Feeding your baby longer term

Back to work

Breastfeeding exclusively (giving your baby no other food or drink) is recommended for around the first six months. After that time, breastfeeding is recommended alongside solid food. Therefore it's likely that you'll be breastfeeding when you return to work or college

There are several options. You can: 

  • Arrange for childcare close to work or college so that you can breastfeed during breaks, or before and after work. The evening feed can be a wonderful way for you to relax with your baby after work or college.

  • Express breast milk (taking milk from the breast by hand or using a pump) so that someone else can feed your baby while you're at work.

  • Ask your employer or college for flexible working hours that are arranged around your breastfeeding needs.

  • Combine breastfeeding and bottle feeding to fit around your hours.

Think about it early. Before you go back to work, write to your employer/tutor to let them know. You may have an HR department that can help. It can make preparations, such as finding you a private room where you can breastfeed or express your milk.

There are no legal restrictions on breastfeeding at work or any time limit for doing so. This is something for you to decide but it should not prevent you from returning to work.

You should provide your employer with written notification that you are breastfeeding. It is advisable to do this before you return to work, so your employer can ensure you return to a healthy, safe and suitable environment.

Employers are legally required to provide somewhere for pregnant and breastfeeding employees to rest. Where necessary, this should include somewhere for them to lie down.  Employers are not legally required to provide a private area for you to express and store milk but the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recommends that it's good practice for employers to provide a private, healthy and safe environment for breastfeeding mothers to express and store milk. It is not suitable to use toilets for this purpose
You can find out more about this on the HSE website or by phoning their helpline on 0845 345 0055.

Out and about

Many women are nervous about feeding their baby outside of the home and you may want to plan some suitable venues before you leave or think about some discrete clothing / a sling. 

In fact, most people probably won’t even notice that you’re feeding your baby.  Remember that it is illegal to prevent a woman from feeding her baby in a public venue. 
In Wakefield District, a breast feeding friendly scheme operates for shops, cafes and other businesses.  Businesses displaying the pink ‘breast feeding friendly’ sticker welcome breast feeding mums.  You can find a list of these places near to you by using the Local Pregnancy & Early Years Services search facility on the home page. 

The Ridings and White Rose Shopping centre both have dedicated baby feeding rooms as do Mothercare some larger shops. 
You are also welcome to breast feed at any NHS facility, including GP practices, at any Children’s Centre and at the FAB shop on Brook Street in Wakefield.  link

How long should you breastfeed for?

You can breastfeed for as long as you and baby want to.

There’s no need to decide at the beginning how long you'll breastfeed for. Many mums continue to breastfeed when they return to work or college, while others decide to stop breastfeeding or combine breastfeeding with formula milk.

Exclusive breastfeeding (with no other food or drink) is recommended for around the first six months of a baby's life. After this, you can breastfeed alongside other foods for as long as you and your baby wish. This might be into his second year or beyond.  The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for up to two years and beyond.  Many breastfeeding women in the UK continue well past six months.  Mums who return to work can continue breastfeeding and this can ease both mums and babies through this major change. During the day the carer can give the baby expressed breastmilk or formula. Mornings, evenings and days-off the baby can continue to breastfeed.

There are many factors – practical, physical, emotional – involved in your decision to carry on, wind down, or to stop breastfeeding.  Making the decision to stop breastfeeding is an important one.  Little Angels peer supporters can offer support in making your decision and give advice on how to go about it so that, for example, you don’t have problems with engorgement and mastitis.  You might also find the NCT website helpful: www.nct.org.uk/how-long-should-i-breastfeed 



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