Mums can often feel forced to stop breastfeeding when they return to work, but this need not be the case. More and more mums are continuing to breastfeed by expressing their milk, so that baby can enjoy the benefits of breast milk even when mum is back in the workplace. Expressing at work is an option, and your employer has legal obligations to try and accommodate you…

So, what does the law say?

  • When you return to work, you should submit written notification to your employer stating that you are breastfeeding and intend to express. Your employer should then conduct a risk assessment to evaluate whether the workplace is safe and well-equipped for expressing
  • Employers are required to provide suitable facilities for breastfeeding mothers to rest under the Workplace Regulations and Approved Code of Practice.
  • The Health and Safety Executive recommends that employers provide a safe, suitable, and private place for breastfeeding mothers to express and then to store milk. The toilets are not suitable for expressing. Unfortunately employers are not required by law to provide this space, it is merely encouraged

To make the transition back to work easier, try to be organised. Here are a few things you can do to prepare...

  • Give your employer notice that you plan on expressing when you return. This should give them time to make any adaptations/provisions necessary for you
  • Help them out - let your employer know what you need to make expressing at work comfortable and safe
  • Start expressing a few weeks before you go back to work to get familiar with the routine
  • If your baby has never used a bottle make sure you leave plenty of time to make the transition. Yoomi can help in making this easier for both you and baby. Why not give yoomi a try!
  • You may want to build up a store of expressed milk in case you don’t want to express during the first few days you’re back at work
  • Initially expressing can be time consuming so make sure you discuss and coordinate plans with your partner regarding baby’s feedings and household chores
  • If possible, return to work in the middle of the work week, so you can ease back into it with a short week
  • Try and prepare everything you need the night before you go back to work to minimise your stress in the morning

An increasing number of mums are now able to combine going back to work with continuing to breastfeed and expressing. All it takes is a little preparation and forward planning.

References Breastfeeding and work Employee - Pregnancy and Work / Expressing Milk at Work / Expressing and the working mum