Successful breastfeeding when you return to work can be achieved in a number of ways:
- Your baby’s carer brings your baby to your work for feed times;
- You organise your baby’s child care close to work so you can visit them at feed times;
- You leave enough expressed breast milk with the baby’s carer. Feed your baby just before you leave, and as soon as you get back. While you are at work you will need to express milk during the day to make up for the expressed milk feeds your baby is getting in care. Store the milk appropriately for future use, ideally for the following days feed.
- Your baby comes to work with you (small offices or self employed people may be able to achieve this)
- If your baby is less than 12 months, and you don’t have expressed breastmilk available while you are at work, arrange for your baby to have an appropriate infant formula during the day and then continue to breastfeed when they are with you. It is important for you to be aware of the social and financial implications this may have. Unnecessary introduction of partial bottle-feeding will have a negative effect on breast-feeding.
- If your baby is older than 12 months, your baby can consume solid food and cow’s milk while you are at work and still breastfeed in the morning, afternoon and evenings.
If you plan to express milk and feed using a bottle or use formula, trial using a bottle once or twice a week for a few weeks before you return to work. A breastfed baby may take a little time to get used to taking their milk from a bottle as it uses a different method of sucking. The feed won’t taste the same, be the same temperature or smell like mum, especially if it is formula in the bottle. It may also be worth trialling other people giving your baby a bottle feed to allow them to become familiar with receiving their feeds from someone else.
Breastfed babies are no harder to leave than a bottle fed baby. All babies will miss their mum and need to get used to their new carer, especially if they were not known to them before now. Try to keep the baby as close to their known routine as possible, leave them with a familiar toy or blanket that may smell like mum for when they feed. This will help them feel safe and trust the carer when they are feeding them. It might also be easier if you only leave them for a short time to start with and then gradually increase the time you leave them with their minder.
However you choose to feed your baby, remember it needs to work for you and the baby. Even some breastfeeding is better than none and expressed breast milk is still considered exclusive breastfeeding.
Was this page helpful to you?