The Ultimate Guide to Returning to Work after Pregnancy

Working and spending time with baby

Maternity leave is coming to an end and you may feel anxious about returning to work after going through a major physical change. We want you to feel prepared to pick up where you left off and be that super mom we know you already are! We break down your rights as a nursing mama and give advice on pumping in public.

Your Rights

While it’s best to set a plan with your employer before you go out on maternity leave, talking with your boss or an HR department about your needs and expectations will avoid any confusion or embarrassment when it comes time to step away and pump. The US Department of Labor requires businesses over 50 employees to provide a private room – that is NOT a bathroom – for nursing mothers to pump. This space does not have to be permanent. Moms are also entitled to take breaks to pump, however, it is dependent on state law whether these are paid or unpaid. These laws need to be followed up to one year after the baby’s birth.

For companies with less than 50 workers, your employer would need to prove to the government that providing you with breaks and a space to pump would impose “undue hardship” on their business. Until their exemption is approved by the Department of Labor, they must comply with these laws. If you work for a smaller company, it is best to talk through your concerns and plans with your employer so you can have peace of mind.

Pumping at Work

Okay, so you made a plan with your employer and feel ready to pump at work. But how often should you break, what about storing and clean up, and how can you help your coworkers keep track of your schedule in case they need you? You should keep up with a pumping schedule as you return to work, every 2-3 hours for babies under 6 months, or every 3-4 for older infants. You can block out 15-20 minutes on an online calendar so your coworkers can access it to plan meetings around your schedule.

When you’re finished pumping, make sure to clean out your equipment and have a place to store your milk. If you prefer to not have your milk exposed in the work refrigerator, we recommend leaving an opaque bag like a lunch box in the fridge to discreetly store your milk. If there is no communal fridge in your office, you can bring a cooler with ice packs – just remember to bring it home each day and refreeze the packs for the next day!

Which Pumps are Best?

There are a lot of breast pumps on the market, but did you know some may be better than others for working moms? For starters, a double electric pump will save you time during your breaks so you can nurse both breasts at the same time. You should also consider if there is an outlet available where you will pump or if you need to consider a portable, battery version. Finally, there are wireless, hands-free pumps available like the elvie stride and Willow where you can discreetly pump at your desk and have your hands free for other tasks.

Look into our breast pump comparison chart here to see what qualities different pumps have! We’re ready to help you find the best equipment for your pumping-at-work needs. Give us a call or email to find your perfect pump! 1-866-255-6779, customerservice@thebreastfeedingshop.com

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