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Nurturing Support: Building a Strong Network for Breastfeeding Moms Returning to Work

The first year is full of many milestones - and not just for your baby. Even if this isn’t your first baby, there are certain milestones that breastfeeding moms hit that are equally momentous each time. That includes the first time you leave the house by yourself, the first time you sleep more than 3 hours straight at night, and, of course, when you have to return to work. Whether the decision to return to work after having a baby is voluntary or one born out of financial necessity, it is momentous either way. Balancing the demands of a job and continuing to breastfeed and/or pump may come with emotional and physical challenges.

One of the key pillars of success during this phase is having a robust support system in place. Building a network that understands and encourages your breastfeeding goals can make a world of difference. In this article, we'll explore practical tips for creating a solid support network as you navigate the delicate balance between work and breastfeeding.

How to Find Support as a Working Breastfeeding Mom

Communicate with Your Employer

Start by having an open conversation with your employer or HR department about your breastfeeding needs. By federal law, breastfeeding moms must be given reasonable time to express their milk. Your employer may have further regulations that give you additional rights. Keep these rights in mind and explore the possibility of flexible work arrangements, such as adjusted break times or a private space for pumping.

Connect with Fellow Work Moms

Reach out to colleagues who are also working breastfeeding moms or have been through similar experiences. Sharing stories, advice, and even pumping schedules can foster a sense of camaraderie and reassurance. Moms who have done this before can offer tips on which spaces offer the most privacy or guidance on how to make it fit into your schedule.

Involve Your Partner

Your partner should be your strongest ally. Discuss your breastfeeding goals, pumping routine, and how you both can divide responsibilities at home to ensure a smoother transition as you head back to work.

Lean on Family and Friends

Let your family and friends know about your journey as a breastfeeding mom and your need for support. They can offer emotional backing, help with household tasks, and provide childcare during busy workdays.

If you don’t live next to family or have a close network of friends for support, look for community in other ways. Facebook mom groups that are breastfeeding and pumping-friendly can be your best resources for making connections with other working moms in your area. You can even suggest a playdate or MNO (mom’s night out) so you can connect in person.

Utilize Lactation Consultants and Support Groups

Seek guidance from lactation consultants or attend breastfeeding support groups in your community. La Leche League International is a worldwide free breastfeeding support group led by leaders trained in peer-to-peer breastfeeding support. These professionals can offer expert advice, answer questions, and connect you with other breastfeeding moms facing similar challenges.

Use Technology

Stay connected with your baby during work hours by using video calls or instant messaging apps. This can ease separation anxiety and remind you of the beautiful reason behind your dedication to breastfeeding.

Plan Ahead

Create a pumping schedule and communicate it to your support network. This ensures that everyone is on the same page and can accommodate your pumping breaks or childcare needs.

Being a breastfeeding mom returning to work can feel isolating and overwhelming, but try to remind yourself that you don’t have to do it all on your own. By building a support system, you can empower yourself to navigate this phase with confidence and grace. It’s okay not to have all the answers right now. As long as you know where to go to find them and have the necessary support while you figure it out, you will succeed on this journey.

Want support on your journey as a working breastfeeding mom? We’re here to help! Read about our lactation services here.

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