Breastfeeding & returning to work

Being a mother is a challenging role

Deciding how to feed your baby once you return to work can be difficult and is a personal decision. It is important that you think about what will work for you and your family.

Here are some options if you choose to continue breastfeeding on your return to work:

  • Replace breastfeeds during work hours with expressed breast milk
  • Replace breastfeeds during work hours with infant formula
  • Replace breastfeeds with solid food when your baby is six months or older
  • Assuming that you have a good milk supply you only need to express at times when your baby would normally feed
  • If you are having difficulty keeping up with your baby’s demand you may need to express more frequently
  • Negotiate with your manager a suitable place to express and store your breast milk in a refrigerator during the day
  • Decide how you will express:
    • hand or pump
    • electric or hand
  • Wash hands before expressing
  • Store breast milk in sterile plastic or glass containers
  • Store milk in single serve sizes
  • Store milk in the back of the refrigerator where it is coldest (3-5 days if temp is 4°C or less, 2 days if unsure of the temperature)
  • Milk can be frozen in the freezer section of a refrigerator (with a separate door) for 3 months or 6 – 12 months in a deep freeze (-18°C or less)
  • When transporting milk from work or to childcare you could use an insulated picnic cooler or cooler bag with ice or a freezer brick
  • Thaw expressed milk in the fridge overnight or in warm water. DO NOT microwave expressed breast milk as the milk could contain hotspots that may harm your baby. Boiling the milk may affect its nutritious quality
  • Try to introduce your baby to the cup or bottle 2 or 3 weeks before returning to work, a baby can feed from a cup from about 7 months of age
  • If possible build up a reserve of breast milk prior to returning to work
  • If your baby is in childcare, label your expressed breast milk with your baby’s name and the time and date expressed, so that the oldest milk can be used first

For further help:

  • Visit either your local Child and Family Health Centre or local doctor.
  • Call Tresillian Parent’s Help Line on (02) 9787 0855 or 1800 637 357 (Freecall outside Sydney)
  • Speak to a Tresillian Nurse on-line at Tresillian Live Advice