Going Back to Work

Tips for Continued Successful Breastfeeding

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months. Women everywhere are returning to work and successfully continuing to breastfeed. Advanced planning, family and workplace support, and a high quality breast pump help create success for working moms. The longer babies are breastfed, the greater the health benefits for both mom and baby. Breastfeeding is good for your employer too – it reduces employees’ absence from work for baby’s illnesses.

Within 72-96 hours, you will notice changes in your breasts. They will become full, firm, warm, and perhaps tender as milk production increases and colostrum begins to change to mature milk. Breast fullness and mild to moderate swelling is normal. It is caused by milk and extra blood and fluid in the breasts. Your body will use the extra fluids to make milk for your baby. This breast fullness and swelling may last a day or two.

Benefits of Breastfeeding
For Baby For Mom
Breastfed infants have fewer and shorter episodes of illness. Convenient and always ready for baby.
Nutrition provided by breast milk benefits your baby’s IQ. Decreases risk of breast and ovarian cancers.
Reduces the risk of obesity and hypertension. Just the right temperature, and is the healthiest choice at the least cost.
Helps the baby’s immune system mature. Increases the rate of weight loss in most mothers.
Increases the effectiveness of immunizations. Breastfed babies are healthier, and mothers miss less work and spend less time and money on pediatric care.
Perfect nutrition. Reduces risk of diabetes, heart attack, high blood pressure and stroke.
Fewer allergies. Reduces risk of diabetes, heart attack, high blood pressure and stroke.
Protects against developing chronic diseases. Decreases risk of osteoporosis.
…there are many other benefits to breastfeeding. Go to Medela to see references and find more.

You and Your Milk Supply

Your milk supply is established in the first days after birth. Breastfeed your baby frequently to help produce lots of milk. Make use of the time after your baby is born to rest and regain your energy. Avoid giving bottles and/or pacifiers until breastfeeding is well-established.

Breastfeed often in the evenings and learn how to breastfeed lying down while you rest. Nighttime breastfeeding boosts your supply! Remember, pumping takes practice. If you only get a small amount of milk the first few times you pump, don’t worry. With practice and patience you’ll soon be pumping more milk.

You and Your Milk Supply

It is important to select the best breast pump and accessories for your work situation. Many working moms choose Freestyle®, Pump in Style® Advanced or a hospital grade breast pump, such as Symphony®. These pumps offer superior performance, comfort and convenience. Medela pumps have either a vehicle lighter or battery pack for options. Call 1-(800) TELL YOU for a local retail or rental location or visit Medela.

Choosing the correct size breastshield is important for the flow of breast milk and comfort to moms who are pumping. Medela makes PersonalFit™ breastshields in a variety of sizes to fit your needs. Breast pumping should be comfortable. If pumping is uncomfortable or if you have questions, check with your lactation consultant or healthcare professional to help provide you with the proper fit.

Choosing a Childcare Provider for Your Baby

Choose a childcare provider you trust who is comfortable caring for your breastfed baby. You can also check with your state or county for a list of licensed childcare providers. By choosing a childcare provider that is close to your workplace, you can visit your baby and breastfeed during lunch.

First Week of Work

Going back to work can be overwhelming. Start slowly, if possible, by returning to work for only a half-day, or mid-week. It is normal to feel tired at first. On days off, nap with your baby, enjoy your time together, and breastfeed often. Protect your milk supply by pumping often while away and breastfeeding when you are with your baby. Avoid having your breasts become overly full, as engorgement sends a signal to your body to slow down milk production.

Pumping at Work

The milk you pump at work one day may or can be used the next day to feed your baby. After pumping, cool your milk in a refrigerator or cooler. Store your milk in Medela’s BPA-free breast milk collection bottles or storage bags specifically designed for breast milk, such as Medela Pump & Save™ bags. Freeze milk in 2-4 ounce containers and thaw when needed to use as back-up supply. Use a cooler carrier with frozen ice packs to transport your milk from work or to your daycare provider.

Freshly Expressed Breast Milk Storage Guidelines
(For Healthy Term Babies)
Room Temperature Cooler with 3 Frozen Ice Packs Refrigerator Freezer Thawed Breast Milk
4–6 hours at 66–78 °F (19–26 °C) 24 hours at 59 °F (15 °C) 3–8 days at 39 °F or lower (4 °C) 6–12 months 0–4 °F (-18–-20 °C) use within 24 hrs

If your work involves overnight travel, milk can be shipped home packed in dry ice, or shipped on the airlines packed in cooler containers with dry ice packs. Check the FAA's website for the most recent rules and regulations.

Medela offers breast pumps that are ideal for pumping at work. The Freestyle® and Pump In Style Advanced include everything you need in convenient carrying bags and feature 2-Phase Expression technology for more milk in less time. In addition, Freestyle is uniquely small and lightweight and includes accessories for optional hands-free pumping.

More Tips for Pumping at Work

  • Two-piece clothing that opens easily at the waist makes pumping easier.
  • If your supply is low, breastfeeding or pumping more often is the simplest way to increase your supply.
  • You may find it helpful to have the support of another pumping mom to talk to.
  • Two (2) pump kits make pumping more convenient – one (1) for home and one (1) for work.
  • Use Medela’s Quick Clean™ Micro-Steam™ bags or wipes for easy clean up. Make sure you bring your pump parts home to wash before using the next day.
  • Return to work mid-week so you only have 2 or 3 days before the weekend. It makes the first week back to work a short week and easier to handle.

Resources and References

Go to Medela for products and information available for you and your baby.

To locate Medela products or a breastfeeding specialist in your area, go to Medela or call 1-(800) TELL YOU, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Some other excellent resources:

Medela, Inc.,
P.O. Box 660
1101 Corporate Drive
McHenry, IL, 60051-0660
Medela Canada, Inc.,
4160 Sladeview, Crescent Unit #8
Mississauga, ON L5L OA1
Phone: (800) 435-8316 or (815) 363-1166
Fax: (815) 363-1246
Email address: email