Health Encyclopedia

Maternity Leave

Many women continue to breastfeed when they return to work by feeding their babies breast milk from bottles. The longer the leave of absence, the longer you will have to recuperate after the birth, establish milk production, and develop a good breastfeeding relationship with your baby. The length of time given for a paid maternity leave of absence varies among companies. Some women extend their maternity leaves by taking additional weeks of unpaid leave. Become aware of your rights, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's Family and Medical Leave Act. Also, check with your employer to determine the latest date you may return.

In addition to extending the length of a maternity leave, many women explore other employment choices. Some women arrange with their employers to:

  • Return to work on a part-time basis initially, or long-term

  • Job-share

  • Work from home

These choices help both the employer who keeps a skilled employee and the employee who has more time with her baby.

When planning your return to work, ask if you might begin the first week on a Wednesday or a Thursday, so you will soon have the weekend to work out any unexpected problems.



Medical Reviewers:

  • Kanipe, Jennifer, RN, BSN
  • Sacks, Daniel, MD, FACOG