Heading back to work after having a baby can be tough for many reasons; you’re probably exhausted and you might be having mixed feelings about leaving your baby. If you’ve been nursing, there’s also another bump in the road – in between functioning on zero sleep and navigating a roller coaster of emotions, you also have to figure out how to continue breastfeeding while working full time.
Yeah. It’s not hard to see how it can sometimes seem like more trouble than it’s worth. The truth is, pumping breast milk throughout the day is an amazing way to continue connecting with your baby even when you’re apart. Surprisingly, it can also help with your transition back to work. Lactation triggers the release of a hormone called oxytocin – often called the happy hormone. It’s the reason behind the loving feeling we get when we care for someone close to us, and it’s also a powerful antidepressant. Continuing to nurse or pump when you go back to work can help prevent postpartum depression and allow you to maintain a close bond with your baby, even when you’re away.
You may feel weird talking to your employer about taking breaks to pump, but don’t worry – the Maternity Benefit Act of 1961 allows you two nursing breaks (plus regular breaks and your lunch hour) until your baby is 15 months old. Women who have workplaces that support breastfeeding have also proven to be happier and healthier – and that’s good for your employer, too!