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    ​​Providing Your Milk While at Work or School

    ​You can continue to breastfeed when you return to work or school. Federal law requires employers to provide (unpaid) time and non-bathroom space for you to pump your milk (see breastfeeding laws​​). Be sure to speak with your supervisor or teacher about your desire to pump at work or school so that the details can be arranged ahead of time.

    By continuing to provide your milk to your baby, you give baby a very special gift, even when apart. This will help you keep the close bond with your baby. Your baby will continue to get the many benefits of breast-milk. Be creative! Here are some ideas from other parents. One of these tips may work well for you.

    • Find a sitter who is close to where you work or attend school. Then you can go to your baby or have baby brought to you when it is time to nurse.
    • If able, work or attend school from home (virtually) so you can be with your baby to nurse when needed.
    • Nurse when you are with your baby. Pump your milk while you and your baby are apart. Safely store the milk for your sitter to use the next workday.
    • Nurse when you are with your baby. Have the sitter give your baby formula while you are gone. You may need to express a little milk during the day for comfort in the early weeks.​
    ​​​Talk to the WIC staff about your plan to breastfeed upon returning to work or school. WIC staff can help you with suggestions about how to be ready for this so you will have enough milk for your baby, even on the first day away. Keep in ​mind that it is best to start preparations 10-14 days before you return to work or school.

    WIC may also be able to help you get a breast pump through your medical insurance, if able, or through WIC, if not. WIC has a few different types of pumps available. Your WIC staff will determine if you are eligible, and if so, which one is the best pump for your specific needs without cost to you. Some pumps are given on loan, so you will need to return those to WIC when your loan period is over.

    Keep in mind that, unless there are special circumstances, it is best not to pump milk until your baby is at least 4 weeks old. This gives you and your baby a chance to learn the process of nursing and allows your body a chance to build up your milk to the level your baby needs. Your baby will always do a better job than any pump at getting your milk out.

    Also, don't get discouraged! The first few times most people pump milk, they do not get too much. Over a few days, the amount of milk they are able to pump increases. Be sure to speak with the WIC staff with any concerns that you have.

    Pumping and Hands On Breastfeeding
    Planning to Breastfeed When Away from Baby
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