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Breastfeeding at Work: Tips for a Smooth Transition

Breastfeeding at Work: Tips for a Smooth Transition

Going back to work after having a baby can be a stressful event for many mothers, especially when it comes to breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is a wonderful way of bonding with your baby, but it can be difficult to juggle feeding schedules and pumping sessions with work responsibilities. Fortunately, there are tips and solutions that can help you continue breastfeeding while maintaining your employment. Here are some practical tips to ease the transition of breastfeeding at work.

1. Start Planning Early

  • Start planning for returning to work while you’re still pregnant. Research your employer’s policies, make arrangements for child care, and choose a breast pump. It’s best to have everything in place before you go on maternity leave so you can hit the ground running when you get back.
  • Set up a meeting with your employer or supervisor to discuss your needs as a breastfeeding mother. Explain how often you need to pump and for how long, and discuss where you will be able to pump during the workday. Having a plan in place will help avoid misunderstandings and make things easier for everyone.

2. Start Pumping Ahead of Time

  • Begin pumping several weeks before going back to work so that you can build up a good supply of milk stored in the freezer. This will help ensure that your baby has enough milk while you’re at work, and it will also help you get comfortable with your pump.
  • Get into the habit of pumping at the same time every day to establish a routine that will work for you when you’re back at work. Aim to pump about 8-10 times a day in the beginning, so that you can build up a good milk supply.

3. Choose the Right Pump

  • Choosing the right pump is critical to successful breastfeeding at work. Make sure you choose a pump that is efficient, easy to use and portable. Electric pumps are usually more effective and efficient than manual pumps, and they are also more comfortable to use on a regular basis.
  • Look for a pump with adjustable suction and speed settings, and make sure you get the right size flange. You may need to experiment with different flange sizes to find the one that is most comfortable and effective for you.

4. Stock Up on Supplies

  • Make sure you have plenty of supplies on hand at work, including extra bottles, breast pads, and a cooler with ice packs. When you’re pumping at work, you’ll want to be as efficient as possible so you can get back to your job quickly. Having extra supplies on hand will help make that possible.
  • Invest in a good quality breast pump bag with plenty of compartments to keep everything organized and easily accessible. You may also want to consider a hands-free pumping bra so you can use your hands while pumping.

5. Schedule Pumping Breaks

  • When you go back to work, schedule regular pumping breaks throughout the day. The number and length of these breaks will depend on how often your baby feeds and how much milk you need to produce. Most mothers need to pump at least 2-3 times during an 8-hour work day to maintain their milk supply.
  • Take advantage of your lunch break to pump as well, which can save time and also allow you to take a longer break. Be sure to communicate your pumping schedule with your supervisor so that they know when you will need to take breaks.

6. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

  • Eating a healthy diet, staying hydrated, and getting enough rest can all help to maintain a healthy milk supply. Make sure you have healthy snacks and plenty of water on hand while at work to help you stay energized and hydrated.
  • Try to manage your stress levels as much as possible. Stress can reduce your milk supply and make it more difficult to pump. Take breaks throughout the day to rest and meditate, and don’t hesitate to take time off if you need it.


Returning to work after having a baby can be a challenging time for many mothers, particularly when it comes to breastfeeding. However, with the right preparation, support, and tools, it is possible to continue providing breast milk for your baby while maintaining your work responsibilities. Remember to start planning early, choose the right pump, stock up on supplies, schedule pumping breaks, and maintain a healthy lifestyle. These tips will help ease the transition of breastfeeding at work and make the experience smoother and more enjoyable for both you and your baby.

Breastfeeding at Work: Tips for a Smooth Transition – FAQ

What are the laws relating to breastfeeding at work?

Under federal law, employers are required to provide nursing mothers with reasonable break time to express breast milk for one year after their child’s birth and a private space that is not a bathroom. Some states have additional protections for nursing mothers, so it’s important to check your state laws as well.

What should I look for in a workplace for breastfeeding?

Look for a workplace that has a private, comfortable space set aside for nursing mothers to express milk. This can be a dedicated room or a partitioned-off area. Also, make sure that your employer is supportive of breastfeeding and willing to make accommodations to help you breastfeed successfully.

What should I bring to work to make breastfeeding easier?

Bring a breast pump, ice packs to keep milk cool, a cooler to transport milk home, extra pumping supplies, and nursing pads to prevent leaks. You may also want to bring a comfortable chair or cushion to sit on while pumping.

How often should I pump at work?

You should aim to pump every 2-3 hours during the workday to maintain your milk supply. How often you pump will also depend on how often your baby needs to feed, so talk to your doctor or lactation consultant for personalized advice.

How can I store breast milk at work?

You can store breast milk in a cooler with ice packs until you can refrigerate it at home. You can also keep a small cooler bag, ice packs, and extra bottles or bags in your office or workspace.

What if I don’t have a private space to pump at work?

If your workplace doesn’t have a private space for pumping, talk to your employer about creating one. If that’s not possible, try to find a quiet, private place to pump, like a storage room or unused office.

What if my employer is not supportive of breastfeeding at work?

If your employer is not supportive of breastfeeding, talk to your human resources representative or supervisor to try to find a solution. You may also want to contact a lactation consultant or an organization like La Leche League for additional support.

