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Breastfeeding and returning to work

Advice about breastfeeding when returning to work with information on expressing breastmilk and bottle feeding your baby.
Many women return to work within a few months or weeks of having a baby. Some choose not to breastfeed because they know they will only have a short time left before returning to work after their baby is born.

It is a really good idea to breastfeed your baby no matter how soon you will need to return to work. The early days and weeks are very important. Breastfeeding for just a short time is better than not feeding at all.

When you do go back to work you might consider expressing milk, so that your baby can have the benefit of breastmilk when you are not there. It may even be possible to have your baby brought to you to be breast fed during the working hours. The law has changed recently to support breastfeeding mothers. It is worth seeking advice from ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) ( to find out your own individual rights.

Another alternative is to give your baby formula milk while you are at work and breastfeed the rest of the time. This can work well and even one breastfeed a day is still beneficial.

If you do plan to give expressed or formula milk you will need to think about how to give it. Some breast fed babies are reluctant to feed any other way.

It is wise to plan ahead. If you intend to give milk by bottle from the time your baby is about three months old it is a good idea to get into the habit of expressing milk two or three times a week. This milk can then be fed to your baby by bottle.

Breast fed babies often prefer a nuk teat, which has been specially designed to feel more natural to the baby. If your baby does not accept a bottle straight away it might be worth trying different teats. It is also a good idea to get someone else to give the bottle, baby's are often most reluctant to take a bottle from his or her own Mum.

From four months your baby will be able to drink from a cup. You may wish to avoid using a bottle and feed your baby it's milk by cup instead. This might also require a bit of practice.

It is best for both you and your baby to be prepared. Going back to work can be very stressful. If you know that your baby can take milk happily when you are not there you may feel better about going back to work.

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I have been exclusively breastfeeding for almost 6 months and am looking at returning to work part time. I am trying to wean my baby from the breast, but this is proving to be more difficult than I ever imagined. Does anyone have any advice for making a baby drink from a bottle or sippy cup when they have never had to do it?
by Morgo 5th Feb 2009, 9:58am
I am breastfeeding my daughter who will soon be 11 months old. I returned to work after 3 weeks because I don't get any kind of maternity leave/disability with my job. It has been challenging at times but my daughter has only been sick once in those 11 months and I know I'm doing what's best for her! Plus, now that she's older I only have to pump once during the workday instead of twice. It does get easier as your baby gets older.
by brandiebrown 25th Oct 2007, 8:35am
Hello there, my name is Natasha and I am due to have my very first baby on the 17dec 07. It is all becoming quite scary as the time draws nearer. I am faced with the unfortunate prospect of having to return to work after 3mths, due to regulations in my work place. I will have to employ an au-pair to look after the baby as my partner and I both do shift work and we do not have any family close by to help us.
I want to do the right thing and breast feed up until I am almost ready to go back to work but then will have to most likely change to bottle feeding as the au-pair will have to take over when I am not around. I don't know how difficult it will be to express milk when I have to go to work as sometimes my shifts start very early in the morning. I also worry that the au-pair will have difficulty when I am at work and the baby won't feed. I know I am probably over- reacting because it is all a new experience however if anyone out there has any tips please let me know.
by pregnancy1 22nd Oct 2007, 9:41am
I have question and not so much a comment. I have a 1 year old son, and I want to know does there come a time when a child starts to reject the breast milk? How will I know? What should i look for?
by AskBaby6897 15th Nov 2006, 9:57am