AOA physician for local resources for breastfeeding support groups, where you can talk with other mothers about breastfeeding. And finally, have some fun and follow mommy bloggers who share their struggles, successes and tips!

Learn more about breastfeeding and returning to work: