Across the UK, our peer supporters work with many families who tell us they have concerns about how they are going to manage returning to work or study with a breastfeeding baby.

Returning to work after maternity leave can feel a bit overwhelming for many parents, and particularly if you are trying to work out how to continue providing breastmilk for your baby  – you might be thinking about talking to your employer or place of study about your rights, explaining your plans to your childcare provider, perhaps you and your partner are planning on taking shared parental leave, maybe your role involves shift work, a long commute or even overseas travel – how will you manage to continue your breastfeeding journey for as long as you and your baby want to?

We’ve heard from loads of mums and families about their experiences of returning to work or study – and the good news is that many have managed to successfully combine breastfeeding with their return to work. 

Some employers provide excellent facilities, private spaces for pumping, storage for milk, have breastfeeding policies already in place; others are open and willing to accommodate your requirements.  Unfortunately some employers might feel less approachable, but we hope that through our Making it Work campaign, we can provide you with some tools to help you make your return to work or study happen the way you want it to for you and your family.

We’d love to hear from you if you have a story to share about your return to work or study – contact us on social@breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk

If you want to chat to someone about returning to work or study while breastfeeding, give the National Breastfeeding Helpline a call on 0300 100 0212, open every day of the year from 9.30am-9.30pm.

We’ve worked with Dr Ernestine Gheyoh Ndzi, Subject Director for Law School of Psychological and Social Sciences, York St John University who has produced a piece of research on the impact of shared parental leave on breastfeeding. Read Ernestine’s blog on her findings here:
https://www.breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk/guest-blog-shared-parental-leave-&-breastfeeding/

Read Ernestine’s full report here.

Here are a few resources that might help you plan your return to work or study:

Your rights

Resources/Info for employers

If you’re an employer that would like to find out more about how you can support parents returning to work after maternity leave you may find these resources useful:

Expressing and Storing Breastmilk

Expressing and storing breastmilk might be something you have questions about if you are returning to work or study as a breastfeeding mum. Download our leaflet here.