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Breastfeeding and Working: Insights and Advice for Working Moms

Did you know that over half of mothers are worried about going to work after giving birth? This is according to a poll of 1,000 working mothers conducted by OnePoll and Seraphine, a maternity fashion label. Top concerns ranged from being too tired to new colleagues or processes at work to how people treat them in the office. The good news is, most women (79 percent total), said that they returned to a supportive work environment.

One concern that stood out, however, was breastfeeding and going back to work. Sixty-six percent of moms polled said they planned on continuing to breastfeeding and/or pumping after returning to work, however, 19 percent felt pressured by work to stop. Only 27 percent said that they were given time to pump, and only 34 percent said they had a designated breastfeeding room for privacy. What’s a working mom who plans on breastfeeding to do!?

We recommend planning ahead to enjoy breastfeeding your baby right after you give birth, after your maternity leave is over and for however long you plan on breastfeeding.  A good website to check out is WomensHealth.gov, managed by the Office on Women’s Health in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Overall, it’s a good idea to plan ahead. Talk to your boss about your plans to breastfeeding before going out on maternity leave. Also, find out if your company offers a lactation support program for employees or childcare facilities. Check with your planned childcare facility to see if they have a place set aside for breastfeeding mothers and make sure that they will feed your baby with pumped breastmilk. Also, talk to other working moms at your company to get their advice/feedback. They’ve been there and understand what you’re going through!

Also, know your rights! Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“PPACA”), employers are required to provide break time for employees to pump for one year after the birth of a child and also to provide a

place to pump breast milk. Here’s a great fact sheet from the U.S. Department of Labor that you can take a look at.

We also recommend attending breastfeeding classes and/or breastfeeding support groups where you can talk with other moms about breastfeeding while working and also receive instruction and lactation support to nursing mothers and families before, during and after the birth of a baby. Burdett Birth Center offers a monthly Breastfeeding Basics class along with four drop-in Breastfeeding Support Groups each month.

At Burdett Birth Center, we also offer a Back to Work/School Life Program monthly to moms adjust to pumping, breastfeeding and childcare as they transition back into their busy lives. All of our programs are taught by certified childbirth instructors, certified lactation consultants and healthcare professionals. Visit our classes page for a description of all of our programs and upcoming dates.

Here are a few additional blog posts that we think breastfeeding moms returning to work might value:

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