Breastfeeding at Work
Having the support of your employer will be important to successfully continue breastfeeding.
Discuss your plan to continue to breastfeed with your employer when you are pregnant
or before you return to work. Also let your employer know that you will need to pump (express)
breastmilk during the workday.
Be sure your employer understands that continued breastfeeding and pumping at work
are not just good for your baby—they also are good for the company. Evidence shows that
employer support for continued breastfeeding, and the breast-pumping breaks it requires,
results in fewer employee absences and increased worker productivity. This makes sense
when you consider that:
Your breastfed, or breastmilk-fed, baby is less likely to develop many kinds of infectious
illnesses, so you are less likely to take days off to care for a sick baby.
You are less likely to be distracted on the job because you had to leave a sick baby
with a sitter. Or because you are concerned about milk production or some other breastfeeding-related
If you are able to pump every few hours, you are less likely to develop mastitis (breast
infection). This is a situation that may require that you take one or more days off
Let your employer know that frequent workday breast-pumping breaks do not continue
indefinitely. The number will decrease during the second half of your baby's first
year, as he or she develops and eats more solid foods.
Other work place issues to consider might include:
Will you be able to take breast-pumping breaks close to your baby's feeding schedule?
Or must pumping wait for scheduled worksite breaks and lunch periods?
Is there a place where you may go to pump or express your breastmilk in private? Fair
labor standards require that your employer provide you with a clean area to express
your breastmilk in private. Bathrooms are private, but they are not an appropriate
Is there a refrigerator to store breastmilk in during the day? Or do you need to bring
an insulated cooler for storage?