Flexible Work Arrangements and Breastfeeding - Choices for Nursing Moms 

Your maternity leave is coming to an end. That's tough enough. But what about your fervent desire to give your baby only (or mostly) your breast milk? A flexible work schedule can help you successfully meet this need. Here's my view on your options.

Telecommuting

This is my first pick of flexible work arrangements for moms who are breastfeeding.

In the ideal situation, your infant's caregiver would be on the premises while you worked in a separate part of the home. Then you would be nearby to nurse your infant as needed.

If your infant is being cared outside a distance away from your home office during your work hours, telecommuting allows you the advantages of pumping or otherwise expressing your breast milk

  • at the right times,
  • in a sanitary environment,
  • in a relaxed setting,
  • with privacy.

What a refreshing difference over sitting in a bathroom stall trying to get a good let-down reflex going! Unfortunately, the majority of employers still do not provide a lactation room for nursing mothers who have returned to work.

Part-time or job sharing

Either of these get second place. With a reduced workweek and/or reduced workday, your nursing schedule can more closely conform to what it would otherwise be if you were not away from your home and baby.

Compressed workweek

This gets last place for the mom who is nursing her baby, in my opinion. If you are away from your baby for 10+ hours a day, and your job responsibilities and work setting don't allow for on-time pumping, you are setting yourself up for engorgement and breast milk leakage. Look to the other arrangements for a solution.

If you don't have much of a choice about the long days upon returning to your job, a better nursing course of action would be to mimic a night-time only nursing schedule a couple of weeks before returning to work. That way your milk production will adjust accordingly and prevent daytime discomfort.

Otherwise, it may be time to propose your preferred work schedule to your boss. Keep exploring WorkOptions.com to get all the resources you need to make one of these flexible work arrangements a reality.

Pat Katepoo is the developer of the e-workbook, Flex Success: A Proposal Blueprint & Planning Guide for Getting a Family-Friendly Work Schedule.

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