If you plan to go to work or back to school, there are choices you can make to continue breastfeeding your baby. Make the choice that is best for you and your baby.
• Offer the baby only your breast during the first two to three weeks so that you and your baby can get used to breastfeeding.
• Find a daycare center or sitter close to where you work or go to school. Go there to breastfeed or have the baby brought to you.
• Express milk while you are working so your baby can have it when you are apart. Ask your employer or school counselor for a safe, clean location. Store the milk in a plastic bottle in the refrigerator or freezer.
• Drink enough water before and during pumping.
• Store breast milk in 2- to 4-ounce portions to keep from wasting milk. Refrigerate or freeze breastmilk within four hours.
• Write the date that the breastmilk was expressed on the bottle.
• Breastmilk can be refrigerated up to four days. It can be frozen up to six months.
• Caregivers can feed your baby breastmilk from a bottle. Always throw away milk left in the bottle. Feeding the baby iron-fortified infant formula is okay when expressed milk is not available.
• Thaw frozen breastmilk in the refrigerator, under warm running water or in a pan of warm water. Breastmilk should not be microwaved. Once thawed, breastmilk should be used in 24 hours.
• Breastfeed when you are with your baby. Plan to nurse before you leave for work and soon after work. Caregivers can offer infant formula when mom cannot or expressed milk is not available.
• There are laws to protect you: “Employers shall provide reasonable break time and a private place for an employee to express breastmilk for her nursing child for one year.” More information can be found at: https://www.ok.gov/health/Community_&_Family_Health/Breastfeeding/Oklahoma_Breastfeeding_Laws/index.html
Remember, you and your baby will benefit from whatever length of time you can breastfeed. If you experience problems with breastfeeding, reach out to a lactation consultant.
American Academy of Physician Assistants, International Food Information Council Foundation. Healthy Eating During Pregnancy. October 2008.
Mohrbacher N, Stock J. The Breastfeeding Answer Book, 3rd Edition. Schaumburg IL: La Leche League International, 2003.
Oklahoma State Department of Health. Breastfeeding Laws. 2018.
United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service. Tips for Breastfeeding Moms. 2016.
Deana Hildebrand, PhD., RD,LD, Associate Professor & Extension Specialist
Christine Walters, RDN, LD, MS, Extension Program Assistant
Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service
Nutritional Sciences Department, Oklahoma State University