Returning to Work or School While Breastfeeding

Women with infants and children are the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. labor force.  Among employed women with children under age three, approximately 70 percent work full time. One-third of mothers return to work within three months after giving birth, and two-thirds return within six months.

Breastfeeding offers proven health benefits for babies and mothers, but women often find it difficult to continue breastfeeding once they return to the workplace. Challenges include lack of break time and inadequate facilities for pumping and storing human milk. Many of these workplace challenges can be reduced with a small investment of time, money, and flexibility. Providing accommodations for breastfeeding offers tremendous rewards for the employer, in cost savings for healthcare, reduced absenteeism, employee morale, and employee retention.

(Information courtesy of United States Breastfeeding Committee ”Workplace Breastfeeding Support” )

Moms in almost every line of work are continuing to breastfeed, including

With a little planning, you too can successfully return to work or school and continue breastfeeding.

Will I need a breast pump?
If you will be away from your baby long enough that you regularly miss one feeding or more, then you may need an electric breast pump.

Where can I get a breast pump?
Most breastfeeding moms are eligible for a free breast pump through their insurance company. Talk to the WIC breastfeeding staff for more information on their pump program and for help ordering a breast pump.

Additional Resources
Department of Labor Fact Sheet #73: Break Time for Nursing Mothers under the FLSA

Breastfeeding Support for the Workplace