Tips for Nursing Mothers: Ease Your Return To Work

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This release shares tips to help nursing mothers ease their transition back into the workplace while continuing to breastfeed.

By doing some advance planning and communicating openly with their employers, working mothers can significantly ease this transition and reduce the potential for challenges to arise. Fortunately, a growing number of employers are making accommodations for nursing mothers and becoming educated about their needs.

As the first week of August has been designated World Breastfeeding Week, LifeCare®, Inc. is offering the following tips to assist new mothers in their transition back to the workplace while breastfeeding:

  • Communicate with your employer: Although discussing breastfeeding may be uncomfortable at times, you should communicate your situation and your needs openly. Explain that breastfeeding requires you to nurse and/or pump throughout the work day. Explain how much time you'll need for breaks and offer to make up the time.
  • Discuss the benefits: Talk about some of the health benefits of breastfeeding for you and your baby, including the possibility of reduced absenteeism and lower health care costs due to the fact that breastfed babies have fewer illnesses. You can learn more about the benefits of breastfeeding by visiting the web sites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (http://www.cdc.gov).
  • Consider purchasing or renting a double breast pump: These pumps reduce pumping time virtually by half, so they offer you and your employer timesaving benefits.
  • Begin pumping at home three to four weeks prior to returning to work: This will familiarize you with pumping and help to keep your milk supply up. Try to pump when the baby would normally breastfeed.
  • Develop a schedule: Once you've established a pumping and feeding routine at home, create a schedule for work. This will vary depending on the age of your baby and your work schedule (part time, full time, phased-in return, etc.). Women whose infants are younger than three months typically need to pump every two to three hours; women with older babies typically only need to pump every three to four hours.
  • Be accommodating: Try to arrange pump times to coincide with established breaks and lunch periods.
  • Coordinate with your caregiver: Give your caregiver a copy of your breastfeeding schedule and written instructions on how to store and use breast milk. If you plan to breastfeed rather than pump during your lunch hour, or at other times during the day, designate a time and place to meet the caregiver and your baby. Explain that your baby should not be fed within a couple of hours of your scheduled visits. If the baby is hungry before then, the caregiver can tide the baby over with water or a snack-sized portion of stored milk.

"Transitioning back to the workplace while continuing to breastfeed can be a tremendous challenge for new mothers," said LifeCare CEO, Peter G. Burki. "By doing some advance planning and communicating openly with their employers, working mothers can significantly ease this transition and reduce the potential for challenges to arise. Fortunately, a growing number of employers are making accommodations for nursing mothers and becoming educated about their needs."

In May of 2009, the National Conference of State Legislators reported that 24 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico all have laws related to breastfeeding in the workplace. On June 11, 2009, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) announced introduction of the "Breastfeeding Promotion Act" (H.R. 2819), which protects breastfeeding mothers from discrimination in the workplace, requires large employers to provide the time and private space necessary to express milk, and provides tax incentives for employers that establish private lactation areas in the workplace.

LifeCare provides its clients with comprehensive workplace breastfeeding support services including its Mothers at Work program, the nation's premier workplace breastfeeding program. Through Mothers at Work, nursing mothers have access to board-certified lactation consultants 24/7.

About LifeCare®, Inc.
LifeCare is a leading provider of health and productivity solutions for employers nationwide, offering cost-saving benefits that help clients reduce their most pervasive absenteeism and productivity drains, including child and elder care, caregiving support, health and wellness issues, and more. For more than two decades, LifeCare has led the work/life industry in the creation of high-quality, results-oriented programs designed to improve clients' bottom lines. LifeCare serves 1,500 client companies with 4.5 million individuals within corporations, health plans, government agencies and unions. For more information, visit http://www.lifecare.com.

Notes to Editors:
LifeCare's CEO, Peter G. Burki, is available for interview.
Media contact: Michael Civiello, 203-291-3756

This press release was distributed through eMediawire by Human Resources Marketer (HR Marketer: http://www.HRmarketer.com) on behalf of the company listed above.

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Michael Civiello
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