Breastfeeding By Working Mothers

If you plan to return to work after your baby is born, you can still enjoy a happy and successful nursing experience. Your baby will benefit from whatever time you spend breastfeeding, as he continues to receive your breastmilk and its protective properties. Your baby will be healthier, resulting in fewer sick days.

Make Use of Launch Hour

If possible, arrange to visit and nurse your baby on your lunch hour, or have your baby brought to you. If this is not possible, leave either breastmilk or formula with his sitter to be given to him while you are at work. Many women prefer their infants to continue having only breastmilk and arrange to pump their breasts once or twice each day while they are at work. Many excellent breast pumps are available from your breastfeeding counselor or certified lactation consultant. Continue nursing your baby on request while you are at home. If you do not pump while you are at work, your milk supply will even out to meet the reduced demand.

Delay Returning to Work

If at all possible, delay returning to work outside the home until your baby is a year old. The first year is very important in a child’s development and a very precious time for mothers. Unless you have severe financial problems, the time you spend with your baby will be more beneficial to your family than the income you will receive from working, especially after you deduct taxes, baby-sitting fees, the cost of formula and extra clothes, and the other expenses related to work. You may find that the money left over is not as significant as you thought it would be.

Carefully Choose Your Baby Sitter

If you must work, choose your baby sitter carefully. A trusted relative or friend is your best choice. Otherwise, you will need to thoroughly check references before leaving your child with a stranger. Ideally, you will find someone who will care for your baby as you would. A person who keeps only one or two children can provide a more homelike atmosphere and plenty of cuddling. In addition, exposure to fewer children will reduce your baby’s chances of catching colds or other illnesses, which would further increase your doctor bills, as well as create concern and cause you to miss work. (For a further discussion of childcare, see “The Childcare Decision”.)

Pumping Away From Baby Many working mothers regularly spend their breaks and lunch hours with a breast pump. The following tips should help you get started:

  • Wear clothing that makes it easy to pump.
  • Find a quiet, private area with a comfortable chair.
  • Listen to soft, relaxing music.
  • Look at a picture of your baby.
  • Place a baby blanket, with the scent of baby powder or lotion, over your shoulders or on your lap.
  • Place a warm cloth on your breasts.
  • Massage your breasts.
  • Relax your shoulders and visualize your baby or the milk flowing.
  • Drink a beverage while you are expressing.
Daily pumping will soon be a natural part of your routine.