Breastfeeding: Returning to Work

Returning to Work and Breastfeeding

Things you can do during your maternity leave to prepare:

  • Breastfeed exclusively eight to 12 times per 24 hours.
  • Practice expressing milk using a quality breast pump.
  • Introduce a bottle to baby sometime after his or her first month of life.
  • Begin storing milk in the freezer in 2-4 oz. quantities.
  • Consider a gradual return to work. (Return to work on a Thursday to have a weekend to adjust or take off one day mid-week for a few weeks.)
  • Review available options for onsite day care or bringing your infant to work.
  • Consider appropriate places to express milk at work.

Pumping Routine Example

  • Feed your baby at the breast before leaving for work.
  • Pump at about the same time your baby would be breastfeeding.
  • Pump both breasts at the same time for 10-15 minutes.
  • Breastfeed your baby when you pick him up after work.
  • Breastfeed more often in the evenings and weekends.

Returning to Work

  • Remember that the first few days after you return to work may be hard.
  • You and your baby need to develop a new routine.
  • Give yourself time to adjust as your body and your baby respond to the change.
  • You may have a decrease in your milk supply the first week you return due to the schedule change but with regular pumping it will return.

Contact Us

For additional information, call the Center for Breastfeeding Medicine at 513-636-2326.

Last Updated 04/2021

Reviewed By Terri Rutz, Lactation Coordinator