Returning to work or study

When the time comes for you to return to studying or work, it is beneficial for both you and your baby if you are able to carry on breastfeeding, even just some of the time. It will allow you both to continue:

  • receiving the health benefits from breastfeeding
  • enjoying the special closeness that breastfeeding brings (it is a lovely way to be reunited when you are together again at the end of your working day)
  • It is worth thinking about how you will manage this several weeks before you go back to work, and you can get help with this from your health visitor.

You may wish to arrange your baby’s childcare, so it is close to your place of work or study. This will allow you to visit your baby and breastfeed them while you are working. Alternatively, you may choose to express your milk during your work hours to maintain your milk supply. This will allow your baby to be fed expressed milk when you are not with them.

Letting your employer know (preferably in writing) that you are breastfeeding and/or expressing your milk, will enable them to consider how they can support you when you return to work. Your employer will also be required to complete a risk assessment if your job involves working with dangerous substances.

Government guidelines recommend that you have access to a private, clean, and comfortable room with a lockable door (not a toilet) in which to express. It is also recommended that you have the use of a fridge to store your breast milk. However, there is no legal obligation for your employer to provide this.

There is no legal obligation for your employer to provide breastfeeding breaks at work. However, they must meet their obligations to employees who breastfeed under the health and safety law, flexible working law and discrimination law. This means your employer should make sure you don’t feel unfairly treated because you are breastfeeding.

For more information about returning to work or study, please visit:


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