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The NHS recommends breastfeeding your baby for around the first six months after birth. For many mums, that often means they will be back at work before they finish breastfeeding. This can pose a challenge for new mums. On top of their busy family schedule, new mums have to balance a return to work, with all the extra responsibilities that it brings.
If you’re a mum that wants to keep breastfeeding your baby after your return, you might have some worries. But there are plenty of new mums out there in the same boat—you’re not alone. And if you’re looking for some tips for breastfeeding in the workplace, then you’re in the right place. Read our guidance for new mums, considering breastfeeding upon their return to work.
How can I keep breastfeeding when I return to work?
Wondering how you can keep breastfeeding when you return to work? There are several options that women can choose from. If possible, you can arrange childcare plans close to your place of work. When your workplace is around the corner, you won’t have to worry about travelling long distances. Plus, the option to go and breastfeed during breaks is then always available to you. You easily breastfeed before or after work this way too.
If you’ve been at your current job for at least 26 weeks, you can also enquire about flexible working hours. You’re entitled to make a request with your employer to see if this is an option. Let them know your breastfeeding needs. Make them aware of the benefits flexible working would offer you. Flexible working provides the freedom to fit breastfeeding around your work. Options include starting earlier or later, home working and even flextime. It’s up to you, and your employer to decide.
You can also use a pump to express breastmilk in advance. This way someone else can feed your baby, whilst you go to work—and you don’t need to worry about rushing home. It can be hard to find the time to do this as a new mum. But this means you can focus on work whilst you’re there, without worrying about rushing off for a feed.
Am I entitled to any help at work whilst breastfeeding?
If you’re going to be breastfeeding whilst at work, you’ll need to let your employer know in writing. They can then conduct a risk assessment and prepare any facilities that you might need. Employers should provide a place where mothers can rest, express and store breastmilk. The space should be safe and private, so mothers feel comfortable continuing to breastfeed if they wish to.
Support with breastfeeding at work
Many other mums go through the same problems when returning to work, so reach out to other mothers. See how they coped with the challenges and discuss your problems too. Talk to your manager or your HR team. They’ll be able to discuss any extra support you might need.
If you would like more information on the topics mentioned in this article, or if you have any other wellbeing concerns, please call our free, 24-hour helpline on 0844 891 0357.
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