If I go back to work or study, do I have to stop breast feeding?
The answer is no, not if you don’t want to! Many mothers continue breastfeeding after going back to work. There are various options to explore.
Making the transition back to work as simple as possible
- Can I arrange childcare near where I work?
- Can I have flexible working hours?
- Could a family member or friend bring your baby to you?
- Where can I express my milk to take home?
- Can I combination feed?
Before returning to work, it helps to let your employer know in writing that you are breastfeeding. They can then complete a risk assessment and consider whether there are any specific risks to you for as long as you are breastfeeding.
There is no legal right for your employer to provide breastfeeding breaks at work. But they must meet their obligations to employees who breastfeed under health and safety law, flexible working law and discrimination law. This means your employer should make sure you don’t feel unfairly treated because you are breastfeeding.
Maternity Action is a UK charity committed to ending inequality and improving the health and well-being of pregnant women, partners and young children – from conception through to the child’s early years. If you feel like you are being discriminated against in the workplace contact Maternity Action.
Why should I continue to breastfeed beyond 6 months?
- Help maintain the close relationship you have built up, providing your baby with comfort and security as they learn to settle while away from you
- Ease both of you through the tears, tantrums and tumbles that come with early childhood
Any volume of breastmilk will continue to:
- Protect your baby against infections. which is especially important as they become exposed to new environments and socialise with other children
- Help ensure that illnesses are milder and easier to deal with
- Protect your health, helping reduce the risk of developing breast cancer, some forms of ovarian cancer, and hip fractures as a result of osteoporosis in old age
- Start4Life: Breastfeeding after a period of work or study
- Breastfeeding mothers returning to work: top 5 tips
- Samples of return to work plans
- Choosing childcare that suits your family
- Start for Life: Going back to work
- La Leche League: Working and breastfeeding