Breastfeeding and Work: Balancing Your Return with Nursing Needs

breastfeeding and returning to work

Returning to work after having a baby is filled with a mix of emotions; there’s the excitement of getting back into the professional world, the anticipation of reconnecting with colleagues, and the looming question of how to balance your work responsibilities with the needs of your nursing baby.

As a working mother myself, I understand the challenges and the overwhelming desire to provide the best for your child while pursuing your career. It can feel like an emotional rollercoaster, filled with guilt, exhaustion, and the constant juggling act between being a mother and a professional.

When I returned to work, I faced numerous obstacles in continuing to breastfeed my baby. I struggled to find a comfortable and private space to pump, faced disapproving glances from coworkers, and even had my pumping breaks questioned by my supervisor.

But you don’t have to navigate these challenges alone. There are legal protections in place to support you and your baby’s breastfeeding journey in the workplace.

By familiarizing yourself with your rights and seeking support from organizations like A Better Balance, you can ensure that you have the time and space you need to pump breast milk at work without fear of discrimination or punishment.

Practical Tips for Balancing Breastfeeding and Work

Returning to work while breastfeeding can be a juggling act, but with careful planning and strategic approaches, it is possible to find a balance that works for you and your baby. Here are some practical tips to help you navigate this transition:

  1. Create a Pumping Schedule: Develop a pumping schedule that aligns with your work hours. Aim to pump every 2-3 hours to maintain your milk supply and prevent discomfort. Coordinate with your employer to find a suitable space for pumping.
  2. Invest in Efficient Breastfeeding Equipment: Choose a high-quality breast pump that suits your needs and ensures optimal milk expression. Consider investing in a hands-free pumping bra for added convenience.
  3. Stock Up on Breast Milk: Build a freezer stash of expressed breast milk in the weeks leading up to your return to work. This will give you peace of mind and ensure that your baby has enough nourishment in your absence.
  4. Communicate with Your Employer: Inform your employer about your breastfeeding needs and discuss the accommodations you require. Familiarize yourself with the laws and regulations in your country or state that protect your rights as a nursing mother in the workplace.
  5. Plan Your Meals and Snacks: Prepare nutritious meals and snacks that support your breastfeeding journey. Make sure to include plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains to maintain your energy levels.
  6. Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated and support your milk production. Keep a water bottle within reach to remind yourself to drink regularly.
  7. Seek Support: Connect with other working breastfeeding parents who can provide guidance and support. Join online communities or find local support groups to share experiences and gain valuable insights.
  8. Practice Self-Care: Take time for yourself to relax and destress. Engage in activities that promote your emotional well-being, such as yoga, meditation, or spending quality time with your loved ones.

Remember, every breastfeeding journey is unique, and it may take time to find what works best for you and your baby. Be patient with yourself and seek help when needed. By incorporating these practical tips into your routine, you can successfully balance breastfeeding and work, ensuring that both your professional and nurturing roles thrive.


Successfully balancing breastfeeding and work is achievable with careful planning, knowledge of your rights, and practical strategies. A Better Balance, an organization dedicated to supporting nursing mothers, offers a wealth of resources and support to help navigate the challenges of returning to work while breastfeeding.

It’s important to remember that returning to work is a temporary phase, and with the right support, you can continue to breastfeed your baby for as long as you choose. Don’t hesitate to reach out to family, friends, and colleagues for assistance, as their support can make the transition smoother.

Breastfeeding provides numerous benefits for both you and your baby, and finding the right balance between work and nursing is essential. By leveraging the resources available and implementing practical strategies, you can successfully navigate the demands of both work and breastfeeding, ensuring optimal well-being for both you and your little one.


What rights do nursing mothers have in the workplace?

Nursing mothers have rights protected by the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act, which grants them the right to time and space to pump breast milk at work.

What is the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act?

The PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act is a law passed in 2022 that provides expanded protections for nursing parents, ensuring they have the right to pump breast milk at work.

How can I navigate workplace breastfeeding accommodations?

Organizations like A Better Balance provide resources and guidance on how to navigate workplace breastfeeding accommodations. They can help you understand your rights and advocate for stronger lactation laws.

Are there any resources available to help with balancing breastfeeding and work?

Yes, organizations like A Better Balance provide resources and support for nursing mothers, helping them navigate the challenges of returning to work while breastfeeding.

How can I ensure a smooth transition when returning to work while breastfeeding?

By planning, seeking support from family, friends, and colleagues, and being knowledgeable about your rights, you can successfully navigate the demands of both work and nursing.

What are the benefits of breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding provides numerous benefits for both you and your baby, including bonding, improved immune system, and reducing the risk of certain health conditions.

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