Breastfeeding and Returning to Work

If you are breastfeeding your baby and plan to return to work, these suggestions can help get you and your baby ready for the transition:

  • Begin expressing milk. You can express milk before a feeding, after a feeding, during a feeding or in between feedings — it will not take milk away from your baby.
  • Store breast milk in plastic or glass bottles. Milk can stay in the freezer for up to four months.
  • Introduce your baby to a bottle. Your baby will probably take a bottle more easily from someone else. You should be out of the room so that your baby can't see or hear you. The person feeding your baby may want to try holding your baby in a different position than what you use for nursing.

    Continue to give your baby a bottle about twice a week if you want him or her to be able to feed from a bottle.
  • Try out different shaped nipples. Babies like different shaped nipples, but you may want to start with the orthodontic style.
  • If you plan to express breast milk at work: You may want to buy or rent an electric breast pump to make expression quicker and easier. You will not need to decrease how much you breastfeed before you return to work.
  • If you don't plan to express breast milk at work: Begin eliminating daytime feedings several weeks before you return to work. Start by eliminating the middle-of-the-day feeding for one week. Your breasts will make less milk, and then you can eliminate another feeding without the risk of your breasts becoming engorged.


Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital.

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or health care provider. We encourage you to discuss with your doctor any questions or concerns you may have.