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Still breastfeeding but it’s time to go back to work? Read our guide on how to make the transition go as smoothly as possible.

Do a practice run

If you are returning to work and want to continue breastfeeding, you will probably be considering expressing milk and storing it in bottles for your child’s carer to give to him or her. Making the transition from breastfeeding on demand to bottle feeds can be quite tricky. If you’ve established a good feeding routine, your baby is most likely really comforted by your presence, and we all know that breastfeeding can be such an incredible bonding experience. Not every baby adjusts to feeding from the bottle, so it’s advisable to do a few practice runs before you head back to work. Leave your child with a childminder or your partner for a good stretch of hours and allow your baby (as well as your body) to adjust to the temporary separation.

Discuss with your workplace

As far as the law is concerned, employers are legally required to facilitate breastfeeding mums, and provide a suitable space for mums to have privacy for breastfeeding and pumping breaks. It’s advised that women should write to their employer prior to returning to work, providing them with notice of their intention to breastfeed. As mentioned, your workplace should provide suitable facilities for you to comfortably engage in your ‘at work’ breastfeeding routine i.e. a private room where you can express your milk. As such, a special risk assessment must be carried out before you return to work.

Think ahead in terms of your ‘at work’ feeding routine

Familiarising yourself with the set-up of your office space will help you navigate your ‘at work’ breastfeeding routine so you won’t feel stressed or anxious about it. Is there a safe space for you to store all that milk you’ve extracted during your expressing sessions? Can you access this space at all times (we all know that breast engorgement is all too real)? Are there other breastfeeding mums that need access to the allocated room, and if so, what is the protocol for sharing this space? Liaising closely with the HR department or your manager to gain clarification on such matters will save for any awkward or frustrating moments.

Invest in an electric pump

In terms of speed and efficiency an electric breast pump may be your best option if you are considering expressing milk on your way to work or throughout your working day. An electric pump enables you to extract milk quickly and helps to keep your supply consistent. Electric pumps also have a more robust and sophisticated suction mechanism, so you won’t have to spend hours trying to express milk. Choose a light, portable model that’s practical for travelling around. Of course, you can opt for a manual pump or even use your hands to extract milk if that’s your preference.

Consider how you’ll store your breastmilk

Once you establish a steady routine of expressing milk both at the workplace and at home, you’ll need to figure out how to safely store your stash. You can easily do a combination of freezing and storing bottles in the fridge at home. And as for the office, you can consider storing bottles in the office fridge, but if you are concerned about the possibility of it accidentally being tampered with, you can purchase insulated cooler packs (and add frozen icepacks), which can offer up to 24 hours post-pumping storage.

Keep breastfeeding supplies at the office

Do ensure you keep a stash of supplies at your workplace for your convenience, such as breast pads, breast milk cooler bags, milk storage bottles, breast cups, spare batteries (for your electric pump if it’s battery operated), a few spare tops, and a travel bag to keep all your items neatly stored.

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Product Reccomendations

Breast Milker Booster Tea was created by midwives for breastfeeding mums, to act a aid for healthy milk supply. Drink frequently throughout the day for best results. It’s also said to be an effective relief for your baby’s colic and will calm their digestive system. Choose between 75g of loose tea or 15 biodegradable tea pyramids.

Medela Swing Maxi – Double Electric Breast Pump, £250 The new Swing Maxi is a compact and easy to use double electric breast pump with improved mobility to fit seamlessly into your lifestyle. Perfect for breastfeeding Mums who juggle between home and the workplace.

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