Returning to Work – Know Your Rights

Returning to work following maternity leave can be an anxious time. Often this will involve leaving your little one for the first time so you are bound to be a little apprehensive as you adjust again to a new routine.

However, returning to work doesn’t mean an end to breastfeeding as it is possible to combine both – whether you will be returning to work full time or part time.

As a breastfeeding mum you are protected by law when you return to work under the health and safety at work legislation, but you do need to discuss this with your employer before you return and put in to writing that you will still be breastfeeding.

Your employer will then conduct a risk assessment and discuss the options with you for reasonable provision to support you as you continue to breastfeed.

Returning to work can be both enjoyable and upsetting so our lactation consultant, Sioned, has shared some handy tips and things to think about to help reassure you during this time:

  • Many mums worry about how to feed baby when they are separated and the consequences on milk supply. Make sure you talk with your childcare provider on how they are going to manage your expressed milk and what their breastfeeding policy is.
     
  • If your baby is to take expressed milk look at introducing your baby to a bottle a few weeks before returning to work. If they don’t take to a bottle you can introduce a sippy cup with expressed breast milk or cooled boiled water whilst you are at work and breastfeed on your return home.
     
  • If they don’t take any additional fluids whilst at nursery – talk with your childcare provider to look at other food options such as soups, additional milk in mashed potatoes, add to vegetables, give yogurts, additional sauces such as cheese sauce etc. Again feed on your return home.
     
  • Occasionally some breastfed babies do their catch up at night and this can be demanding on mum, combining work and parenting – catch up where you can.
     
  • Remember by continuing to breastfeed your baby you are protecting your baby against daily coughs, colds and tummy upsets. When you pick your baby up from your childcare provider you are coming into contact with those nursery bugs and you will then start making antibodies to fight these off and they are transferred into your milk. What is amazing is that these antibodies will protect your baby and means that you are less likely to have a poorly child and less time off from work – a win – win for you and your employer.

For more advice on returning to work, please follow this link: www.maternityaction.org.uk