Tips for Breastfeeding Moms Returning to Work

As you get ready to pump at work, be familiar with the laws in your area and the accommodations at your workplace. Federal law requires employers covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to provide accommodations for breastfeeding mothers at work.

That includes time to express milk and a private space to do so—one that is not a bathroom. Some states also have specific laws related to breastfeeding in the workplace—check if yours does here.

Tips for pumping at work:

  • While you’re at work, plan to pump 2 or 3 times a day, about 3 hours apart, with each session lasting about 15 to 20 minutes.  

  • Make sure you have a good quality pumping bra and pump equipment, including flanges that fit you well, plus a safe space to store your milk (some pumping rooms have a mini fridge).  

  • Use a small cooler to transport milk in your car or on public transportation.  

  • When you pump, make sure you have something to drink.  

  • Focus on a picture of your baby or an item that smells like him or her (to help trigger a milk letdown).  

  • Listen to calming music through headphones to help block outside distractions.

Caregivers and Feedings

If you’re returning to work in the next few weeks, now is the time to make sure that your caregiver knows that you want your baby to be fed only expressed breast milk. A supportive caregiver is critical to exclusive breastfeeding for working moms.

Nurse your baby when you’re first reunited at home or at childcare, and then nurse on demand whenever you’re with your baby, including on the weekends.

See also ...

•  Workplace support for breastfeeding

This message is not intended to provide individual medical advice. Always seek the advice of a physician or qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have about your health or medical condition, your breastfeeding issues and your infant's health. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you have read in our emails, webpages or other electronic communications.

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