Depending on the amount of maternity or family leave you have from your workplace, you may be planning to go back to work soon. As we discussed in the Pregnancy BabyBreastfeedingSupport Newsletter, Prenatal Breast Changes, it is best to check out the support your workplace provides for breastfeeding before you deliver so you can make an informed choice about feeding your baby once you return to work.
You may also still want to take a breastfeeding class. Most of these classes cover topics related to going back to work and breastfeeding. It also may provide you with a support network of other mothers.
Breastfeeding your baby when you go back to work doesn’t have to be an all or nothing decision. Realize women choose to continue to breastfeed their babies exclusively by providing expressed breastmilk, others choose to wean for their own personal reasons or the nature of their job. Just realize there are choices in feeding your baby as you return to the workplace. See Pumping and Storing Breastmilk
These are some of the choices women make:
Reduce work hours for an additional period of time after returning to work.
Breastfeed when they are home and give a bottle of expressed milk or iron-fortified formula for the feedings they miss in the day. Pumping at work and/or extra when home to provide the expressed milk.
Breastfeed at home and give formula when they are gone.
These are only a few of the ways that you can continue to breastfeed full-time or part-time. It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing proposition when you return to work.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends your baby be exclusively breastfed for about 6 months and that breastfeeding should continue for at least one year and thereafter for as long as mutually desired by mother and child. (1) Breastmilk continues to provide health benefits to mom and baby for as long as it is given.
Kleinman, RE, Greer, FR, Pediatric Nutrition, 7th edition, Elk Grove Village, IL, American Academy of Pediatrics, 2014, pp 222-23.