Can I breastfeed in front of my coworkers?

It’s up to you whether you feel comfortable breastfeeding in front of your coworkers. If you prefer to keep your nursing sessions private, make sure to use a private space to pump or nurse.

How can I balance breastfeeding and work?

It can be challenging to balance breastfeeding and work, but it’s important to prioritize your and your baby’s needs. Make a pumping schedule, communicate your needs with your employer, and seek support from coworkers, friends, and family members. Remember, every breastfeeding journey is different, so do what works best for you and your baby.

Breastfeeding in the Workplace: Recommended Products

Working moms who are also breastfeeding need all the support they can get. These products can help make the transition back to work a little easier, and ensure that moms can continue to provide their little ones with breastmilk.

  • Hands-Free Pumping Bra

    A hands-free pumping bra is essential for moms who need to pump milk at work. This type of bra allows moms to continue working while also pumping milk for their baby. It frees up their hands, making it easier to use their phone or computer during pumping sessions. There are several different styles available, but most are compatible with most breast pumps.

  • Breast Milk Storage Bags

    Working moms need to have a place to store their breast milk while they’re away from their baby. Breast milk storage bags are designed to keep milk fresh and safe for a certain period of time. They’re easy to label with the date so that moms can keep track of their milk supply, and most can be used with most breast pumps.

  • Breast Pump Cleaning Wipes

    Cleaning a breast pump can be time-consuming, especially during a busy workday. Breast pump cleaning wipes are a quick and easy way to clean breast pump parts between uses. They’re portable and can be used anywhere, making it easy for moms to maintain a clean and hygienic breast pump.

  • Nursing Pads

    Breastfeeding moms often experience leakage, which can be embarrassing and uncomfortable. Nursing pads are designed to absorb leaks and keep clothes dry. They’re available in disposable or reusable options, and are a must-have for working moms who don’t want to worry about wardrobe malfunctions during an important meeting.

  • Breastfeeding Cover

    Some moms prefer to be discreet while breastfeeding in public. A nursing cover can provide privacy while also allowing moms to breastfeed comfortably. There are several different styles to choose from, including apron-style covers and scarves that can be used as a cover.

  • Breastfeeding-Friendly Clothes

    Dressing for breastfeeding can be challenging, especially when work attire is required. Fortunately, there are several brands that offer breastfeeding-friendly clothes, such as tops and dresses with easy-access openings. These clothes are stylish and professional, making it easier for moms to feel confident and comfortable while breastfeeding at work.

  • Breastfeeding Education Resources

    Working moms who are new to breastfeeding may need additional resources to help them navigate the challenges of breastfeeding while working. Books, online courses, and lactation consultants can provide valuable information and support. Many employers offer breastfeeding support programs that can connect moms with the resources they need.

  • Breast Pump Backpack

    Carrying a breast pump and all of its accessories can be cumbersome, especially when commuting to work. A breast pump backpack is designed to hold all of the necessary gear in an organized and convenient way. They’re comfortable to wear and can make it easier for moms to transport everything they need for pumping sessions.

  • Breast Pump Battery Pack

    When working moms are on-the-go, they may not always have access to an electrical outlet for their breast pump. A battery pack can provide the power needed for pumping sessions, regardless of location. They’re lightweight and portable, making it easy to pump on-the-go.

  • Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplace Policies

    Employers can take steps to support breastfeeding employees by implementing breastfeeding-friendly workplace policies. These policies can include providing a private room for pumping, allowing flexible schedules for pumping sessions, and offering lactation support programs. When employers prioritize breastfeeding, they can help working moms feel supported and empowered.

Pros & Cons of Breastfeeding at Work


  • Health Benefits: Breastfeeding provides numerous health benefits for both the mother and the child. Breast milk contains essential nutrients, antibodies, and enzymes that promotes immunity and help fight diseases.
  • Bonding: Breastfeeding enables the mother and child to bond with each other. This bonding can have long-term benefits for the child’s emotional and mental development.
  • Convenience: Breastfeeding is convenient and cost-effective. Unlike formula feeding, breast milk does not need to be prepared, cleaned, or stored, which saves time and money.
  • Environmental Impact: Breastfeeding has a positive impact on the environment since it reduces the production and disposal of formula cans and packaging.
  • Legal Protection: In many countries, there are legal protections in place that allow women to breastfeed in public and provide them with workplace accommodations, such as break times and private areas for pumping milk.


  • Workplace Stigma: Despite legal protections, there is still workplace stigma associated with breastfeeding. Some employers view breastfeeding as a distraction or inconvenience.
  • Logistical Challenges: Breastfeeding at work can be challenging, especially if the mother has to commute or travel for work. The logistics of pumping, storing, and transporting milk can be time-consuming and stressful.
  • Physical Discomfort: Breastfeeding can be physically uncomfortable for some mothers, especially if they experience engorgement, leaking, or other lactation-related issues while at work.
  • Work-Life Balance: Breastfeeding can impact a mother’s work-life balance, especially if she has to take frequent breaks or pumping sessions during work hours. This can affect productivity, job performance, and career advancement.
  • Cultural Norms: Some cultures may have strict norms and taboos around breastfeeding in public or in the workplace. This can make it challenging for women to breastfeed and may lead to social exclusion or discrimination.

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