Breastfeeding is a beautiful and natural way to nurture your baby, and with a little planning, you can continue breastfeeding even after returning to work. Here's how you can request a breastfeeding-friendly area in your workplace:
Step 1: Have a Plan
Before you go on maternity leave, it's essential to talk to your employer about your intentions to breastfeed after returning to work.
Discuss the following points:
Lactation Breaks: Request dedicated breaks during working hours for expressing milk. These breaks will ensure you have the time and privacy you need to comfortably express milk.
Flexible Work Practices: Explore the possibility of flexible work arrangements to accommodate your breastfeeding needs. This could include adjusting your work hours or working from home occasionally.
Dedicated Spaces: Advocate for dedicated spaces at the workplace for breastfeeding and expressing. These areas should be private, welcoming, and comfortable, providing a conducive environment for nursing mothers.
Step 2: Be Prepared
Being prepared for your return to work is crucial to maintaining breastfeeding.
Consider the following aspects:
Educate yourself: Attend breastfeeding classes and educate yourself about breastfeeding techniques. Learn about available support resources to ease your journey. The Australian Breastfeeding Association has a wealth of resources readily available.
Discuss with your partner: Talk to your partner about the importance of breastfeeding for you and your baby. Their support can play a significant role in helping you continue breastfeeding.
Plan early: If you know you'll be returning to work within the first year of your baby's life, start planning early. Discuss your plans with your employer and consider your Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) options.
Step 3: Inform Your Employer
Before you resume work, inform your manager or HR department about your return and discuss your breastfeeding needs. Find out what support your workplace offers for nursing mothers.
Step 4: Organise Your Breastfeeding Routine
Ensure you have everything you need for expressing and storing milk:
Breast Pump: Consider purchasing or hiring a breast pump if needed. Check with your employer if they offer any support in this regard.
Safe Milk Storage: Storing your breast milk safely means that none will go to waste, and it can be used whenever you need it. Inquire if your workplace has an appropriate refrigerator for storing breast milk. For guidelines on safe milk storage, refer to resources on How to Safely Store Your Breastmilk.
Communicate with your baby’s care provider: If your baby will be cared for by someone else while you work, share information about breastfeeding and provide necessary details to support your baby's needs.
Work clothes: Plan your work attire to accommodate expressing sessions comfortably.
Image Source: Haakaa
Step 5: Practice Runs
Before resuming work, have a few practice runs to streamline your daily routine.
This will help you adjust to the new schedule and ensure a smooth transition between work and breastfeeding. Remember, you have the right to breastfeed and express at work, and a supportive workplace will help you maintain this precious bond with your baby. If you encounter any challenges, seek assistance from support groups or professionals who specialise in breastfeeding.
For additional resources and tips on expressing at work, you can visit the following links:
How to Create a Breastmilk Stash Using The Haakaa Silicone Breast Pump
Top 10 Breast Pumping Tips
Visit our Blog Library on Expressing and Bottle Feeding
With the right support and planning, you can continue providing the best care for your baby while pursuing your career goals. Embrace the journey of being a breastfeeding working mum!