Preparing for going back | breastfedbabies
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (NI) 2000 state that a breastfeeding mother must notify her employer in advance of her return to work, if she wants to continue breastfeeding. It’s a good idea to let your employer know as early as possible, to allow plenty of time to make arrangements. What specific preparations you need to make will then depend on what feeding option you have chosen.
If your baby is going to a crèche at or near your workplace and you are going to be able to continue breastfeeding as normal, you don’t really need to do any preparation, other than to agree with your employer the timing of any breaks you may need to breastfeed.
If you are planning to express milk for someone else to feed your baby, there’s a bit more to do. It’s a good idea to start expressing milk a week or two before you go back to work. This will help you get used to expressing and allow you to have a back up supply that you can store in the freezer in case there’s ever a time when you can’t express. You can freeze breastmilk for up to six months. See section on storing breastmilk.
You will also need to arrange with your employer how you are going to manage expressing at work. There are health and safety guidelines covering breastfeeding mothers at work. Ideally, you should have access to:
- a clean, warm room with a low, comfortable chair. If the door can’t be locked, you can put a sign on it to ensure privacy. The toilet is not a suitable place.
- an electric point for an electric pump if necessary.
- handwashing facilities nearby.
- a hygienic area where you can clean your pump and store your sterilising equipment.
- a fridge for storing milk. If this is difficult, a well-insulated cool bag is an alternative.