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La Leche League International
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How Can I Make My Return To Work Easier?

Leaving your baby to return to work is hard, regardless of the feeding method chosen. Review these tips for making the adjustment easier.

  • Let your employer know of your pumping needs in advance. This will give you a chance to develop a plan that will work for both of you. Educating your employer about the important health choice you have made and the relatively minor physical accommodations required in the workplace will encourage cooperation. Of course, there are significant employer advantages to continuing breastfeeding once you are back to work. Breastfed babies are half as likely to get sick in the first year of life as those receiving artificial baby milks. If your baby doesn't get sick as often, you will miss less time from work. This is one reason why at least 5 states have enacted legislation to encourage state employees to continue breastfeeding when they return to work.
  • At home, discuss with your partner who will shop for food, who will cook and when ordering in is appropriate.
  • Make a list of home responsibilities such as cooking, laundry, housekeeping, shopping and errands.
  • Determine who is responsible for what. Don't forget childcare responsibilities, including breastfeeding!
  • Make the first week back to work a short one by returning late in the week. Do as much as possible the night before such as:
    • Prepare the diaper bag so you only need to add the milk
    • Lay out everyone's clothes
    • Set the breakfast table
    • Plan and begin the preparation for the next day's dinner
  • Use the crockpot for breakfasts and suppers.
  • Have weekly conferences to see how the family is dealing with this new phase and to resolve difficulties.

Resources for Additional Information

Attend a La Leche League Group meeting in your area for additional information and support. To find a Leader of a local Group, visit Finding a Local LLL Group.

Pumping and Working: a collection of article from the LLLI magazine for mothers, NEW BEGINNINGS.

FAQ on storing human milk

These items may be available from the LLLI Online Store or from your local Leader.

  • Pumps, storage bags and other devices for easier pumping and storing of milk
  • "A Mother's Guide to Pumping Milk": Provides detailed information on common reasons mothers use breast pumps and considerations that might make one type of pump preferable over another. Includes ways to establish and maintain a good milk supply; suggestions to help make returning to work easier; human milk storage information; and addresses common questions.
  • "Expressing Your Milk": Includes two pamphlets, "Practical Hints for Working and Breastfeeding" and "A Mother's Guide to Pumping Milk," helpful to mothers who need to pump or express their milk. Also contains a tear-off sheet that explains the Marmet Technique of Manual Expression.
  • Nursing Mother, Working Mother, by Gale Pryor: Mothers who have decided to combine breastfeeding with working will find this an immensely helpful and reassuring book. The author includes practical information about planning for and returning to employment, clear concise tips on breastfeeding, pumping, storing, and transporting milk, and possible alternatives to full time employment such as job sharing, working from home, and staying home full time. The book suggests numerous ways mothers can build and maintain closeness with their babies in spite of separation. (Softcover, 184 pages)

Our FAQs present information from La Leche League International on topics of interest to parents of breastfed children. Not all of the information may be pertinent to your family's lifestyle. This information is general in nature and not intended to be advice, medical or otherwise. If you have a serious breastfeeding problem or concern, you are strongly encouraged to talk directly to a La Leche League Leader. Please consult health care professionals on any medical issue, as La Leche League Leaders are not medical practitioners.

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