Breastfeeding at work or school


In British Columbia, employers must make reasonable efforts to allow you to breastfeed or express milk at work. Schools should also accommodate young mothers who are returning to complete their education.

Many mothers return to work or school and continue to breastfeed.  It takes some extra planning to combine breastfeeding and working/ school, but the benefits are worth it.  


  •  keeps your baby healthy
  •  you will miss less work/school
  • you will save money by not using formula 

Delay returning to work or school for as long as possible.  The first three months are the most critical for breastfeeding.  Women who go back to work or school part-time or after baby is 6 months old, breastfeed longer. 

Before you go back to work or school

Talk to your employer or school  about what you will need in order to be successful at breastfeeding and working:

•  A quiet/ private smoke-free place to feed or express your milk.

•  A place to clean your pump equipment.

•  A place to store your milk.

Learn how to express your milk by hand or by pump. Purchase a high quality pump. 

Start storing milk 3-4 weeks before you return to work.

Establish a milk expression schedule, if you will be expressing at work.

Let your baby-sitter and baby get to know each other.

If your baby is old enough, he or she may take a cup.

If your baby is not able to use a cup, practice with a bottle before you go back to work.

Try a practice session for your new morning routine and change it as needed. (e.g. get the diaper bag ready the night before and get yourself ready before the baby). 

When you return to work/ school

Take it one day at a time.

Breastfeed your baby before you leave in the morning.

If you are gone 8 hours, you may need to express 2-3 times during the day.

If your baby is over 7-9 months and taking other foods and fluids, you may not need to express as much.

If your milk supply goes down, increase the number of times you pump at work, rest at home and nurse frequently and it should increase in a few days.

When you pick up your baby from childcare, take time to breastfeed before going home. 

Other options

If possible, start back to work  or school part-time.

Job share.

Start back to work or school in the middle of the week.

Bring baby to work or school .

Work from home or do distance education

Consider childcare close to work or school so you can visit and breastfeed your baby at least once.

Have your child care provider bring your baby to you for breastfeeding.

There are many other possibilities if you and your employer/school are creative. 


Todays' Parent  10 helpful tips for breastfeeding after returning to work 

For the Caregiver of the Breastfeeding baby,  Nancy Mohrbacher