Back to Back Issues Page
7 Easy Steps to Plan Maternity Leave and Return to Work
March 18, 2014

Hello and thank you for joining So glad we both have interest in breastfeeding!

In this issue...

  • 7 Easy Steps to Plan Maternity Leave and Breastfeeding-Friendly Return to Work
  • Good Read on the Topic: US Breastfeeding Committee on How to Talk to Your Employer
  • Product Review: Sarah Wells Breast Pump Bag - Love It! Love It! Love It!
  • Questions and Comments

Do You Plan Work Around Breastfeeding or Breastfeeding Around Work?

Turns out the majority of new moms are forced to schedule their breastfeeding routines around work.

I don’t mean to throw statistics at you (ok, maybe just this one time), but according to the National Business Group on Health only 25% of working moms with children under age of 1 combine working and breastfeeding for at least a month.

So it is obvious that return to work is a major game-changer when it comes to breastfeeding. However, with proper organization and preparation it doesn’t have to be.

This is the first newsletter in the series devoted to breastfeeding and working.

Easy steps to help you plan your return to work and avoid unpleasant surprises:

  1. Ask about maternity leave in advance
  2. When you start planning pregnancy, find out what type of maternity leave your company offers.

    • FMLA leave, short-term disability or other type of leave?
    • Paid or unpaid?
    • How long is it?
    • How to apply?

    If you don’t like the options offered, consider taking out short-term disability insurance from a third party. Depending on your pay and work conditions, it could be very well worth it.

  3. Talk to HR
  4. Some time during the second trimester of your pregnancy find out from your human resources department what the company policy about breastfeeding and pumping at work is.

    • Is there a designated lactation room in the building?
    • What is supplied by the company and what do you need to bring?
    • What is the policy about duration and frequency of breaks?
    • Is there a bring-your-baby-to-work policy?

  5. Talk to your boss
  6. Right after your HR meeting talk to your boss. If not yet obvious, let him/her know that you are expecting a baby. Then communicate to him/her your desire to continue breastfeeding when you return to work.

    • What are the employment options for your return: part time, flexible schedule, work from home?

  7. Do the paperwork
  8. Fill out all the paperwork for the maternity leave when needed. There are usually some pretty rigid guidelines about when to submit the request.
    Understand exactly what your maternity leave process is and when your first day back to work should be.
    Communicate with your HR representative via e-mail, forward everything to your personal e-mail and save for future reference.

  9. Practice pumping
  10. When on maternity leave concentrate on bonding with your baby and getting breastfeeding going. Try to use up all the time available to you (typically 12 weeks).
    Also, start pumping for a couple of minutes after each feeding session and freeze the milk. It will both give you an opportunity to practice pumping and hand expression and to build up your milk store.

  11. Prepare for return to work
  12. Return to work with all the necessary breastfeeding supplies. You will need a breast pump (if not provided by the employer), breast pump bag (see recommendation below), cooler bag, storage containers, comfortable clothing, cleaning supplies, things that help you relax and remind you about your baby.
    You may also need a privacy cover and an extra battery block set for the pump (if battery-operated).

  13. Be patient
  14. Successful pumping away from your baby takes time and practice. Don’t give up. If something doesn’t work, try changing things around and re-arranging your schedule to make it work.

I know not everything can be thoroughly planned and foreseen. Do what you can to follow the plan and you will pave the way for successful and stress-free breastfeeding and working!

Have a story about your maternity leave and breastfeeding/pumping at work? Share with me here and with your permission I can create a page on my website devoted to your story!

Good Read on the Topic:

US Breastfeeding Committee website has tons of useful tips about breastfeeding in a workplace. In relation to the topic of our discussion, I highly recommend this article - How should you talk to your employer about nursing breaks?

It walks you through the conversation that has to happen between you and your boss.

Related Product Review:

I was specifically looking for a product that would work hard to simplify life of a working mother.

And I came across what proved to be a great product. It is called Sarah Wells Breast Pump Bag.

I call products like this one "smart": it is functional and it fulfills the exact purpose it was designed for.

After I wrote the review, I also did a video-review thinking it would be good to show you what I saw. Enjoy!

Read review

Watch review

Questions and Comments:

I try to organize my newsletters around your interests in breastfeeding or concerns that you may have.

If you have an interest in a specific breastfeeding topic or would like me to review a particular breastfeeding-related product, let me know here. I will research, review and share with you. You can also submit questions and comments by responding to this newsletter.

Feel free to forward this newsletter to other moms. The more, the merrier!

There are many ways to show your love and devotion to your kids and to win their trust. Breastfeeding is the most natural one.



Back to Back Issues Page