Mums sure would love to spend more time with their baby but after 2-3 months, it’s now time to get back to work. Breastfeeding while returning to work is entirely possible and mums are encouraged to do so to continue providing the best nourishment for baby.
Before Returning to Work
- Speak to your employer about your plans to continue breastfeeding, and inform them that you intend to express milk at your
- Ask the lactation consultant, or healthcare provider whether you need a breast pump, and which kind is best for you.
- Practise pumping your breast milk during the morning or other times when your breasts feel fuller.
- Remember that pumping takes practice. Don’t be surprised if you only get a little the first few times. Babies are usually much better at removing milk.
- Store any milk you collect in small quantities (1-2 ounces). Baby may not take a large amount at one feeding, and your milk is too valuable to waste.
Preparing your baby
- About 2 weeks before you go back to work, start teaching baby to drink from a cup or bottle.
- Offer milk this way when baby is not hungry or upset.
- Ask someone else, like a caregiver or baby’s dad, to offer the cup/bottle.
- Don’t force baby to accept the cup/bottle. If baby refuses, take a break and try again later.
- Find a breastfeeding-friendly childcare provider.
Getting support from family
- Let your family members/caregivers know how important it is that they support you in your decision to breastfeed.
- Express your milk every 2 to 3 hours.
- If you’re using a double electric pump that expresses from both breasts at the same time, it may take around 20 to 30 minutes each time.
- Expressing by hand or with a manual pump will take longer.
- Be patient – you will get more efficient with practice.
- Use your regular breaks/lunchtime to express milk.
- Checklist for breastfeeding mum going back to work
- How to express milk by hand/breast pump
- Guide to storing and thawing expressed breast milk
- Brochure for caregivers on how to take care of a breastfed baby
Facts about Separation Anxiety
- Once your infant realises you’re really gone, it may leave him unsettled.
- Some babies can display separation anxiety as early as 4 to 5 months of age, most develop more robust separation anxiety at around 9 months.
- The leave-taking can be worse if your infant is hungry, tired, or not feeling well.
How to Survive Separation Anxiety
- Create quick good-bye rituals. Keep good-byes short and sweet. If you linger, the transition time does too. So will the anxiety.
- Be consistent. Try to do the same drop-off with the same ritual at the same time each day you separate to avoid unexpected factors. A routine can diminish the heartache and will allow your child to simultaneously build trust in her independence and in you.
- Attention. When separating, give your child full attention, be loving, and provide affection. Then say good bye quickly despite her antics or cries for you to stay.
- Keep your promise. When you stick to your promise of return, you’ll build trust as your child gains self-confidence and independence.
- Be specific and use easy-to-understand terms. When you discuss your return, provide specifics that your child understands. If you know you’ll be back by 4 pm, tell it to your child on his terms. Define the time in ways he can understand. For example, instead of 4 pm, say “After your nap”; or, when referring to your return from a business trip, explain the time before he sees you again in terms of “sleeps”. So, instead of saying “I’ll be home in 3 days,” say, “I’ll be home after 3 sleeps.”
- Practice being apart. Leave baby with his grandparents, schedule playdates, and allow friends and family to provide child care for you (even for an hour) on weekends. Give your child a chance to prepare, experience, and thrive in your absence!
For further information on infant and child nutrition, please refer to
- MINISTRY OF HEALTH MALAYSIA (2013) Malaysian Dietary Guidelines for Children and Adolescents. Putrajaya: Technical Working Group on Nutritional Guidelines (for National Coordinating Committee on Food and Nutrition).
- NUTRITION SOCIETY OF MALAYSIA (2011) Breastfeed with Confidence. Petaling Jaya: Mother’s Smart Choice.