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Breastfeeding and Returning to Work


mom and baby playing outdoors with a dandelion


If you're going back to work, that doesn't mean you have to stop breastfeeding. All employers in BC must make reasonable efforts to allow new moms to breastfeed or express milk at work.  

Here's some advice to make it easier.

Here are some steps you can take to successfully breastfeed after you go back to work.

  • Have breastfeeding well established before you go back. 
  • Contact your public health nurse, lactation consultant, La Leche League, or breastfeeding support group for help and advice. 
  • Talk to your boss about your plans for breastfeeding before you go back. Discuss the importance of support for breastfeeding. Breastfed toddlers are healthier and their mothers take less time off work to care for them.

At work you will need:

  • A quiet, smoke-free place to feed your baby or express milk.
  • A fridge to store expressed milk. If you don't have a fridge at work, use a Styrofoam box with an ice pack to store expressed milk (used within 24 hours).
  • A reasonable workload.

Remember to take healthy snacks to work, as well as breast pads, breast pump, clean cups or jars to store your breast milk, and phone numbers of support people.

Getting Ready to Return to Work:

  • Learn how to express your milk by hand or pump. Start storing milk 10 to 14 days before you plan to return to work. For more information on expressing and storing breast milk, click here
  • Tell your childcare provider how important breastfeeding is to you and your toddler. Discuss your toddler’s feeding routines. Make sure your caregiver knows how to safely prepare and store milk.
  • Keep in mind that continuing to breastfeed will help your toddler adjust to you going back to work.

Watch a video on how to express breast milk.

Need transcripts?  You can get them here.


VIDEO: Admission to Postpartum - Keeping Your Baby Skin-to-Skin
VIDEO: Baby's Feeding Cues and Behaviours
VIDEO: Breastfeeding Positions
VIDEO: Cup Feeding and Other Feeding Methods
VIDEO: Hand Expressing Milk
VIDEO: Latching Your Baby

Last Updated: August 11, 2013