Getting back to work
It is a fact of life that many women have to return to work after having a baby, whether they want to or not. Some mums have the flexibility to work part-time and others return to work full-time. It is best to get everything organised well before you go back to work as it can be a pretty stressful time, whether you are leaving your baby with a family member, childminder or nursery. Many mums manage to combine breastfeeding with returning to work and do so in a variety of ways:
- Continuing to exclusively breastfeed if your baby is near to where you work; either by someone bringing the baby to you or you popping home. This option very much depends on your work flexibility
- Some mums choose to give formula milk whilst the baby is away from them and continue with breastfeeding when at home. As long as this has been done gradually you shouldn’t feel sore, and as long as breastfeeding is well established the baby shouldn’t get confused between the teat and the nipple
- Other mums feed their baby on expressed breast milk, which they have pumped and stored. Employers now have to make provision for a woman to express milk within work time if she chooses to. You need to discuss this with your employer at least 28 days before you are planning to return.
Breastfeeding and Work – Information for employees and employers (leaflet) Department of Health (2007)
‘A guide for new and expectant mothers who work’ (Health and Safety Executive website) www.hse.gov.uk/mothers
Some mums choose not to continue breastfeeding and change over to formula milk before they return to work. This should be done gradually to ensure your breasts don’t become sore and engorged and so your baby adjusts to the change in milk, this usually takes between 2-4 weeks.