Many mothers assume they’ll need to stop breastfeeding when they return to paid work. And while it can be challenging to manage the logistics of feeding as well as working, the two are not mutually exclusive.

For generations mothers have returned to work and continued to breastfeed their babies.  With a bit of planning, you can too.

Is it worth it?

The benefits of extending breastfeeding for as long as possible are very clear. Research states that ideally, babies are fully breastfed for their first six months of life until additional solid foods are introduced. Thereafter, there are benefits for extending breastfeeding for as long as both a mother and her baby are happy.

What is important is that you are motivated to continue breastfeeding and have a breastfeeding and expressing plan which works for you, your baby and your employer.

What are my rights?

According to the Australian Human Rights Commission and Equal Opportunity laws, including the Sex Discrimination Act, breastfeeding mothers are protected against any discrimination. Each State and Territory of Australia has its own legislation; however all are similar in terms of their degree of protection, entitlements and support for breastfeeding mothers.  These same laws apply to mothers who need to express their breastmilk and take “lactation breaks”.

Your line manager and Human Resource Department will be able to advise you on individual workplace arrangements.

How to combine breastfeeding and expressing?

Philips Avent has a range of breast pumps and milk storage solutions which make the home/work/home transition easy for breastfeeding mothers.  Depending on your individual needs, the Comfort Breast Pump range includes a manual or electric option. Both are designed to gently massage the areola and facilitate a “let down” response which makes expressing both comfortable and easy. This means that in the workplace, expressing can be done efficiently and with a minimum of fuss.

Before returning to work

  • Make sure your baby will accept a bottle with your expressed breast milk (EBM). Philips Avent has a range of bottles and teats which are designed to support a smooth transition from breast to bottle feeding.
  • Where possible, breastfeed your baby just before leaving for work and back home.
  •  Allowing for travel times and an average eight hour day, you are likely to need to express at least 1-2 times.
  • Become familiar with your Philips AVENT breast pump. Practice at home for a week or two so that you know what’s involved.
  • Ask your line manager where you can express and can have privacy.
  • Work out how you will store your breastmilk at work. Check fridge storage and insulated bag options for travel.

Remember …

Expressing can feel awkward at first, but with practice it will become easier. Make sure you are comfortable and make a conscious effort to relax and think about your baby.

For more information about Philips Avent, please visit the Philips AVENT website

Main image courtesy of Shutterstock.com
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  • Thank you for the interesting article.


  • It’s all up to the individual and what works best for them


  • they say breastfeeding is very healthy for babies

    • As its natural i would hope so.


  • yeah hats off to all the mums no matter what situation you are in.


  • I commend the mums who go back to work and continue breastfeeding, it is a lot of work to pump during the day at work and the nights before to leave bottles for them (I have a few mums that do this), if you are doing this on top of returning to work my hat goes off to you mummies xx


  • I think I would try to express for a while, see how it went. I would like to breast feed for as long as possible, but if it doesn’t work out and I just can’t……I’ll have to deal with that


  • I expressed milk at work for three children, which meant I could breastfeed over 12 months. I had a little esky set up with a jug of Milton to sterilise my Avent pump and cold packs to transport the milk safely. Work had a room set aside I could use (including a sink and lounge which was ideal) and a fridge to store the milk during the day. I could never give any of my babies a bottle myself (why have a bottle of EBM when you can smell that mum has milk!) but they were happy to take it from hubby. It took a bit of practice but well worth it.


  • returning to work


  • There is very good advice in this article!


  • our work has a breast feeding room, and we work lunches around one of the mum’s in our team that needs to express


  • Great information’s, I am still BF my just turned 1 year old and I returned to work when she was 6 month. Having a workplace who support BF is very helpful.


  • Very good advice – all common sense and logical steps to take really.


  • So long as you express sufficient milk during the day for while you are away from home and breast feed just before you leave and as soon as you get home, it is definitely possible to keep breastfeeding your child for as long as both of you wish it to continue.


  • You can absolutely keep breastfeeding after going back to work – there are many options. Exclusive breastfeeding if you can express at work as the blog suggests – try approaching your employer to become a “Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace” (see the Australian Breastfeeding Association website for details) – this means that they will provide appropriate facilities and breaks for expressing.
    The other option, if you can’t express at work, is to consider mixed feeding, rather than giving up breastfeeding completely. Mum and Baby still benefit from any amount of breastmilk, for as long as you can provide it, so think about a morning and evening breastfeed, and formula during the day if you can’t express at work. Your body will adjust to the new feeding pattern, and make milk at the right times. Again, I have found that ABA can provide helpful with advice if needed on how to transition.
    Good luck!


  • yes you return to work and still have rights and duties as a mum!

    • Well said Mom94125 – rights and duties. :)


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