Balancing breastfeeding, work and childcare

Five top guilt-free tips to help you juggle returning to work and breastfeeding.

Balancing breastfeeding, work and childcare
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If you are worried about breastfeeding and working be reassured that many mums still continue to breastfeed long after they have returned to their job, it just takes a little planning and communication.

Parenting expert for childcare.co.uk Jo Wiltshire shares her tips so you can nurse and work with confidence.
1) Talk to your employer

Your employer may be more approachable than you might think! Ask about flexible hours, extended lunch hours or working from home options. Consider shorter work days, or maybe longer days but fewer of them per week. Remember you are an asset, and breastfeeding doesn’t last forever, so make a positive case for them to be more flexible.

2) Choose smart childcare

Find someone who understands and is supportive of breastfeeding and will work with you to make it happen. Could your child’s carer bring your baby to your workplace during your lunch hour or breaks? Many childcare providers are happy to work with you on this providing you can make it fit timewise and from a logistics point of view.

3) Express milk

A good quality electric pump can make this easier, or you can learn to hand express. This gives you options as your carer or partner can give feeds using the expressed milk while you’re working. If you are thinking of continuing to breast feed when you return to work get expressing in plenty of time! Breast milk can be frozen for up to 6 months in the freezer so regular expressing before you return will give you a steady supply.

4) Make friends with your human resources department

Employers should provide a clean private space to express or breastfeed – don’t be banished to the loo! Make sure they know their obligations – they also need to do a health and safety risk assessment if you intend to do this. Some employers are willing to provide this space but may not know what you need so open this discussion.

5) Return to work on a Thursday or Friday

This gives you the opportunity to test run your new work and feeding schedule and gives you the weekend to rest up. And remember to talk to your childcare and family members to set up a whole-family strategy whilst making this transition. Successful breastfeeding might require your body but it’s not just down to you, the support from your childcare provider and family is invaluable.

About the author

This article was provided by Jo Wiltshire parenting expert for Childcare.co.uk is the service which helps parents, nannies and childminders to connect.

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