Many women wonder if they can continue to breastfeed once they return to jobs outside the home. In Canada most women are able to take a year away from their jobs so they have the opportunity to get breastfeeding well established in the early weeks and months. As the time gets closer to their return to the workplace they may wonder if baby needs to continue to breastfeed and how to organized life so that it is possible to breastfeed and work if they chose to continue.
There are as many ways to make breastfeeding and working work as there are mothers and babies who do it. Much is dependent on the age of the baby at the time of returning to the workplace. The older the baby is the easier it is for day time nutrition and fluid intake to be managed with solids and liquids by cup.
Some mothers have child care situations that allow them to go to the baby during the day or to have the baby brought to them for feedings. If mother and baby are missing some feedings then mum will most likely need to pump for comfort and to keep up her milk supply at least in the first months back at work.
Night time breast feedings will often increase when mum and baby are separated during the day. Baby needs both the calories from the milk and the closeness of the breastfeeding time with mum. All little ones whose mothers are away at work need touch and snuggling time to reconnect at the end of the day and over weekends regardless of whether they are breastfeeding or not. Breastfeeding is a nice way for both mum and baby to fill this need.
Continuing to breastfeed when your child is in a group care situation provides your little one with antibodies against the every present germs that get shared when lots of children spend time together. Less sick time for baby means less time away from work for mum.
Here are some resources for mothers planning to work or attend school and continue to breastfeed:
La Leche League Canada: Frequently Asked Questions
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding: La Leche League International (available at Chapters/Indigo from LLLC’s home page. Purchases through this portal support LLLC)
Working and Breastfeeding Made Simple: Nancy Mohrbacher
For the Caregiver of a Breastfed Baby: Nancy Mohrbacher
Podcast interview with Nancy Mohrbacher (LLLC has no connection with the site hosting this interview)
If you have questions about continuing to breastfeed while working or going to school or any other issues please contact a La Leche League Canada Leader