Returning to Work
After Having A Baby
Heading back to work after your maternity leave? Follow our strategies and tips to help you make the transition into your “new normal.” It probably won’t be easy, but you can alleviate some of the stress with careful planning.
- Prep work – Talk with your boss about your schedule and what is or isn’t working for you. Understand if your organization has a policy for lactation and what resources are available to you. Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, most employers, with few exceptions, must offer a breastfeeding employee reasonable break times to pump for up to 1 year after her baby is born and a place other than a bathroom to comfortably, safely, and privately express breastmilk.
- Ease in – Consider starting back on a Wednesday/Thursday rather than a Monday, so you have only a few days away from your baby at first.
- Pumping can take about 10 to 15 minutes once you are used to using your breast pump. Sometimes it may take longer. Many women use their regular breaks and lunch break to pump. Some women come to work early or stay late to make up the time needed to pump.
- Breastmilk is food- Keep it safe in an employee refrigerator or a cooler with ice packs. Talk to your boss about keeping your milk in an employee refrigerator if you think anyone will be concerned. Be sure to label the milk container with your name and the date you expressed the milk.
- Day care plan – Daycare situations vary greatly, and some know more about breastfeeding than others. Ask about how they would store your milk if you are planning on bringing some in each day. Ideally you will be able to spend some time in the center nursing your baby at the beginning and end of each day. Not only does that help your child feel comfortable in the daycare environment, but it also exposes you to any germs that might be present so you can create antibodies against them and have those antibodies present in your milk. You may also want to ask the daycare provider to time the daily feeds so your baby will be hungry and ready to nurse when you arrive at the end of the day.
Know your rights
Breastfeeding and the Law
In Ohio, mothers have the right to breastfeed in any public location, as long as they are legally allowed to be there. Read the law: Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3781.55 (2005)
Mothers in Ohio are protected by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) if they are a non-exempt (hourly) employee. Under this federal mandate, breastfeeding mothers are entitled to reasonable break time and a private space (other than a bathroom) to pump at work for one year following their child’s birth. https://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs73.htm