This year, I went back to work when my son was eight months old. I knew about the immense health benefits and importance of breastfeeding and I value the special relationship that we have over breastfeeding. While I was nervous about going back to work, I knew that it didn’t need to change our breastfeeding relationship.
If you are thinking about breastfeeding at work, here are some things I’ve learned through the process:
- Talk to your employer about how they can support you. In my experience people have been supportive of my decision to keep feeding my infant in the way I choose. In BC, breastfeeding is a human right and employers are required to support you to breastfeed.
- Plan ahead to ensure your success. This might mean arranging with loved ones to bring your baby to you at the workplace so you can breastfeed throughout the day. If you’re pumping you might want to teach the baby to take breastmilk from a bottle, to try out pumping or hand expressing breastmilk, or build up a “freezer stash” (a supply of your frozen breastmilk in the freezer) for those days when you want a break. Learn more about storing and using breastmilk.
- The amount of milk your baby takes will change over time and your body will adjust to your baby’s needs.
If you are an employer, here are some things you can do at work to help moms continue to breastfeed:
- Provide a clean, comfortable, private space for her to breastfeed or pump in.
- Ask what she needs to make her transition back to work easier.
- Normalize breastfeeding: A mother might worry about what their co-workers will think about breastfeeding at work. You can support her by making it clear that your workplace is a breastfeeding friendly environment.
For loved ones, you can help by providing an extra set of helping hands at the end of the day. Returning to work is a big transition!
It’s been five months since I returned to work now and my baby and I are still going strong with breastfeeding. I really enjoy our time at the end of the day when we can sit down together, nurse and reconnect.
Author’s Bio: Today’s blog is written by Sarah Amyot. Sarah supports the Women’s and Maternal Health team as a policy analyst at the Ministry of Health. When she’s not at work, she is happy to be spending time with her little one and her family, or out enjoying the beautiful scenery in and around Victoria, BC.